5 Things to Look Forward to in Miami’s Christmas Day Matchup

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3. Miami’s Big Three vs. Cleveland’s Big Three

Unfortunately, because Chris Bosh will most likely miss his sixth straight game with a strained left calf, a true comparison between the high-profile cores of each team will have to wait at least until their next matchup in February in Cleveland.

But let’s take a look at the numbers, anyway, because they reveal some interesting patterns and comparisons.

As mentioned above, James has two new running mates in Cleveland – guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love. Together, the three stars average over 62 points per game, and while they are one of the highest-scoring trios in the NBA this season, they come up short against year one of the Big Three era in Miami, when James, Wade and Bosh averaged over 70 points per game. Incredibly, James led the Heat in points, rebounds, and assists in each of his four seasons in Miami except one, 2010-11, when Bosh led the team in rebounding.

Miami’s new Big Three – Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and forward Luol Deng – are averaging 58.7 points per game, about four points fewer than James, Irving and Love in Cleveland. These numbers may be skewed, however, because of the injuries that have plagued the Heat this season.

Cleveland’s Big Three have played a combined 80 games (out of a possible 81), while Miami’s New Three have played a total of 71 games (out of a possible 87) so far this season. James has missed only one game, while Love and Irving have suited up together in every game.

On the other hand, Wade has missed eight games due to injury, Bosh has missed six, and Deng has sat out two games. This has almost certainly led to a tough adjustment period for the three players, as the Heat are just a game over .500 – 8-7 – when all three play together.

With Bosh most likely unavailable for the Christmas Day matchup with the Cavaliers, it will take an inspired effort from Wade, Deng and the rest of the Heat to earn a victory over the Cavaliers.

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Rizwan is a graduate of UCLA and Loyola Law School and is a fan of all sports, but in particular basketball (NBA and NCAA). He has been a freelance writer since 2011 and is proud to be a staff writer for HeatNation.com.