The Cleveland Cavaliers will renew acquaintances with former teammate Dwyane Wade when they invade American Airlines Arena to take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
Count Wade among those who have noticed what the Cavaliers have done of late, namely winning five consecutive games since Kevin Love returned from a 21-game absence because of a broken left hand and six of seven overall. LeBron James, one of Wade's closest friends, has averaged a triple-double over the last month.
"Once Kevin (came back)... he spreads the floor for them, he's an All-Star," Wade, who was traded back home by Cleveland on deadline day in exchange for a future second-round draft choice. "When you're down an All-Star, it makes things tough.
"When you add him back in there, his ability to shoot the ball, to rebound the ball, etc., it makes them a tough team."
Wade has averaged 13.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 22.5 minutes in 13 games, all off the bench, since returning to Miami. He is shooting 43.0 percent from the field, including an abysmal 21.0 percent from deep.
The Heat (39-35) dropped their second consecutive game Sunday, a 113-107 overtime loss at Indiana. Miami, which is comfortably ahead of ninth-place Detroit (33-40) -- 4.5 games up with but eight to play -- face a difficult challenge in the red-hot Cavaliers (44-29), according to Wade.
"They're taught to cover, especially the way LeBron (James) is playing, the way LeBron is passing the ball, the way those guys are shooting," he said of Cleveland, which stands third in the Eastern Conference standings.
The three-time NBA champion, including winning two titles with James as a teammate for Miami, said it will be a playoff-like atmosphere as Cleveland comes to town, having lost 13 consecutive games in Miami.
"It's gonna be a great atmosphere on Tuesday," the 36-year-old said. "Our arena is gonna be excited for this game. I'm sure (the Cavaliers) want to continue play well.
"Our team will be excited for it. I always look forward to the matchups (with James). Obviously, to me its all about trying to get a W for us as we come down the stretch against a very good team."