The lowly Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to snap their four-game losing streak when they travel to face the Miami Heat on Saturday night. Coming off two blowout losses to the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz this week, the Cavs' season is going from bad to worse after losing 10 of their last 13 matches. The last time these two sides met a fortnight ago, Miami cruised to a 113-98 victory.
Back above .500, the Heat are the new favorites to challenge the East's elite in the playoffs. Pat Riley acquired Victor Oladipo and with his addition, Miami is now a genuine contender to make another run to the Finals.
The Heat will come into this match as favorites, particularly with home-court advantage. The Cleveland Cavaliers are 6-18 on the road this season and rank bottom of the league in offensive efficiency. Against Miami's top-five defense, it's going to be a long night for coach Bickerstaff's side.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat Injury Report
With no new injuries in their loss to the 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers' injury report remains the same. Jarrett Allen did not train on Wednesday and therefore missed his third straight encounter while still recovering from a concussion. Larry Nance Jr. was ill and was also sidelined. His status is still a day-to-day decision according to the latest updates.
Goran Dragic has had a stop-start campaign and has only been able to play in 30 games this season. Both he and the Miami Heat will be disappointed since he provided efficient minutes off the bench, with 18 points and six assists per 36 minutes. He remains a game-time decision.
Meanwhile, KZ Okpala remains in the league's health and safety protocols and will likely be unavailable.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat Predicted Lineups
With no fresh injuries to the starting five, the Cleveland Cavaliers should be unchanged for Saturday night. Kevin Love's return came just in time with the Cavs missing their two regular centers. He scored 13 points in 20 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.
He will be joined in the Cavaliers frontcourt by two of their younger stars, Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro. Okoro is averaging 7.8 points on 41.3% shooting in his rookie year while Wade has struggled on offense all season, averaging just over four points a game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers backcourt of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton is far more prolific. In 38 games this season, the duo has averaged 52.3 points when on the floor together. Both have recorded career-high numbers in points and assists this season.
Victor Oladipo slipped seamlessly into the Miami Heat's lineup on Thursday night. Although he got into some early foul trouble, he will be the energy boost that the Heat's offense needs. He has already proven himself to be an elite defender in the past.
He will be Duncan Robinson's new partner in Miami's backcourt. Butler has had his highest-scoring year since 2018 and is averaging a career-high 7.2 assists per game.
With Butler, Oladipo and Bam Adebayo all on the floor, the Miami Heat have three All-Star caliber players and an elite defensive unit. Adding Trevor Ariza to the frontcourt will bring experience, while Tyler Herro is currently among the league's most effective sixth men.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Miami Heat: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Darius Garland | Shooting Guard - Collin Sexton | Small Forward - Dean Wade | Power Forward - Isaac Okoro | Center - Kevin Love
Point Guard - Victor Oladipo | Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson | Small Forward - Jimmy Butler | Power Forward - Trevor Ariza | Center - Bam Adebayo