NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, March 6th (All times eastern)
Miami Heat (44-16) at Cleveland Cavaliers (31-26), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A pair of teams headed in opposite directions clash tonight in Cleveland, as LeBron James and the struggling Cavs host birthday boy Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and the red hot Miami Heat at Gund Arena. O'Neal turns 33 today.
Cleveland has lost five consecutive games, including Friday's 98-89 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wachovia Center. The Cavs killed themselves with a season-high 27 turnovers, which led to 27 Philadelphia points, in the loss.
James was one of the few bright spots for the Cavs, tallying 34 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. However, the second-year star did commit six turnovers in the contest. For the year, James is posting 25.6 points, 7.6 assists and seven rebounds per tilt.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 22 points in the loss, the seventh straight on the road for Cleveland. No other Cavalier player managed double digit scoring in the defeat.
The Cavs shot 45.7 percent from the field, including 3-of-9 (.333) from three- point range. Cleveland also hit 22-of-29 (.759) from the charity stripe.
Cavs coach Paul Silas did not start forward Drew Gooden, instead going with Robert Traylor. It was Traylor's first start since 1999-2000 with Milwaukee. Traylor registered seven points and nine rebounds in the start, while Gooden tallied nine points, eight rebounds and four assists off the bench.
Cleveland, which is beginning a four-game homestand tonight, has lost its last two home tilts. For the season, the Cavs are 21-7 in their friendly confines.
Miami, which easily owns the best record (44-16) in the East, has won four straight, 11 of 13 and 14 of its last 17 home tilts overall. The Heat extended their recent success on Friday, tallying an impressive 104-83 thumping of the visiting Sacramento Kings.
Wade had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Heat to the victory. O'Neal ended with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Miami, which has won nine straight at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Udonis Haslem was force in the post with 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Eddie Jones tallied 17 points on 5-of-5 three-point shooting. Damon Jones tacked on 14 points in the win.
The Heat victory marks the first time they have swept the Kings in the season- series since the 1999-2000 season. Miami's 44-16 mark after 60 games ties the franchise's best start, which was previously set in 1996-97.
Alonzo Mourning played his first game in front of the home crowd since rejoining the Heat. The former Heat standout, who had his contract bought out by the Raptors, blocked a shot and grabbed a rebound in his first 10 seconds on the court. Mourning finished with four points and four rebounds.
Miami has been a solid road team this season, winning 20-of-31 contests in foreign buildings. The Heat have won four of six and six of their last nine road contests.
Miami has won both meetings between these teams so far this season, but both of them were in South Beach. In fact, the Heat have won five of seven and seven of the last 10 meetings overall. However, Cleveland has won its last two home tilts in this set.
03/06 10:08:03 ET