LeBron James: Miami Heat Star Forward Returns to Quicken Loans Arena

Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
Friday, 2/17/12, 7:30 PM EST, TV:  FSOH
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -9
Current Betting Line:  Miami -9.5
Opening Total:  198
Current Total:  198.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

76ers Heat NBA Playoffs Game 4 Preview
The Miami Heat have scored 100-plus points in four consecutive games

Miami has won five of the last six meetings in its series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, including a 107-91 win as 13.5-point home favorites on Feb. 7.  The Heat will close out a six-game road trip Friday night, winning the last four games and coming off an impressive 105-90 victory over the Indiana Pacers as two-point favorites. Forward LeBron James has captured a lot of media attention over the last couple days, as he’s dropped hints in potentially returning to Cleveland down the road.  “It would be fun to play in front of these fans again,” stated James.  “I’m happy where I am now, but I don’t rule that out in no sense.”  Miami is 8-8 ATS on the road and the “over” is 9-6 in those contests.

The Heat are 18-4 against Eastern Conference opponents this year, including a 9-2 mark on the road.  Miami will be meeting Cleveland for the third and final matchup in this year’s series, collecting victories in both and staying “under” the total in the process.    Offensively, the team has scored at least 100 points in each of the last four games, which has occurred in 18 of the squad’s first 30 games this season.

Cleveland will be searching for back-to-back wins for the first time since Jan. 1-3, picking up a 98-87 win over the Indiana Pacers as 1.5-point home underdogs last time out.  The Cavaliers are glad that star rookie point guard Kyrie Irving seems to be getting over a concussion, scoring 22 points in the team’s latest contest.  “I’m 100 percent,” Irving stated after the game.  He has averaged 16.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the first two meetings this year against Miami.  Cleveland is 13-8 ATS as an underdog this year.

The Cavaliers have been great in getting back in transition defense, giving up only 9.2 fast-break points per game, which is the fewest in the NBA.  Cleveland will look to even up its home record, posting a 6-7 overall mark inside Quicken Loans Arena, which includes a 4-5 mark versus Eastern Conference foes.  Rebounding has been a strength of this squad for most of the year, ranking third in the league in grabbing 12.7 offensive boards per game, while giving up the sixth-fewest on the defensive end.

Bettors will likely back the Cavaliers due to their 6-1 ATS mark as a home underdog, while the Heat are 6-16 ATS when playing on two days rest.

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