Heat. Cavs. LeBron. Who Wins?


David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat travel to Cleveland on Tuesday. For a game. Let’s just get that out there.

It’s important to keep that in mind as Miami (45-19) faces a struggling Cavaliers team (26-41) that will likely be a spectator for this year’s playoffs. The Heat wants to keep building on Sunday’s victory over Houston while the Cavs just want to avoid injury so they can take their wives and/or girlfriends to the Bahamas in late April.

The win over the Rockets was encouraging but the Heat can’t get complacent and simply ignore a lesser opponent like Cleveland, as they did in a recent loss to the Nuggets. Miami’s worst stretch of the season is probably over. But for a team that regularly preaches getting better as the year progresses, this game is a great opportunity to do just that.

Sunday’s performance was highlighted by starting Greg Oden (better equipped to handle Dwight Howard), a strong game by Dwyane Wade (24 points on 10-of-15 shooting) and the hopeful resurgence of Ray Allen. “Jesus Shuttlesworth” is back from the dead, after logging a season-high 25 points against Houston that followed a 22-point game in the loss to Denver.

Unfortunately, neither of these events is likely to reoccur in Cleveland. Oden won’t start again and neither Wade or Allen will be as productive. And while Shane Battier will resume his place in the starting lineup because Cleveland doesn’t have a threat at the pivot, the reason for Wade and Allen returning to the norm is the star of both franchises; LeBron James.

As per a report by the Sun-Sentinel’s Shandel Richardson, a healthy Wade has disrupted James’ rhythm of late and LeBron will be looking to “go out and make it happen, too.” James has always had a flair for showmanship and his return to Cleveland on Tuesday will unfortunately be filled with drama.

Why the drama? Well, it won’t be because of the Cavs’ recent play (losing 8 of the past 12 games). And it won’t be because James and Kyrie Irving will be on the court for the first time since showing great chemistry at this year’s All-Star game; Irving was diagnosed with what will probably be a season-ending biceps injury.

So then why all the hype? Is it because James attended the recent jersey retirement ceremony of ex-Cavs (and Heat) teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as seen here:

Or because Cavs owner Dan Gilbert can’t seem to stop talking about LeBron, as he did recently in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal?

Maybe it’s because James, who can potentially opt out of his current contract with Miami, will supposedly leave the sunshine and success he has in Miami to reunite with his ol’ team in the Mistake By The Lake.

The story surrounding the game will be centered around James, his former team and his summer plans. Or, as Shakespeare once wrote, Much Ado About Nothing. But let’s not ignore there’s a game to be played as well, and one Miami needs to win to keep pace with the current Eastern Conference leaders, the Indiana Pacers.

While the drama will be focused on James’ past and his uncertain future, the present championship hopes for Miami are the real story here.

The telecast of this game begins at 7 P.M. on Sun Sports from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Check back with AllUCanHeat for a recap after the game.