NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, November 12th (All times eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (5-3) at Miami Heat (6-1), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Cleveland hopes to finish a difficult two-day tour of Florida in perfect fashion Thursday when the Cavaliers take on the sizzling Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena.
The Cavs got a measure of revenge last night in Orlando when LeBron James scored 36 points and Mo Williams was equally impressive with 22 first-half points, as Cleveland won easily over Orlando, 102-93, in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals.
Williams was true on each of his nine field goal attempts in the first half, including four from beyond the arc, and ended with 28 points and six assists.
Former Magic star Shaquille O'Neal chipped in 10 points and James added eight rebounds to his night in facing the team that ended hopes of making it to the NBA Finals last season when Orlando ousted the top-seeded Cavaliers in six games.
Cleveland has now rebounded nicely to win five of six games since opening the season with back-to-back losses.
"I thought for the game we showed trust in one another. Obviously, Mo (Williams) shot the ball well and we got production from everybody including our bench," Cavs head coach Mike Brown said. "We still have some work to do."
The Heat, meanwhile, won their third straight game and improved to 2-0 on a five-game homestand on Tuesday when Dwyane Wade posted 40-plus points for the second time in a week against Washington, scoring 41 to help Miami take a 90-76 decision from the Wizards.
Wade also notched five rebounds with as many assists, while Michael Beasley contributed 15 points for Miami, which improved to 6-1 -- its best start to the season since 1999-2000.
On November 4 in Washington, Wade dropped 40 on the Wizards in a 93-89 victory.
"Obviously in the second half we were a different team with energy and commitment to the defensive end," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. "Everyone was focused in the second half, just doing their job and getting after it defensively to spark some offense."
Miami, which dropped three of four to Cleveland last season, will finish its residency with games against New Jersey and Oklahoma City.
James and Wade also happen to be the two possible headliners in next summer's vaunted free-agent class. Many have speculated that the players, who are friends and have been teammates in the Olympics as well as numerous All-Star games, are setting up a scenario where they can play together.
James for one is tired of all the speculation and tried to quell things before Wednesday's game in Orlando, saying he would no longer talk about his possible pending free agency for the rest of this season.
"I think I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my teammates," James said. "It's just getting old. I'm focusing on this season, and this is going to be a really good season for us. I don't want any more distractions for my teammates, for my organization, for my family."
11/12 10:35:23 ET