Tonight the Miami Heat (27-7) head to the Rose Garden to take on the Portland Trailblazers (18-17) in their first game since the All-Star Break ended. It was an eventful weekend for both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but now it’s time to extend the winning streak to 9 games.
Over the 8 game winning streak, the Heat have outscored the opposition by an average of 16.5 points and the team chemistry is at an all-time high. The Heat are tied for the best record in the league and are also the number one scoring team right now. The Blazers have speed, but Miami easily matches up with their athleticism and talent.
Expect a huge game from LeBron James. He has won his last 4 games in Portland and has 39 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in those matchups (yes, those are real stats). He’ll be playing with a chip on his shoulder with everyone criticizing him over All-Star weekend.
Dwyane Wade also has a grudge against the world right now. People criticized him over the weekend for a foul on Kobe that was an honest mistake. He’s averaging 22 points on 50% shooting, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.7 steals, and an impressive 1.4 blocks. Wade is probably the player on the Heat that needed this 3 day rest the most, so expect energy.
As for the rest of the team, everyone is playing very well and the team is gelling better than anyone even thought possible. Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller are both shooting over 50%, Udonis is averaging 8 rebounds, and Norris Cole is becoming that spark off the bench that the Heat need. And of course, we can’t forget Chris Bosh, the unsung hero of the team. He’s doing his job, knocking down jumpers, and averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds per game on 49% shooting.
As for the Blazers, they’re coming off a loss to Denver last night, where they got destroyed on the boards. They’re led my all-star Lamarcus Aldridge and newly appointed starting point guard, Jamal Crawford. They’re 13-5 at home, but that doesn’t mean anything when you are playing Miami. For them to win, they’d need to play their best game of the season considering the Heat are on such a hot streak.
Miami just needs to keep the rhythm and chemistry they had before the All-Star break and they’ll win. They haven’t been turning the ball over as much and have been rebounding well, which are two things that are key to making sure they beat Portland. It’s exciting to have the Heat back on the court tonight and hopefully they continue the win streak.
Check back tomorrow for some post-game analysis and a preview of the game against the Utah Jazz.