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Pregame: Heat (52-14) at Cavs (22-45)

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 20, 2013
Irving & LBJ
LeBron James will return to the Q tonight in a Heat uniform. Will he ever wear Cavs colors again? He wasn't in the mood to talk about it Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, David Santiago) MAGS OUT

 

Time: 7 p.m.; Place: The Q; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Kyrie Irving (shoulder) out; Anderson Varejao (knee, lung) out; Dion Waiters (knee) out. Heat: None.

Officials: Monty McCutchen, John Goble, Haywoode Workman

Series: Heat lead 2-0

Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Shaun Livingston 6-7, 175 5.7 2.3 3.1
SG Wayne Ellington 6-4, 200 7.1 1.8 1.2
SF Alonzo Gee 6-6, 219 10.4 3.8 1.8
PF Tristan Thompson 6-9, 227 11.4 9.3 1.3
C Tyler Zeller 7-0, 250 7.9 5.8 1.3

 

 

Heat probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Mario Chalmers 6-2, 190 8.2 2.2 3.4
SG Dwyane Wade 6-4, 220 21.8 5.0 5.0
SF LeBron James 6-8, 250 26.5 8.2 7.1
PF Udonis Haslem 6-8, 235 3.6 5.3 0.5
C  Chris Bosh 6-11, 235 17.0 6.8 1.5
 

Notebook

* He's back, but LeBron James is doing his best to divert attention away from the spectacle. In fact, he's so good at it, James instead created another one. 

* While questions about returning to the Cavs were swatted away like one of his patented chase down blocks, James started another brush fire when he verbally spanked Boston's Jason Terry after dunking on him Monday night. 

* "It was one of my better (dunks). And the fact it happened to J.T. made it that much sweeter because I think we all know J.T. talks and he talks too much sometimes," James said. "And I'm glad it happened to him."

* James is savvy enough to take interviews exactly where he wants them to go. When the Heat played in Cleveland last year, he wanted to float the idea of someday returning in a Cavs uniform. This time, with the Heat riding this historic streak, we all knew he most likely would skip the Cleveland questions. And he did with canned answers about this year. And hey, the Heat are on the verge of consecutive championships. He has every right to be focused on the now. 

* But James was waiting for someone to ask him about his dunk the other night on the Celtics and Terry. He crushed Terry on the dunk, leaving him flat on his back with James glaring at him from high above. It was clear that James doesn't like Terry and even recalled the flagrant foul Terry gave him during his early days with the Cavs. So when given the chance, James took the opportunity Wednesday to rub his nose in it. 

* He seemed relaxed at this morning's shootaround, chatting up familiar members of the Cleveland media contingent after the formal interview session. He talked about his kids, the upcoming NCAA tournament and his wedding. 

* It was interesting that James remembered the date of his first game back in Cleveland: Dec. 2, 2010. He uttered the date twice and said no return here will ever match that night. I kind of assumed it before, but today's conversation made it clear that night left an impact on him. He hasn't forgotten it and clearly hasn't forgotten how that night felt. 

* I said over the summer and maintain that James will be cheered tonight. There may still be more boos, but he will be cheered again inside the Q. And those cheers will only increase into next season, his final one before free agency. 

* As for tonight's game, the Heat will most likely be able to call the score. If they want to win by 20, they will. If they want it to be 50, it will be. With their top three scorers out, the Cavs are simply outmatched against the best team in the league. Their one saving grace is the fact James seems to play in third gear agains this old team. He had a message to deliver in that first game a couple of years ago, ever since then, he seems to take it easy on the Cavs. He doesn't take the night off, but he doesn't try to embarrass them, either.

* The Cavs signed 29-year-old veteran journeyman Chris Quinn today. He's a 6-foot-2 point guard who previously played with the Heat, Nets and Spurs, but hasn't played in the NBA for two years. He'll be in uniform tonight. No word if they'll also be handing out blindfolds and cigarettes.

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