Cleveland (51-29) at Miami (39-41)
When: Monday, April 10th 2017
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: FSN Ohio, FSN Sun
The Miami Heat will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night in what will be a pivotal contest for both squads concerning the postseason. Miami finished the road part of their season schedule by taking four of the final five away from Miami and are tied with the Chicago Bulls for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, but Chicago owns the tiebreaker. Hassan Whiteside registered 30 points and 12 rebounds while providing a key block in the closing moments in Miami’s 106-103 victory at Washington on Saturday in what was definitely a playoff type game for the Heat. Forward James Johnson is averaging 21 points and 8.3 rebounds over a three-game span to help spark the Heat to a playoff run. The Heat won a home-and-home set with Cleveland last month including a 120-92 win at home, where the Heat have beaten the Cavs 12 straight times. Shooting guard Dion Waiters (ankle) has missed 11 straight games and small forward Luke Babbitt (hip) has sat out three in a row. Miami will close the season at home against Washington on Wednesday.
The Cavaliers are trying to hold onto the top spot in the East, but suffered brutal losses over the weekend to the Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland was outscored by 14 points in the final eight-plus minutes of a home loss to Atlanta on Friday, then choked away a 26-point, fourth-quarter advantage and eventually fell by one in overtime at Atlanta two days later. In addition to the embarrassment surrounding Sunday’s collapse, Cleveland will come into Monday’s contest a tired bunch, as James (47 minutes), Kyrie Irving (45) and Kevin Love (42) were used heavily. Additionally, Irving – who recorded 45 points and nine assists – has been bothered by a sore knee while James is averaging 42.3 minutes over a five-game span. James also recorded 16 rebounds and 10 assists Sunday for his 13th triple-double of the season. Cleveland is tied atop the East with the Boston Celtics and will play the Raptors to finish the season on Wednesday, while Boston gets the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks at home.
This is a tough line, but he Heat have been a cover machine at home recently (15-5-1) and Cleveland’s stars played a lot of minutes last night. I’ll lay the points in this one.
Pick: Heat -4.5
Update: It looks like the Cleveland stars are going to sit this one out. Hopefully, you got Miami -4.5 before the line change. The new line is -11.5. I wouldn’t touch it now.
HEAD TO HEAD
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