Cleveland Cavaliers (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Miami Heat (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, November 12, 2009, American Airlines Arena, Miami, Fla. TV: TNT
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cavaliers -1.5/Heat 1.5
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The Cavaliers are coming off a revenge victory over the Orlando Magic, the team that knocked the Cavs out of the playoffs last year. The Cavs won 102-93 in Orlando on Wednesday and now they travel down the coast to Miami to face the Heat, a team that is ahead of the Magic in the Southeast Division standings.
The Cavs played perhaps their best game of the season against the Magic, definitely their best offensively. After scoring 66 points in the first half, the Cavs were able to focus on defense and protecting their lead in the second half. Mo Williams was 9-for-9 in the first half for 22 points, and he struggled a bit in the second half but he finished with 28 points. LeBron James had 36 points, eight rebounds and four assists, an average night for him. Nobody else did anything too significant offensively for the Cavs, but Shaquille O’Neal made a big impact defensively, holding Dwight Howard to 11 points and seven rebounds.
LeBron is averaging 27.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game, which are very consistent numbers with what he’s done his whole career. Williams has been a big boost to LeBron and the Cavs. He is averaging 17.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. Shaq is averaging a modest 11 points and seven rebounds per game.
The Heat have had a very good start to their season. They’ve won six of their first seven games and they’ve done so with defense. The Heat have only scored 100 points once so far, and that was in their opener against the Knicks. They’ve only given up 100 points once, and that was their only loss, a 104-96 loss to the Suns.
In their last game, the Heat beat the Wizards on Tuesday, 90-76. Dwyane Wade carried the load for the Heat with 41 points, five rebounds and five assists. The Heat forced the Wizards to turn the ball over 22 times. In the game before that, against the Nuggets, the Heat forced 19 turnovers. The Heat are allowing the third fewest points in the league, with 88.6 per game.
Wade is among the league leaders in scoring with 29.9 points per game to go along with his 4.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists. After an eventful offseason, Michael Beasley has been a solid compliment to Wade in his second year in the league, averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 rebounds. Fellow second year player Mario Chalmers is doing a solid job running the point with 9.9 points and 4.9 assists per game. Jermaine O’Neal, who is much older than Wade, Beasley and Chalmers, is holding down the fort around the basket with 13.4 points and 7.6 rebounds. Udonis Haslem is coming off the bench this season, but nothing has changed, as he is averaging 10.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. Quentin Richardson has jumped into the starting lineup and is averaging 9.0 points and 5.7 rebounds.
The Heat have been successful so far by forcing turnovers. Wade and Chalmers are getting into the passing lanes, combining to average 4.3 steals per game. Once the ball is loose, Wade knows how to finish with authority on the other end. The Cavs have to protect the ball to win this game. They are averaging 13.6 turnovers per game but they will have to limit that number against the Heat. It will be a battle between the stars, as LeBron faces Wade. But the winner of the game may not be which of those two can score more, but which players get more help from their teammates.
The last six games have all gone under for the Heat. Miami is 3-0 this season as an underdog. The Cavs’ win over the Magic was their first game this season that went over. Both teams have had six of seven games go under this season (Cleveland has one O/U push).
Ryno’s Pick: The Cavs are a turnover-prone team because they don’t have a pure point guard. Williams is solid, but he is more of a scoring guard, as are all Cavs guards. Even LeBron is very turnover-prone. If the Cavs can’t avoid turnovers, the Heat will take advantage. Although Haslem, Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal are no pushovers, the Cavs do have a size advantage down low, as they do with most teams. The Cavs are coming off a big win over the Magic and have to play the next day on the road. They could have a hangover from their big win, but then again they played perhaps their best game of the year against the Magic so that could carry over against the Heat. One thing is for sure – both of these teams can play defense and both teams have gone under in almost every game. Take the under of 181.