The Portland Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat in the second of their back-to-back nights. Previously, Blazers defeated the Detroit Pistons in a game that saw Enes Kanter delivering a franchise record 30 boards. As for the Heat, they are starting a tour through the West, consisting of four games. This is a stretch that might define their season because Erik Spoelstra’s side sits at the brink of the play-in tournament and still doesn’t have a secured playoff spot. The match should be exciting because both sides need to win.
Miami Heat (31-21, +130) posted four wins in the last five games, losing only against the Grizzlies at home. During this period, the Heat defeated Knicks, Pacers, Warriors, Cavs, and the Lakers in the most recent game. The latest four matches took place at the American Airlines Arena, meaning that Miami didn’t travel and had a chance to rest properly, before hitting the road for a four-game tour.
There weren’t any troubles against the Lakers, 110-104, but to be honest, we did expect to see the hosts winning easier. The Lakers never had a lead, yet Miami wasn’t able to pull away completely and ditch the shorthanded champions.
Jimmy Butler had 28 points in 36 minutes, with seven rebounds and five assists, missing one of his 12 free throws. Victor Oladipo added 18 points, while Bam Adebayo scored 13 with seven boards and four assists. Tyler Herro came off the bench with 15 buckets, hitting four threes.
Portland Trail Blazers (31-21, -150) saw fantastic Enes Kaners, who was incredible with 12 offensive and 18 defensive rebounds. He broke down Sidney Wick’s previous record (27 boards), enabling the Trail Blazers to stop a two-game losing skid.
Portland lost to LA Clippers 133-116 and Utah Jazz 122-103, before defeating the Pistons 118-103. Kanter had 24 points, shooting 9-16 from the field, posting two blocks and assists as well. Damian Lillard had a team-high 27 points, and 10 dimes, while CJ McCollum scored 26.
What was a good thing is that the Blazers limited the Pistons to just nine threes. Two worrying stats for Terry Stotts were the fast break points, 22-9, and assists 25-18, both in Detroit’s favor. Keeping in mind that the Trail Blazers love to run the floor, it is pretty unusual to see them outscored in transition, and that is something that needs to be changed.
Head to Head Games
Miami hosted the Trail Blazers on March 25 in Florida, and that one ended with the visitors’ victory, 125-122. Those who watched it saw a hard and dramatic match, in which Miami had an 11-point lead midway through the final period. Eventually, Lillard and the boys came out on top. McCollum had 35 buckets, Lillard 22, and Melo 20. Kanter ended with 118 and 16 boards. On the other end, Butler didn’t play, so Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo took over with 29 buckets, while Kendrick Nunn had 22.
We expect to see another close call here, which is why there won’t be a pick that includes the winner of the contest. Instead, our focus is on the total number of points, with 216 being the line. After seeing the Heat play in recent times, our pick is over, because Spoelstra’s side began playing efficient matches. Portland, on the other hand, is always in such mode.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.