Created on Wednesday, 20 March 2013 Written by Bob Finnan RFinnan@News-Herald.com @BobCavsinsider,writer
Crazier things have happened. Remember, James "Buster" Douglas' stunning upset of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in 1990?
How about the New York "Miracle" Mets' devastating win over the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series?
Or Coach Jim Valvano's North Carolina State Wolfpack's last-second shocker over Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game?
The Cavaliers (22-45) face a tall order at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when they host the defending champion Miami Heat at Quicken Loans Arena. The Heat have won 23 in a row, the second-longest winning streak in NBA history. Only the Los Angeles Lakers' 33-game streak during the 1971-72 season is longer.
The Cavs will be facing the league's best team without their starting backcourt. Both Kyrie Irving (sprained left shoulder) and Dion Waiters (sore left knee) are sidelined, along with starting center Anderson Varejao (knee surgery).
"Our guys are motivated," Cavs coach Byron Scott said. "We know we have to play a great basketball game against a great team. This team is playing at a different level than everybody else. We've all seen this streak grow. We know how good they are right now.
"Obviously, they are on a high. Eventually, you get to a point where you feel invincible, that you can't lose. I think that's where they are right now."
The Heat (52-14) haven't lost since Feb. 1 at Indiana, 102-89, a span of 46 days.
"The way they are playing right now, I don't know if anyone can beat them, especially in a seven-game series," Scott said.
Cavs guard Daniel Gibson, one of two players on the team that played with James (Varejao is the other) in Cleveland, said the Heat are playing at a high clip.
"We have to be ready for the challenge," he said.
"We have to come out with a defensive mindset and get stops. We have to finish games. The last two times, we were close, but couldn't finish the game."
The Cavs have lost five in a row to the Heat. Both previous meetings in Miami were close this season — 110-108 on Nov. 24, and 109-105 on Feb. 24.
Scott said the Cavs came oh-so-close against the Heat.
"They made more plays at the end than we did," he said. "We had a couple defensive breakdowns at the end."
As of late, the Cavs have been getting manhandled.
"You can't keep letting people push you around," Scott said.
An upset would be huge for the Cavs. Don't hold your breath.
"It would be big," Gibson said. "I hope (we're) ready for the challenge. If we can show some resolve and perseverance, it would be big for us."
Forward LeBron James spearheads the Heat attack. He's averaging 26.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals. He's shooting a career-high 55.5 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from behind the arc and 75 percent from the foul line.
"You can give the (MVP) trophy to him right now," Scott said. "He's the best player in the league."
-- Scott said the Cavs need to bring in another player, most likely a guard. "We definitely need to bring someone else in here, depending on what happens to Dion," he said.
-- Scott said he doesn't think center Marreese Speights will be suspended by the league office for his flagrant-2 foul on Indiana's Paul George on Monday. "I think he'll just get fined," Scott said. "I don't think he'll be suspended."
-- No, Scott wasn't on the Lakers team that won 33 in a row. He was 10 at the time. The most games he's ever won in a row were 16 with the Lakers in 1990-91.
-- Gibson is quite sure the fans will react the same way they usually do vs. the Heat — with a Bronx cheer. "Of course, it will be the same," he said.
-- Heat guard Dwyane Wade had a streak of 13 consecutive games of 20 or more points snapped in Boston on Monday. He was held to 16 points by the Celtics.
-- Some odds on the Heat, courtesy of Bovada (www.Bovada.lv):
How many games will the Heat's winning streak last?
Will the Heat set the NBA record of 34 straight wins?
Will the Heat win every remaining game in the season?
Odds to win NBA title (Immediately following the All-Star Game) 3/2 (+150)
Odds to win NBA title (currently) 11-10 (+110)