Cavaliers vs. Heat

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Cavaliers vs. Heat – 2/1/2006 ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

Cavaliers will try to withstand Heat
by Perry of BetWWTS

Is it Riles? Is it Diesel? Or is it both?

Ever since Shaquille O’Neal returned from injuryand Pat Riley took over as Miami’s head coach, the Heat have beenred-hot.

The team now has an opportunity to make a big statement Thursdaynight when they host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliersin the first game of TNT’s weekly doubleheader (8 p.m. ET).

Back in December, things weren’t looking so bright for the Heat.After playing the first two games of the season, Shaq suffereda sprained ankle and would miss the next five weeks. While hewas out, the Heat were just 9-9. During that stretch, as the teamstruggled many started to question the roster moves Riley madein the off-season.

As the team’s president, Riley made significant changes eventhough the team finished with the best record in the Eastern Conferencelast season and was one win away from advancing to the NBA final.Among the changes, Riley acquired veterans Antoine Walker andGary Payton from the Celtics, and dealt Eddie Jones to the Grizzliesin exchange for Jason Williams and James Posey.

Most observers understood the team would need time to gel, butwhen the Heat went on a four-game losing streak just before Shaqreturned, some were beginning to wonder whether Riley’s moveswere backfiring.

Lo and behold, the game after Shaq returned, coach Stan VanGundy suddenly resigned and Riley took over the reins. Since thatday, the Heat have gone 17-8 (.680 pct.).

Through the month of January, Miami was 10-5. Currently, theyare riding a three-game win streak and have won five of theirlast six. At 28-18 overall, the Heat now have a commanding leadin the Southeast division.

The game against Cleveland will be significant because, eventhough they have been winning, most of Miami’s victories havecome against poorer teams. Of the 17 wins since Riley took over,only six were against teams with a .500+ record. None have comeagainst teams with a .600+ record, and none were against divisionleaders.

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The team’s most notable win likely came on Mondaynight at home against the LA Clippers, who are second in the Pacific.The Heat won 118-114 as 4-point favorites.

Meanwhile, losses have come against Phoenix,San Antonio, New Orleans, Detroit, New Jersey and Cleveland backon Dec. 17. The Heat lost that game 115-107 as 1.5-point roaddogs.

With a 15-6 record, the Heat have been strongat home. But they’re going to have their hands full with the Cavs,who were riding a six-game win streak as of Tuesday. Four of thosewins came on the road.

The Cavs are 26-17 overall and sit solidly insecond place in the Central behind the powerhouse Pistons. TheCavs have been particularly strong against the number having gone25-16-2 ATS, which is the best ATS record in the NBA.

With Shaq and teammate Dwayne Wade going head-to-headagainst LeBron James, the total in Thursday’s game will likelybe fairly high. Wade leads the Heat in scoring averaging 26.8ppg (sixth overall) and James leads the Cavs averaging 31.2 ppg(third overall).

With the fourth-highest scoring offense in theleague (100.2 ppg), the Heat are 25-21 on the OVER/UNDER thisseason; the Cavs were 20-23 on the O/U as of Tuesday.

Ultimatecapper says::The Cavaliers aren’t playing their best ball this season. Theirbig man is banged up as well. The Heat will probably be favoredby too many though, so our recommendation is a pass.

Other Thursday game:

In the second game of TNT’s doubleheader, theSan Antonio Spurs visit the Golden State Warriors (10:30 p.m.ET).

The defending NBA champions have been dominantthis season and are in a heated battle with Dallas for top spotin the Southwest.

As of Tuesday, the Spurs had won four straightand were 8-2 over their past 10 games. However, against the numberthe Spurs are only 21-23-1.

With the second-best scoring defense in the NBAcombined with a lower-scoring offense, the Spurs are just 17-25on the OVER/UNDER.

The Warriors had a solid start to their seasonbut have faded. As of Tuesday, they were second-last in the Pacificwith a 20-23 record SU and ATS. Over their previous 10 games,the Warriors were 3-7 SU.

The Spurs are 14-7 SU (10-10-1 ATS) on the roadthis season; the Warriors are 12-12 SU (9-15 ATS) at home.

In their last meeting, the Spurs beat the Warriors113-89 as 4-point road dogs.

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Jay has been watching and following sports since he could walk and turned to betting in his late teens. His favorite sport is MLB and has been producing winners on UltimateCapper for almost 15 years. Follow Jay's free sports picks and enjoy the winners.