GAME PREVIEW: Heat head back to South Florida to welcome Max Strus, Cleveland Cavaliers

Heat Cavaliers
The Heat beat the Cavaliers by 33 in November. (Nathaniel S. Butler // Getty Images)

Game story:

The 12-9 Miami Heat, coming off a win in Toronto, are set to face the Cleveland Cavaliers back at home. Cleveland is also sporting an identical 12-9 record, and it will be the first Max Strus return back inside the Kaseya Center.

Strus spent the last four seasons as a member of the Miami Heat before departing in free agency this summer to sign a lucrative contract with the Cavs. For the season, he is averaging 14.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 4.1 APG on 44% shooting and 38% from 3 point range, all career highs.

Strus is fitting in with his new team beautifully and embracing a bigger role as the starting SF for Cleveland; a position that was a hole all of last season for them.

However, when the Heat stormed into Cleveland undermanned and picked up an impressive win a couple weeks ago, Strus struggled and had one of his worst games of the season.

Some other changes for Cleveland this time around playing against Miami is that superstar Donovan Mitchell is back and starting tonight, who sat out in that last matchup due to injury.

The Heat on the other hand still don’t have 3 of their starters in Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Haywood Highsmith.

The Heat are now 2-3 in games that Adebayo sits out, hoping to even up that record this evening.

Adebayo’s absence was expected as it was reported the Heat were shutting him down for a few games. He has been dealing with a lingering hip injury.

Today is also the first in over a month that two-way player RJ Hampton is off the injury report. Look for Caleb Martin to step up again and continue his efficient shooting of late.

For the 14th different starting group in 21 games the other night, Martin filled in at that small ball PF position and came out on fire shooting the ball. He finished the game with a team-high 24 points and 12 boards.

Duncan Robinson, listed as probable, is another guy who has seriously stepped up for this team when needed the most.

The Robinson duo, Orlando and Duncan, took over the 4th quarter in the last win.

Orlando Robinson has received the opportunity and is making a case to secure some backup big man minutes once Adebayo is healthy.

Tonight’s game will tip off at 8:00 PM ET on Bally Sports Florida.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Duncan Robinson (groin) — Probable
  • Bam Adebayo (hip) — OUT
  • Haywood Highsmith (back) — OUT
  • Tyler Herro (ankle) — OUT
  • Dru Smith (knee) — OUT

Cleveland Cavaliers:

  • Evan Mobley (knee) — Questionable
  • Caris LeVert (knee) — OUT
  • Ricky Rubio (not with team) — OUT
  • Ty Jerome (ankle) — OUT
  • Emoni Bates (g league) — OUT

Projected Starting 5:

Miami Heat:

  • Kyle Lowry, G
  • Duncan Robinson, G
  • Jimmy Butler, F
  • Caleb Martin, F
  • Orlando Robinson, C

Cleveland Cavaliers:

  • Darius Garland, G
  • Donovan Mitchell, G
  • Max Strus, F/G
  • Evan Mobley, F
  • Jarrett Allen, C

Betting Lines (at the time of this publishing):

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 8:00 PM EST
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

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It seems that Strus guy is good. Can Pat get him? lol

Reality czech

I suppose we could offer super Max money?


One more way to get the ire of people here…Dunc for Max? 😜


He already got a younger, better, cheaper version of him. Chap by the name of Jaquez…Jaime Jaquez.


Caleb Martin really has to step up in every game throughout this season. I am still on a monthly plan to pay off his Heat’s jersey, that I bought during the Heat/Celtics playoff series. Call me cheap, lol!

Reality czech

When Bam returns, and knowing they will still have Love in the second unit, I’d like to see a lineup of Love, ORob, Jaquez, JRich, and Duncan. And when Herro returns, a second unit of Love, ORob, JRich, Jaquez, and Herro would be a pretty formidable group that could overwhelm most teams’ second units.


How good do you think ORob is? I know he may be a shade better than Bryant. I am curious to see how he shows up against the competition as Herro and Duncan have done most recently.


ORob is young (23) and determined to improve. I see him as a solid back-up center with additional experience and skill development. He is a very good offensive rebounder, 3-point shooter and is able to score in the paint. He needs to work on his defense, mid-range shot and physical/strength development. Once he has a little more experience, I think we will see him really start to bloom. He is a much better prospect than Bryant (who I believe will be a filler in any future trades the Heat make, likely for a point guard). I’m really looking forward to seeing RJ at PG once he is approved to resume playing. I think he just might be Miami’s next “diamond in the rough.”

heat for life

bryants a has been that never was much.o rob finally showing his stuff spo needs to play him more so far looks good

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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