Miami Heat Defense Really Shines Through In Great Portland Win

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket on Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11)(Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket on Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11)(Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat came into Sunday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers needing something good to think about. Though they were able to get a win in their last contest, a game against a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Miami Heat lost Victor Oladipo.

While the reports and updates thus far have been vague, as far as the actual extent, how long he’ll be out, or anything much, for that matter, things don’t seem too good right now. You’d imagine, if they were optimistic about what they knew, they would say something.

Then again, who knows. With the way that the whole Kawhi Leonard situation went down in San Antonio at the end of his tenure there, with him, essentially, not trusting the team’s medical people, you do want to approach it all delicately.

In any event, the games still have to be played and they did that on Sunday. Getting the win without Victor Oladipo, on the road, and to kick-off the road trip were big enough for the Miami Heat, but even more impressive was the way in which they went about it.

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The Miami Heat got a huge road-win on Sunday, basically, by shutting the Blazers down.

The Miami Heat flat-out shut the Trail Blazers down defensively. The Blazers got out to a hot start, but it was all Miami after that.

They pretty much led wire to wire. The Miami Heat were able to rely on their defense, good ball movement and creation from guys like a ready Kendrick Nunn and a confident Tyler Herro, the steadying presences of Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, and lastly, the outside prowess of guys like Duncan Robinson, Trevor Ariza, and… yes, Andre Iguodala on Sunday night, to not only get a win over a tough Blazers team but impressively.

To nail it home, the Trail Blazers rank fifth in the league when it comes to points scored per game, at 115, even, a contest. On Sunday, the Miami Heat held them under 100, to just 98 and only 71 at the end of the third period.

To add the cherry on top and to point a real chef’s kiss of a defensive quarter for the Miami Heat, they held one of the league’s most potent teams to just 17 points in the second period.

Now, that’s defense! Some will say that the Blazers were on the second night of a back to back, which they were, but that’s the name of the game.

While it may point to them having a little less energy, it still doesn’t explain their lack of offensive explosiveness, as they can fill it up with their eyes closed with that roster. The Miami Heat’s defense is the explanation and the major takeaway from Sunday’s win.

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While Victor Oladipo needs to get back, if he can this season and as soon as possible in that event, they can go a long way on the back of their defense and  without him. They face off against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday in the second game of this four-game trip, so they will need to put together another defensive gem if they can.

Hopefully, they can.