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- The Heat’s entire “Big Three” – small forward LeBron James (right hamstring strain), shooting guard Dwyane Wade (right knee soreness), and power forward Chris Bosh (right knee soreness) — will not play against the Cavaliers. Also out for Miami are point guard Mario Chalmers (right ankle sprain), power forward Udonis Haslem (right ankle sprain), and small forward Shane Battier (left knee soreness). Wade, Haslem and Battier did not travel to Cleveland, while James and Bosh worked out on the court after being ruled out by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “These are all legitimate injuries,” Spoelstra said. “Obviously, this is a special place for LeBron, but we’re focusing on being healthy for the playoffs.”
- With only nine players in uniform, Miami’s lineup is an eclectic mix featuring point guard Norris Cole, shooting guard Mike Miller, small forward Rashard Lewis, power forward Juwan Howard, and center Joel Anthony. The Heat’s bench consists of shooting guard Ray Allen, center Chris “Birdman” Andersen, small forward James Jones, and power forward Jarvis Varnado. The 40-year-old Howard, who was out of the NBA until being signed by the Heat on March 2, is making his first start since April 14, 2010 with Portland against Golden State.
- The Cavaliers have 12 players available as shooting guard C.J. Miles (concussion, six stitches in forehead), power forward Luke Walton (right ankle sprain), and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) are out. Miles is sidelined for a fifth straight game since taking an inadvertent elbow to the head from Magic center Nikola Vucevic on April 7, while Walton has not played since being hurt on April 5 at Boston.
- Cleveland’s starters are point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Wayne Ellington, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and rookie center Tyler Zeller. The Cavaliers have lost four straight games at Quicken Loans Arena and have the third-worst home record in the NBA at 14-26. Since James left the franchise for Miami as a free agent in July 2010, Cleveland has gone 64-164.
– Brian Dulik