The Miami Heat have been accustomed to double-digit wins this season, but all three meetings with the Cleveland Cavaliers have been by four points or less.
Miami shoots for another season sweep of the Cavaliers Monday night at Quicken Loans Arena and looks to make it easier on itself in hopes of extending the recent mastery in this series. The Heat won all three matchups in 2011-12.
The top-seeded Heat have won six straight and nine of the last 10 showdowns with the Cavs, who have lost by a total of nine points in the three games with Miami this season. Miami won the last meeting, 98-95, on March 20.
Former Cleveland hero LeBron James is averaging 27.7 points per game against the Cavs this season and 26.3 ppg in 10 career contests. James led the Heat with 24 points in Sunday's 105-93 victory over the Chicago Bulls and Dwyane Wade added 22 in the win, Miami's sixth in a row.
"We wanted to win this game; we always want to protect home court," said Heat center Chris Bosh, who posted 12 points and nine rebounds. "We didn't want to play any sloppy basketball and lose a bad game."
Miami exacted revenge on a Bulls squad that ended the Heat's 27-game winning streak last month at the United Center. Sunday's win over Chicago was the Heat's 39th by double digits, extending a franchise record. Twenty-three of those double-digit triumphs have come at home (16 on road).
The Heat, owners of a 28-12 road ledger, have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Miami will wrap up the regular season Wednesday at home versus Orlando.
Cleveland is lottery-bound and suffered its fourth straight loss the last time out in Sunday's 91-77 setback at Philadelphia.
Tristan Thompson, Wayne Ellington and Marreese Speights scored 12 points apiece, while Kevin Jones and Dion Waiters each had 11 for the Cavaliers, losers in 14 of their last 16 contests. All-Star Kyrie Irving was held to just four points on 1-of-6 shooting in less than 19 minutes (18:57).
"Well, it's disappointing. That's why you yank guys out and bring other guys in, to see if they can get it going. But bottom line, it was a lack of effort," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said.
Cleveland starters Tyler Zeller finished with no points in 24:29 and Alonzo Gee added two points in 23:50.
The Cavs are back home where they sport a 14-26 record and will conclude the season Wednesday on the road at Charlotte.