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Game #64: Portland Trail Blazers (36-27) vs. Miami Heat (43-20)

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Now that their weekend from hell is over, the Miami Heat need to regroup and try to register a win tonight when the Portland Trail Blazers come to town.  There has been very little positivity coming from the Heat these days, and since their loss to the Bulls on Sunday much of the talk has been about what is now being called ‘Crygate'.

I cannot believe that this is being made into such a big deal.  Athletes are typically very emotional people and we often will see those emotions get let out during games, whether it be after making a big play, a bad call, scoring points...whatever.  Now just because Erik Spoelstra said that some of his players shed a few tears after their loss to Chicago, media all over the country is making it into a huge story.

Since day one we have known how dedicated each member of this team is to winning, so it comes as no surprise to me that after a loss as tough as the one on Sunday, some of the guys got a bit emotional.  I've really got nothing else to add on this subject, because as I said, I have no idea why this has become such a big deal. 

Looking at tonight's opponent, the Portland Trail Blazers come to Miami one of the hotter teams in the NBA, winning 10 of their last 13 games.  They are fresh off a nice road win last night in Orlando, though they lucked out as the Magic was without the suspended Dwight Howard.  Still, the Blazers have been playing some great ball of late and its gotten them right back in the mix of the Western Conference playoff picture.

Led by LaMarcus Aldridge and they have climbed all the way up to 6th place in the West, but even a short losing streak could bump you right out of the postseason.  Spots 5 through 8 are separated by just 1½ games; Portland is a half game behind 5th place Denver, but hold a half game lead over the struggling Hornets who have dropped to 7th

GAME NOTES

  • Portland has beaten Miami in 5 of their last 7 meetings, including their last 3 trips to the AAA.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge leads the Blazers with 22.3 points and 8.9 boards a game and was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for February.
  • LeBron James has won all 7 games he's played against the Blazers since 07-08, averaging 34.1 points per game. 
  • James put up 44 points and 13 boards while D-Wade added 34 points in the Heat's 107-100 overtime win over Portland back in early January.
  • A win would give Miami their first season sweep over Portland since the 2006-07 season. 
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) and Dexter Pittman (knee) remain out for the Heat.
  • As for Portland, Greg Oden (knee) and Elliott Williams (knee) are also out.

Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7:30.  For you out of towners, the game will be broadcast nationally on NBA TV.  If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there.  Click here to see what's available.