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HHH GameTime Preview: Trail Blazers Visit Miami

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After starting the season with 30 losses in 41 games, the Heat aim at .500 with just under a month left in the regular season.

NBA: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 6PM, ET, the Heat will host the Portland Trail Blazers at the AmericanAirlines Arena, in Miami, Florida. This will be the second time the two square off this season, with Portland carrying the first decision on their court, 99-92 on December 3rd.

That game dropped the Heat to 7-13, and pushed the Blazers to 11-10. Damian Lillard led the bad guys with 19 points, six helpers, and four rebounds, while C.J. McCollum and Maurice Harkless pitched in with 17 each. For the Heat, Hassan Whiteside led the way with 28 points on 12-of-16 shooting, with 16 rebounds and five blocks. Goran Dragic was solid wtih 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight helpers, and Josh McRoberts earned his only Five Star of the season with 13 points on five-of-nine shooting, along with four assists.

We can build on this. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra

Miami will be playing in the third game of a five-game homestand. They defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 120-112 on Wednesday and the Minnesota Timberwolves, 123-105 on Friday. After tonight’s matchup, they’ll host the Phoenix Suns on March 21st and the Toronto Raptors on March 23rd.

In Miami’s win against the TimberWolves, Hassan Whiteside led the way with 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting, 14 rebounds, and three blocks. Tyler Johnson scored 23 off the bench, on nine-for-13 shooting, and Goran Dragic added 19 with 10 assists, five boards and three steals. Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wolves with 31 points and 11 rebounds.

We've got to get in there and everyone's got to do their job. This isn't AAU basketball. - Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau

Portland is playing in the fifth game of a five-game road trip, and their sixth game in nine days. Their road trip started last Sunday with a 110-101 win against the Phoenix Suns, followed the next night with a 100-77 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. They defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 110-106 on Wednesday and the Atlanta Hawks, 113-97 last night.

In that game, Damian Lillard led Portland wtih 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, and C.J. McCollum scored 22 with six boards and five assists. The Hawks were paced by 23 from Ersan Ilyasova, and complemented off the bench by Tim Hardaway’s 22 points.

I thought we were able to sustain our focus on both ends of the floor. - Lillard

GameTime: 6PM ET, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida

All-Time Heat-to-Head: Miami’s 20-36 record against the Blazers and it’s resultant .357 win percentage ranks as the Heat’s second worst record against any opponent.

Probabilities: Miami is tracking at an 83.7% chance of victory, according to numberFire.com. The projected Five Stars are Damian Lillard, Hassan Whiteside, C.J. McCollum, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Johnson.

Standings

Miami: 34-35, .493, on pace for 40-42. Third in the Southeast Division, eight games behind the division leading Washington Wizards. Eighth in the Eastern Conference, 11.5 games behind the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers. 15th in the NBA. Last Five: W-W-L-W-W. Playoff Odds: 72.4%.

Portland: 31-37, .456, on pace for 37-45. Fourth in the Northwest Division, 11 games behind the division leading Utah Jazz. Ninth in the Western Conference, 23 games behind the West-leading Golden State Warriors. 19th in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-L-W-W. Playoff Odds: 29.1%.

Miami
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Wayne Ellington
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside

Portland
PG - Damian Lillard
SG - C.J. McCollum
SF - Maurice Harkless
PF - Noah Vonleh
C - Jusuf Nurkic