The Cleveland Cavaliers attempt to increase their winning streak to nine consecutive games when they host the Miami Heat on Tuesday. The Cavaliers are averaging 112 points during the stretch after rolling to a 113-91 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
Cleveland has seemingly found itself after a slow start partially due to adjusting to the departure of guard Kyrie Irving but things have now fallen into place. “We’re just trying to get better each day, each game,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after Monday’s win. “We’re finally figuring out who we are. We’re getting better defensively and offensively we’re sharing the ball.” Miami has won three consecutive games behind Eastern Conference Player of the Week Goran Dragic, who averaged 23.7 points and made 11-of-19 3-pointers during the stretch. Dragic, who averages a team-best 19.2 points, averaged just seven points on 6-of-19 shooting over a two-game span before breaking out and scoring at least 20 in the three contests.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE HEAT (10-9): Dragic scored a team-best 24 points in Sunday’s 100-93 victory over Chicago but the four reserves who played combined for 54 points on 18-of-33 shooting. Guard Wayne Ellington drained five 3-pointers while scoring 19 points, forward James Johnson scored 15 and guard Tyler Johnson, along with center Kelly Olynyk, scored 10 apiece. “We have a lot of weapons on this team,” Johnson told reporters. “We have a lot of guys who could do it. We’re all trying to play our roles and master that.”
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (13-7): Cleveland last lost on Nov. 9 to the Western Conference-leading Houston Rockets and three of its last four wins have been by double digits. Forward LeBron James contributed 30 points, 13 rebounds and six assists against Philadelphia and is averaging 29.7 points with four 30-point outings over the past six contests. Backup shooting guard Dwyane Wade is averaging 14.3 points over the last three games and averaged 18.7 points in three games against his former team last season when he played for Chicago.
1. The Heat went 3-1 against the Cavaliers last season but Cleveland’s lone victory was by 30 points.
2. Miami starting SF Josh Richardson is averaging 2.3 points on 3-of-19 shooting over the past three games.
3. Cleveland SG Iman Shumpert (knee) was scoreless in seven minutes against the 76ers after missing the previous three games.
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 107, Heat 98