Forty-year-old Juwan Howard, who has logged a whopping 14 minutes this season, will start for the 64-16 Heat against the Cavs. It will be Howard's first start since he was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010, as revealed by ESPN's Brian Windhorst:
No LeBron, Bosh or Wade tonight for Heat at Cavs. But on the other hand Juwan Howard is starting.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 15, 2013
The absence of Miami's big three shouldn't come as a shock. With just three days remaining in the regular season, the Heat have first place in the East locked up and are doing whatever they can to assure their stars are completely rested for the playoffs.
After missing six games in a row, Wade played a total of 71 minutes over the weekend against Boston and Chicago, quickly shaking off the rust against the latter.
James, meanwhile, has paced himself in April. He missed two games to start the month, then played two against Philadelphia and Milwaukee before sitting out against Washington and once again returning for two wins against Boston and Chicago.
How will the recent rest of Miami's big three affect the Heat?
The sporadic play hasn't affected his MVP-caliber play, either, as he is averaging 24.8 points on a staggering 69.1 percent shooting to go with 6.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists this month.
As for Bosh, this will be his fourth DNP of April.
Many will wonder if this irregular playing time will affect the Heat's chemistry come playoff time, but they've won with and without their stars. If anything, these past few weeks have proven that they have better depth than originally believed. There should be little question that they will be ready to defend their title.
Meanwhile, as the last few days of the NBA season prove to be mundane when playoff races are already decided, there is nothing like a little Howard vs. Tyler Zeller to inject some excitement.