On Tuesday the Cavs make their second trip to Miami in the span of two weeks to face the Heat.
The Cavs have split their last four games and head to Miami with a 9-13 record. The Heat, meanwhile, are 18-6 and in second place in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games back of Chicago. Miami prevailed 92-85 when these two teams met in South Beach back on Jan. 24.
Despite a four-game losing streak in mid-January, the Cavs are hanging tough in the Eastern Conference standings. Their 9-13 mark might not be anything to brag about, but it is nonetheless good for ninth place in the East. Milwaukee owns the eight spot with a 10-13 record, just a half-game in front of Cleveland; the top eight teams make the playoffs.
Kyrie Irving continues to thrive in his rookie campaign. He’s averaging nearly 23 points per game over his last five, and has an even 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over that span. He had 20 points and seven assists in Saturday’s 91-88 win over the Mavericks.
Even though the divorce took place some 18 months ago, the LeBron-Cleveland storyline continue to intrigue. The AP recap of these teams’ first meeting opened with the James subplot – "LeBron James was not at his best, and a game against his former team was slipping away." – and there is a fresh wave of stories out this week that continue to rehash the saga.
The Palm Beach Post ran an article Monday with the headline, "Miami Heat’s LeBron James is mentor to Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving – and doesn't care if Cavs fans object", while Fox Sports Ohio declared, "Finally, Cavs ready to move on from LeBron".
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer contributed with a column titled, "Rookie LeBron James vs. rookie Kyrie Irving? It's not a slam dunk".
Miami will be in Cleveland next Friday, on the 17th, for its lone trip to Ohio this season.
Tuesday's game will tip at 7:30 EST and air on Fox Sports Ohio HD.