For Monday’s upset we head to Miami and see how the Heat will shock Cleveland in LeBron’s second return. There are some interesting factors that give us a lot of value to take Miami in this spot. Read more to see why you should add them to your NBA picks.
Great, Just Hot, or Something in Between
Cleveland is red hot right now, right? Well yes and no. No doubt the win against San Antonio was impressive, but that’s what happens when a guy has a career night. In my opinion the Spurs lost that game more than Cleveland won, they dominated the entire game only to let it slip away at the end by some clutch shooting by the Cavs, it happens. On closer examination, since the break Cleveland has played really solid basketball but it is not like they are unbeatable… especially away. They are a good 7-3 on the road since the break, but except for San Antonio, where they played out of their minds in the final minutes… there is not much to brag about beating Washington (who was really struggling and without Beal), New York (losing record), Detroit (losing record), Toronto (has been horrible since the break, 3-10), Dallas (also struggling), and Orlando (losing record). So let’s all take it down a notch, they are not that great of a team on the road (more on that below) and I expect that will hurt them in the playoffs.
There is No Place... Like the Road…
Which is where the Cavs are most vulnerable. On the road this NBA season they rank in the middle of the league shooting 44.4% from the field, and 34.4% from beyond the arc, also ranked in the middle. Offensively they seem to struggle more, even if just a bit, the point is that if you are going to beat them this is the kind of spot. Also, their assists go down from 24 per game at home to under 20 on the road. That is the biggest difference in the NBA next to the Warriors but they go from 29.6 to 24.8. This also affects their assist to turnover ratio, which also takes a plunge on the road from 1.68 to 1.45. Defensively things get worse as well. The Cavs allow 46.8% shooting on the road for fourth worst in the league, they do a good job of defending the three though, allowing only 33% compared to 35% at home. Defending beyond the arc is really the only statistic the Cavs improve on while on the road. Like most teams they are simply not the same machine they are at home, and now coming to the end of a four game road trip and off a back-to-back, this may be a tough game for them to play well.
Don’t Forget Miami is Still Good
The NBA odds makers have come out with Cleveland as a -6 favorite. But my take on this is not only going against Cleveland’s statistics on the road. Miami is also not a pushover. On the year Miami and Cleveland have shot around the same percentage from the floor at 45.6% and 45.7% respectively. Defensively Miami can really get after teams under Spoelstra. For the year and recently they rank in the top part of the league in shooting percentage allowed, assists allowed, and turnovers caused. With them being at home and Cleveland visiting I think they will be extra motivated, play real hard, and get the win. Being without Bosh is a concern but the last time that Cleveland visited he didn’t play and the Heat won. I anticipate them to do the same today and suggest you add them to your NBA Picks.
Free NBA Pick: Miami Heat +2 at 5Dimes