The second national TV game of the Heat's season arrives tonight, as Miami hosts Portland in an 8 p.m. ESPN broadcast.
It's hard to get a good sense of this game without knowing who will be playing in it. If Greg Oden is a go, that makes all other storylines secondary. On that same front, Shawn Marion may or may not play, and even Brandon Roy is a maybe. I hope all play, and
Matchup of the night: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Michael Beasley.
Aldridge is the kind of long, versatile power forward that should give Beasley a hard time. I think he'll hold his own. Beasley will be more than willing to bang with the larger Aldridge, and I don't see Aldridge doing much to slow Beasley's array of offensive moves. Plus, Beasley is a prime-time dude, so he'll be on point for the ESPN audience. Not that Beasley needs a breakout game, but this could be one.
Opposing player I'm scared of: Travis Outlaw.
He's a very difficult player to guard if his jumper's falling, and an absent or limited Marion could unleash him. Outlaw also craves any opportunity to be a top scoring option, and if Oden and/or Roy is out, that bumps him up the list.