MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — LeBron James helped Miami increase its long homecourt winning streak against Cleveland during his four seasons with the Heat. James and the Cavaliers take another swipe at ending their nine-game losing streak in Miami when they visit the Heat on Saturday.
Cleveland’s last victory in Miami occurred Jan. 25, 2010, when James was still in his first tour of duty with the Cavaliers before spending four seasons with the Heat. Cleveland figures to arrive in a foul mood on the heels of back-to-back defeats to Washington and New Orleans — the latter a 114-108 overtime loss on Friday.
Miami has been playing well with eight victories in 11 games and posted a 97-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in a contest that featured 38 lead changes and 11 ties.
“Like a playoff atmosphere,” shooting guard Dwyane Wade told reporters afterward. “For our young team that hasn’t been in many of these kinds of games, it was great.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Ohio (Cleveland) Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (13-6): James played 45 minutes in Friday’s overtime loss — he had 37 points and eight assists — so he certainly won’t be fresh in his latest return to South Beach. Cleveland had to make a fourth-quarter dash just to force overtime against the lowly Pelicans in what rates as a highly disappointing defeat. “From down 11 we were up three,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt told reporters afterward. “With one defensive possession and one offensive possession to win — it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t close it out when we had the chance.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (11-6): Point guard Goran Dragic has struggled thus far with season averages of 10.8 points and 4.5 assists and a porous 27.5 percentage from 3-point range. His difficulties have been so severe that contributing 14 points and seven assists in the win over the Thunder represents one of his better outings of the season. “We just talked to him, told him to play his game,” power forward Chris Bosh told reporters. “We felt that he was thinking too much. We were looking at certain situations and telling him to be aggressive. With a team like this, we have to spread the wealth a little bit, offensively.”
1. James scored 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting as the Cavaliers posted a 102-92 home victory over the Heat on Oct. 30.
2. Cleveland PF Kevin Love averaged 11.5 points on 8-of-25 shooting — including missing all eight 3-point attempts — in the back-to-back defeats.
3. Miami SF Luol Deng (hamstring) is expected to miss his fifth straight game.
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