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The Heat is On

Cleveland will look to wrestle Miami's win streak away on Wednesday night.

Cleveland will look to wrestle Miami’s win streak away on Wednesday night.

LeBron James and Co. will look to move one step closer to history Wednesday night as the Miami Heat travels to Cleveland in search of a 24th straight win.

The Heat will face a Cavaliers side ravaged by injury but with one not-so-secret weapon in its arsenal; an already hostile crowd now has added motivation to make this a virtual war zone for Miami’s high-profile side, buoying the ailing Cleveland side in the process.

Miami secured a 105-103 victory in Boston on Monday night, improving to 4-0 on this current road trip and, more importantly, winning a 23rd game in a row. That streak saw the side pass the 2007-08 Houston Rockets for the second longest winning streak in NBA history.

Miami will now look to catch the 1970-71 Los Angeles Lakers, a side that won 33 straight behind Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain.

In order to eclipse the Lakers’ mark, the Heat will need to tally 11 more wins without defeat, starting with Wednesday night’s game in Cleveland.

Bovada is currently offering 6/1 odds that Miami will surpass the Lakers.

The record – which many believed to be nearly as untouchable as Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak – certainly looks attainable. Miami will face just four teams with a winning record during those 11 games, including Chicago and New York, both of which are trending downwards at this time.

The toughest encounter will come on Mar. 31 as the Heat travels to San Antonio to take on the Western Conference-leading Spurs. Gregg Popovich’s side took the Heat to the wire in South Beach, leading the game into the last seconds despite Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green all being sent home to rest before the game. The Spurs also happen to be very good at home, and currently sport the third best home record in the league, behind Miami and Denver.

But Miami had better not be looking ahead to San Antonio or even Detroit on Friday. The first task at hand will be to defeat Cleveland.

The Cavaliers have kept the Heat close this season, on the court if not in the standings. On Nov. 24, Cleveland traveled to South Beach and came within two-points of upsetting the Heat. The 110-108 final score was certainly a scare to Eric Spoelstra’s side. A Feb. 24 game wasn’t comfortable for the Heat either. The Cavaliers again visited America Airlines Arena, this time coming up short of a 109-105 scoreline.

Cleveland will find it difficult to keep things as close this time, despite the advantage of playing in Quicken Loans Arena.

Already without center Anderson Varejao (knee) for the rest of the season and weighing-up the benefits of shutting injured All-Star guard Kyrie Irving (shoulder) for the rest of the season, Cleveland learned that standout rookie guard Dion Waiters (knee) may need surgery for an injury sustained in Monday’s home loss to Indiana. This is a team running on empty.

Still, Miami has a history of struggling against the so-called ‘lesser’ teams on this streak so Cleveland – perhaps the fans more than the players – will be looking to score the upset in this one.

Waiting to see if Waiters – who is listed as day-to-day, will play, Bookmakers have yet to release a line on this one. Keep checking our NBA Odds page for the latest information.

For those looking to bet the spread when it opens; Miami is 35-31-0 ATS this season with an 18-15-0 ATS record on the road and a 32-31-0 record as the favorite (which the team is certain to be later today). Cleveland is 35-32-0 ATS this season, going 14-19-0 ATS at home and 29-26-0 ATS as the underdog.

Both Miami (34-32-0) and Cleveland (36-31-0) have favored the total to go over this season.

Bovada is offering further prop bets relating to the Miami Heat this season.

In terms of Miami’s historic winning streak, the over/under has been set at 29 games. Game 30, of course, is that trip to San Antonio.

The sports betting site has the Heat listed as 10/1 to win all 16 remaining regular season games this season.

During that stretch, Miami will face just six teams with a winning record as well as five of the worst six teams in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference doormat, New Orleans. Six of the Heat’s last nine games will come at American Airlines Arena, where the side is 30-3 this season.


Remaining Schedule (Miami Heat)

Mar. 20 at Cleveland (22-45)

Mar. 22 vs. Detroit (23-46)

Mar. 24 vs. Charlotte (15-52)

Mar. 25 at Orlando (18-50)

Mar. 27 at Chicago (36-30)

Mar. 29 at New Orleans (22-46)

Mar. 31 at San Antonio (51-16)

Apr. 2 vs. New York (39-26)

Apr. 5 at Charlotte (15-52)

Apr. 6 vs. Philadelphia (26-40)

Apr. 9 vs. Milwaukee (34-32)

Apr. 10 at Washington (23-43)

Apr. 12 vs. Boston (36-30)

Apr. 14 vs. Chicago (36-30)

Apr. 15 at Cleveland (22-45)

Apr. 17 vs. Orlando (18-50)

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