NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 1st (All times eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (26-19) at Miami Heat (20-25), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to have superstar LeBron James back in the lineup this evening, when they pay a visit to Miami for a showdown with the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
On Tuesday night, Sasha Pavlovic led eight Cleveland players in double figures with a career-high 24 points, as the Cavaliers posted a 124-97 rout of the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena.
Pavlovic picked up the slack while James was sidelined with a sore big toe. The superstar forward, who has missed two of Cleveland's last three games, is questionable for tonight.
Donyell Marshall had 15 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs, who will try to improve on a 10-13 road mark this season. Daniel Gibson ended with 12 points, Larry Hughes was one of three Cleveland players with 11 points apiece, and Damon Jones added 10 points in the win.
After Thursday's contest in South Beach, Cleveland will open a five-game homestand versus Charlotte, Detroit, the Clippers, Miami and the Lakers on Friday.
The Cavs are also just a half-game behind first-place Detroit in the Central standings.
Meanwhile, the Heat ended a three-game losing streak with Tuesday's 110-80 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the opener of a brief two-game homestand.
Dwyane Wade finished with 28 points, six assists and six rebounds as Miami improved to 11-10 as the host this season. Michael Doleac added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first double-double since March 25, 2002.
Jason Kapono chipped in 15 points and Jason Posey added 13 for Miami.
The Heat, who are seven games off the Southeast lead, played without center Shaquille O'Neal (calf) and guard Jason Williams (foot). Both players are questionable for Thursday's game.
O'Neal hasn't played at home since a November 12 loss versus Houston.
Thursday's showdown is the first of four meetings between Cleveland and Miami this season. Both teams split four matchups in the 2005-06 series, while the Heat have won five of the last seven encounters.
James averaged 41 points, 7.5 assists and 7.3 rebounds in those four games against the Heat last year. He netted more than 40 points in three of the meetings, including consecutive 47-point efforts.
The Cavs have dropped seven straight in Miami since an 86-81 overtime victory on December 21, 2001.
02/01 10:58:16 ET