Key: Heat Check
Things can change quickly in the NBA.
Last Thursday morning, the Cavaliers were coming off one of, if not the biggest wins of the season’s second half – having crushed the Celtics in Boston with a pair of games against a team (Atlanta) they’d beaten on 12 of the previous 13 occasions coming up.
Then, this weekend happened.
On Friday night, the Hawks rested four starters and, at one point in the victory, led Cleveland by 20 points in the fourth quarter. But that was just a warmup for Sunday afternoon’s disappointment, with the Wine and Gold giving up a 26-point fourth-quarter lead before falling in overtime in Atlanta.
In that game, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James each logged heavy minutes – with James also playing 41-plus in the previous game. With Tyronn Lue focusing on the bigger picture, and several Cavaliers nursing injuries, LeBron, Kyrie, Tristan Thompson (and mostly likely) Love will not play on Monday in Miami.
The Heat had been the East’s hottest team since mid-January, but their incredible late-season run looks to be catching up with them, having dropped three of five heading into tonight.
But Eric Spoelstra’s squad is coming off a dramatic Saturday night win over the Wizards and they’ve won 12 straight over the Cavaliers in Miami – a streak that goes back to late January 2010.