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- The Heat brings its franchise-record 23-game winning streak to Cleveland, where small forward LeBron James played his first seven NBA seasons. “The Chosen One” is 8-1 against the Cavaliers since joining Miami in July 2010, including 2-1 at Quicken Loans Arena. James did not speak with the media prior to the game, but was made available at the Heat’s morning shootaround. “Even though LeBron has already played here a couple of times, these games are always going to be important for him,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The other guys don’t want to let him down, either.”
- Miami’s starters are James, center Chris Bosh, power forward Udonis Haslem, shooting guard Dwyane Wade, and point guard Mario Chalmers. The Heat’s last loss came on Feb. 1 at Indiana. “If you can’t get excited about playing Miami, then you’re not a basketball player,” Cavaliers center Marreese Speights said. “These are the games you love to play.” The Heat is 10 victories away from tying the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA-record 33-game winning streak, set from Nov. 5, 1971-Jan. 7, 1972.
- The Cavaliers signed point guard Chris Quinn from the NBA D-League’s Tulsa 66ers to fill their open roster spot. In 25 games with Tulsa this season, the Notre Dame product is averaging 12.7 points and 6.1 assists. Quinn has 234 games of NBA experience, split between the Heat, Nets and Spurs. “We love Quinny and we’re very happy for him,” Spoelstra said. “He definitely deserves to be in this league.”
- Speights said he has not heard from the NBA office about a possible fine or suspension as a result of his Flagrant-2 Foul on Indiana small forward Paul George on Monday night. George was driving to the hoop on a fast break when Speights grabbed him from behind, around the neck, and threw him to the floor. The play occurred late in the third quarter of the Pacers’ 111-90 victory in Cleveland.
- The Cavaliers’ lineup is center Tyler Zeller, power forward Tristan Thompson, small forward Alonzo Gee, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, and point guard Shaun Livingston. Cleveland is 62-153 since James left for Miami following the 2009-2010 season. “A 23-game winning streak is no joke in the NBA,” Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said, referring to the Heat. “I know I’m impressed.”
- Cleveland’s inactives are All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving (left shoulder sprain), shooting guard Dion Waiters (left knee soreness), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery). Waiters was injured two days ago against Indiana and will have his condition updated next week, while Irving is out until at least early April.
– Brian Dulik