Miami is at Portland for the final event of a four game NBA card. The opening tip is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET at the Moda Center. NBA Free Pick to Click: Trail Blazers -7 over Heat.
Miami has regained their swagger recently. The Heat have won four of their last five with victories over Detroit, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Washington. Their lone loss came in the nation’s capital in a game they had their opportunities to win albeit a defeat in overtime. The Trail Blazers aim to secure a 10th consecutive win tonight against a Heat team that is likely to be shorthanded.
Miami won’t have the services of former Hall of Fame guard Dwyane Wade. The veteran suffered a strained hamstring in the team’s weekend win over the Wiz and told the South Florida media “I won’t be in the lineup against Portland, I can probably guarantee that.” Since returning to South Beach via Cleveland he has averaging 15.7 points in six games. In addition center Hassan Whiteside has been ruled out of tonight’s event due to a hip injury.
Portland (-7, 209) has quietly had a solid season. The Blazers currently own the third postseason slot in the West and enter tonight’s’ affair two games clear of a trio of teams vying for the four place position. Point guard Damian Lillard and his mates are healthy and rested. And any thought that Portland will rest on their Friday night win over the reigning world champion Golden State Warriors are not familiar with the makeup of this Portland roster. Lillard and CJ McCollum are a backcourt tandem that is firing on all cylinders. The pair combined for 58 points in Friday’s 125-108 win over Steph Curry and company.
The Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and his staff have fed off opponents that were missing key player personnel during this winning streak. The staff’s game planning at been spot-on. Portland (40-26) defeated a Minnesota team that was without Jimmy Butler. The Blazers also found success versus a short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder (without Carmelo Anthony) and their win over the Warriors on Friday saw Golden State without Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala.
Portland earns a double-digit victory tonight and runs their Moda Center mark to 16-1 in their last 17 home contests.
Play is on the Trail Blazers minus the touchdown.
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