Having met three times on the year with the Miami Heat picking up all three wins, the Cleveland Cavaliers meet the Heat to do battle one last time on the season. The Cavaliers are down big men Tristan Thompson and John Henson while the Heat’s Goran Dragic is questionable for the matchup.
Since the return of Kevin Love, the Cavaliers have actually been a passable NBA team and relinquished the best odds at landing Zion Williamson to the New York Knicks. The Cavaliers are somehow 5-5 over their last 10 games, which is impressive despite their wins coming against the Knicks (twice), Suns, Magic, and Grizzlies. While they haven’t picked up quality wins during their recent run, they’ve won nearly a third of their games on the season in the last 10 games.
Miami has been one of the more mercurial teams in the NBA this season. Coming into tonight on a three-game winning streak, the Heat are definitely hot but have been prone to dropping easily winnable games at home. They actually have a better record on the road compared to at home which is one of the stranger stats across the NBA.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat Betting Prediction:
Since Love’s return, the Cavaliers have been solid against non-playoff teams but have struggled in games against playoff-caliber opponents. While on the lower side of playoff caliber opponents, the Heat still are barely clinging to the eighth seed and will likely not be caught overlooking the Cavaliers. That said, even when on a minutes restriction, Love’s return has done wonders for the overall offense. Capable of stretching the defense and opening up driving lanes, Love’s presence has dramatically helped rookie Collin Sexton. While still prone to inefficient games, Sexton has looked tremendously more effective with the veteran big man to play alongside.
The Heat have been at least close in the majority of their games during Dwyane Wade‘s retirement tour and play a gritty and grinding style of basketball that usually limits the scoring on both sides. While Josh Richardson has been solid and Hassan Whiteside has posted his usual dominant stats, the Heat young players give the fan base something to be excited about. After years of struggling to find his place in the NBA, Justice Winslow seems to have finally found his nice in the form of playing point forward. A big body capable of getting up and down the court with even the quickest guards, Winslow has showcased vastly improved playmaking on the season. Also not to be overlooked is Bam Adebayo, who has put up some excellent second-year numbers in only 22 minutes per game.
While the Heat should win this game, their style of play doesn’t allow them to usually win by big totals. Although the Cavaliers offense has looked better in recent games, they are still mainly a one-trick pony (in Kevin Love) and the Heat are a decent defensive unit in their own right. Expect a low-scoring affair and look to the under at 213.5. Although it is a low number for an NBA game, I expect the total to end up somewhere right around 200 points.
“This Article First Published on heavy.com“