Miami Heat: A Trifecta of things to watch for against Portland Trail Blazers

Derrick Jones Jr. #5 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Derrick Jones Jr. #5 of the Miami Heat dunks against the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat grace the Moda Center Sunday night for game 3 of 5 on a road trip. Here are three things to keep in mind as we approach Sunday night’s game.

The Miami Heat continue their West Coast road trip on Sunday night as they head to the farthest most northwestern point of the country. Traveling to Portland to play visitors to the Trail Blazers, the Miami Heat must stay light on their toes. While any game in the NBA is hard and especially a road game as the incoming team, here are three extra little things to watch for with the Miami Heat as they prepare to participate in this contest.

Damian Lillard Streaking

Damian Lillard has been on a tear for about a month now. As prolific as they come, scoring-wise, for much of his career thus far, Logo Lillard simply has taken it to another level for this stretch of this season.

When you look at his game log, since January 11, he has scored 25 or more points in 13 of 14 contests. In 10 of those 14 contests, he has scored 30 or more points. He’s scored 40 or more in six of those contests and 50 or more in three, although he had two more games of 47 and 48 points, which may as well be 50 pieces.

Damian Lillard has always been prolific when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop and this stretch he has been on reflects that at the highest level. He has had to do this though to keep his team’s head above water and you should expect that he will continue to try and do so. This is the first thing to watch out for in Sunday’s game.

Portland’s urgency and intensity

The Miami Heat couldn’t have caught the Trail Blazers at a worse time. They are fresh off a controversial loss in Utah to the Jazz.

On a shot attempt that would have tied the game in the closing moments, the Utah Jazz apparently got away with what should have been a goaltending call. Damian Lillard took to social media to express his ultimate frustration and did it for a long time. The rest of the team will certainly feed off of that scenario and Dame‘s energy, which should make for an eager and hungry Portland team.

As mentioned earlier, this Portland team has struggled this season but has seemed to find their footing of late. Knowing that they need to start making their push now for playoff contention, that should be another factor that serves to motivate them to give a contender in the Heat all that they have to give.

Lastly, the Hassan Whiteside factor will forever prevail as long as he is in the league. Whatever team he finds himself on in the future, there will always be an extra little something when his teams face off against the Heat. That goes without explanation, but that is the last bullet point as to why you should expect a very intense Blazers team.

The New Additions

No, this isn’t a reference to Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, BBD, Johny Gill and any other member that found himself shuffled into the fray during the hay day of New Edition. This is in reference to the Miami Heat finally getting to deploy the new toys they acquired at NBA Christmas, the trade deadline.

With the additions of Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala, and Solomon Hill, the Miami Heat not only got three extremely capable wing defenders, but they also got shot makers, orchestrators, toughness, veteran experience, savvy, and leadership. All reports seem to indicate that they will indeed make their Heat debut on Sunday night and it should be glorious.

Next. Pat Riley strikes again as Heat emerge winners at the deadline. dark

The Miami Heat are again set to be without Tyler Herro, Meyers Leonard, and probably Jimmy Butler, but the new guys should fill in just fine. We can’t wait to see the new-look squad and they should have a great chance to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers because of them. This has been three things to watch for as Sunday night’s game approaches.