Heat-Trail Blazers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 09, 2013
As good as the Portland Trail Blazers have been at home, a visit by the defending NBA champion Miami Heat poses a serious threat to their winning streak. The Heat, however, are still searching for answers amid their recent struggles. The Trail Blazers will try for their ninth straight win at home and fourth in a row overall Thursday night when they take on slumping Miami, which makes its second stop on a six-game road trip. Although they still have the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Heat (23-10) have won only three of their last seven, with two victories coming in overtime and the other against league-worst Washington. Miami has been exposed on the boards, with a minus-9.2 rebounding margin in its last five games after getting outrebounded by 19 in an 87-77 loss at Indiana on Tuesday night. Despite LeBron James averaging a career-high 8.3 rebounds, the Heat rank near the bottom of the NBA in rebounding (39.0 per game) and offensive boards (8.0). They're last among East teams in second-chance points allowed at 15.4 per game after being outscored 23-6 in that category Tuesday. That could be a major concern against a Portland team that ranks fifth in the league in second-chance points (15.3 per game). "At some point, enough will be enough for us and we'll take care of that department," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the team's rebounding woes. Miami is just 7-7 on the road but has won its last three trips to Portland. The Trail Blazers (19-15), meanwhile, have won eight straight at the Rose Garden and now seek their longest home winning streak since a 12-game run in the 2008-09 season. Portland has won 11 of 14 overall after a 125-119 victory over Orlando on Monday night gave them a 5-0 record in overtime for the first time since 1986-87. Wesley Matthews has keyed the current three-game win streak, averaging 23.7 points and hitting 14 of 22 from 3-point range. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 10 rebounds Monday for his fourth double-double in five games. Aldridge, who has averaged 25.7 points in his last three games against the Heat, has reportedly been bothered by a wrist problem but is expected to play. James has averaged 38.5 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last four meetings with Portland, shooting 65.5 percent from the field and 10 of 15 on 3-pointers. Dwyane Wade also has been tough on the Blazers, averaging 35.0 points over the past three matchups. James and Wade combined for 71 points in a 107-93 victory at Portland when the teams last met March 1. This time, Miami hopes to get back on track after finishing with a season-low point total and its second-lowest field goal percentage (41.2) against the defensive-minded Pacers. The Heat, who lead the NBA in field-goal shooting (48.8 percent), could find scoring tough against a Portland team that has shown improvement on the defensive end. While they're allowing opponents to average 99.2 points on the season, the Trail Blazers have limited teams to 91.0 in regulation during their eight-game home winning streak. "We know that if we keep playing defense and we stay the course we can win some games," Aldridge said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFL denies sending Donald Trump letter about schedule

Michael Bennett calls out NFL stars for not speaking up on social matters

Nationals make astute move in acquiring Melancon

Son of former NFL player Antonio Armstrong charged with death of parents

U.S. Senator “appalled” by Bettman’s stance on concussions

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Team USA’s Opening Ceremony uniforms look a little treasonous

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Texans GM 'disappointed' in DeAndre Hopkins

Can Andre Johnson end his regression in Tennessee?

Favre opens up about painkiller addiction during career

Miami women’s basketball coach criticizes Texas A&M following slideshow

Twin Cities preparing for influx of sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII

WATCH: Bautista bat flip will be available as NHL 17 celebration

Former USMNT, current MLS forward Davies battled cancer, in remission

The definitive guide to U.S. Men's Basketball at Rio 2016

Tony Romo training camp picture leads to fat jokes, concern

Matt Cullen’s family eats cereal out of the Stanley Cup

Texas A&M suspends coaches for sexist slideshow

10 most dangerous college football defenders in 2016

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker