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Miami at Cleveland

Venue: Quicken Loans Arena
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(AP) - LeBron James and the Miami Heat are about to play another game in Cleveland.

Yawn.

That's what a 23-game winning streak will do for a team.

It mutes even the LeBron-Goes-Home-Again hype.

Someday the Heat will lose another basketball game. Maybe even Wednesday night, when the reigning NBA champions drop by James' old neighborhood to take on James' old team, which happens to be decimated by injuries right now.

Still, could happen. Almost did in Boston on Monday night, save for James' game-winning jumper in the final seconds after Miami rallied from 17- and 13-point deficits to squeak past the Celtics 105-103.

But given how they wrapped up their latest "W" and what lies ahead, it may no longer be farfetched to think that the record of 33 straight victories set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers is within the Heat's grasp.

"It means a lot," James said after the Boston game. "I know the history of the game. To be sitting in second place right now ... for us to be there and doing it in the way we want to do it, it means a lot."

It also means a lot that Miami (52-14) won't be visiting many playoff-bound teams any time soon. Five of their next six games are against teams with the worst records this season, starting with Cleveland (22-45).

While it will surely be emotional - after all, James is coming home, again - Miami would have to simply lay an egg to lose on Wednesday. The Cavs are incredibly banged up and out of the playoff race. Kyrie Irving is out, Anderson Varejao's season is over and on Tuesday, Cleveland revealed that guard Dion Waiters may need surgery to repair a problem in his left knee.

Yes, the Cavaliers nearly knocked off the Heat in Miami on Feb. 24, but Waiters and Irving combined for 43 points in that upset bid. They'll combine for zero on Wednesday for Cleveland, which has lost three straight and seven of nine.

Miami won last month's matchup 109-105 and also came away with a 110-108 victory in the first meeting of the season Nov. 24. The Heat are 8-1 against the Cavaliers since James bolted for South Beach following the 2009-10 season, with the reigning league MVP averaging 26.4 points, 6.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds and shooting 51.2 percent - similar numbers to what he's put up this season.

"I think you can give the (MVP) trophy to him right now," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said. "He's the best player in the league right now, and he's playing like it."

Despite his team's injury situation, Scott says Cleveland is confident heading into this matchup, especially since its two losses in the series this season have come by a total of six points.

"Anything can happen," Scott said. "Just like boxers. James Buster Douglas against Mike Tyson. Nobody in the world thought it would happen. ... We have to play probably our best game of the season because they're playing at a different level than everybody else.

"I'm sure from their standpoint, they're on a high. When you're playing that well, you have to have some luck in there during that streak. But you almost get to the point you feel you're invincible, that you can't lose."

This is the end of a five-game trip for the Heat, who return home to face Detroit (23-46) on Friday and NBA-worst Charlotte (15-52) on Sunday before starting another four-game stretch away from home.

"It's a special opportunity that we have with this group and you don't want to take it for granted," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You want to treat every day as a special opportunity to be with this group, to share these moments together, but more importantly to take a step closer to going after our goal and every day that we improve puts us in a better position in a quest where nothing is guaranteed for anybody."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Miami -11 Cleveland 11
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Miami1st Southeast 5428.65904-6Lost 3
Cleveland3rd Central 3349.402235-5Won 1

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Injuries
Miami
PlayerInjury
J McRobertsToe
Cleveland
PlayerInjury
B HaywoodFoot
 
Key Players
LeBron<br>James
LeBron
James
, SF
38.3 Min. Per Game 35.1 Kyrie<br>Irving
Kyrie
Irving
, PG
26.7 Pts. Per Game 23.0
7.2 Ast. Per Game 5.7
8.2 Reb. Per Game 3.7
55.5 Field Goal % 46.6
38.9 Three Point % 41.4
75.0 Free Throw % 84.2
 
Team Rankings
TeamRankPoints
Miami Heat296.66
Cleveland Cavaliers2276.56
 
Series Game Log
DateLocationResults
Dec 25 @ Miami 
Feb 11Cleveland 
Mar 16 @ Miami 
Apr 2Cleveland 
 
Other Games
Tor 101 Final
Char 107
Mil 90 Final
Atl 98
Orl 94 Final
NY 106
Bos 86 Final
NO 87
Brook 113 Final
Dal 96
Utah 93 Final
Hou 100
OKC 89 Final
Mem 90
GS 93 Final
SA 104
Wash 88 Final
Pho 79
Phi 72 Final
LAC 101