Game #35: Miami Heat (27-7) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (18-17)

LeBron James has had a lot of success during his last four visits to Portland, averaging almost a triple-double in those games and winning each one.

Following a seven day layoff that included the NBA All-Star Weekend, the Miami Heat will finally get back to work tonight when they hit the road to face the Portland Trail Blazers. This is the first game of a three game road trip for the Heat. After tonight in Portland they immediately head down to Utah for a matchup with the Jazz tomorrow night.

Then comes the big game, a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. That game became more meaningful during the All-Star break when Dwyane Wade committed a hard foul on Kobe Bryant, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion. Some of Bryant's teammates have already spoken out against Wade, saying the foul was unwarranted during an All-Star exhibition game.

As for tonight, the Heat will be looking to get their second half of the season off on the right foot, especially considering the amazing streak they were on before the All-Star break. Miami has won eight games in a row, all by at least twelve points, and are playing some of the best basketball the NBA has seen in a while.

Portland isn't playing quite as well, holding a record that has them one game over .500. They kicked off their second half of the season last night with a loss at Denver. It was a poor rebounding effort for the Blazers, losing that battle 54-36 and giving up a season worst 21 boards on the offensive glass.

Things have looked much better for Portland at home though, and that might give them a nice spark tonight against the Heat. The Trail Blazers are 13-5 at home, outscoring their opponents by an average of 12.7 points per game. However, Miami's LeBron James has also had some success in recent trips to Portland, averaging 39.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists in his last four trips to the Rose Garden, all wins.

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat are 12-5 on the road. Portland is 13-5 at home.
  • This is the one and only meeting between the Heat and Blazers this season.
  • They split their two meetings last season, with each team winning in the others' building.
  • Miami had lost six straight visits to Portland before winning their last two.
  • The Heat has won 19 of their last 23 games overall.
  • Miami's Mike Miller has made at least one three-pointer in 12 straight games.
  • Dwyane Wade is averaging 24.4 points on 55.5% shooting over his last 14 games.
  • Miami has nobody listed on their injury report.
  • For Portland, center Greg Oden (knee) is out and center Kurt Thomas is listed as day-to-day.

Tipoff from the Rose Garden is set for 10:30. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT and locally on Sun Sports.

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