Blazers/Heat Pre-Game Thoughts
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/20/2009 11:56 AM

    The Trail Blazers (16-12) head to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat (13-11) in the second game of a four-game road trip. Portland has already lost to the Heat earlier this year at the Rose Garden (100-107) in a game where the Heat jumped out to an early lead and the Tail Blazes could never get over the hump. Miami is a place where Portland has had tremendous success throughout the years, going 16-5 in Miami since the Heat came into the league during the 88-89 season, including winning the previous two games in Florida. This was the game marked on Trail Blazer fan's calenders as the most winnable during the difficult five-game stretch that got underway last night in Orlando, but it won't be easy as Portland is coming off of the second night of a back to back, whereas Miami has not played since Thursday.

    Will Blazer fans be forced to watch another grind-it-out game tonight? It could happen, as both Portland and Miami are in the bottom half of the league in points scored per game at 96 and 98 respectively and in the upper echelon in regards to points allowed per night at 92 and 97. If there is going to be a lot of bricks being thrown up, then Portland must take advantage of their 3rd best rebounding differential at +3.64 and crash the glass. We all know the Blazers have a tough time getting easy shots, so why not try to get as many garbage points as possible?

    The #1 key to the game is to guard the 3 point line. The main reason Miami was able to walk into the Rose Garden and come away with a victory was their 7-17 performance behind the line and if my memory serves me correctly, Miami had a bunch of wide open 3's but missed. James Jones and Quentin Richardson are deadly from distance and the game could hinder on them making shots or not. We know Portland would rather they shoot from 25 feet away then not double D-Wade going to the hoop. Right now Portland just doesn't have enough offensive firepower to win a shootout and needs to scrap their way to a win today.

    A big reason Miami did win earlier this year had to do with Aldridge missing the game due to a sore knee, which allowed Michael Beasley to drop 27 points (8-15) and grab 8 rebounds. No one on our roster can stick with his length and athleticism, outside of Aldridge, so hopefully LaMarcus can stifle him defensively. I saw enough Beasley pull-up jumpers off the dribble to hold me over long enough to next season, so I would take the approach of always making sure LMA is on the floor when Mike is playing. No one wants to see Dante or Juwan (Bless them), try to keep up with Beasley, because like Outlaw, he thrives off playing people slower than him.
    This game is the classic toss-up. I'm sure Aldridge will have a much better showing tonight than he did last night and Roy will do what Roy does, but it comes down to Bayless, Webster, Miller, and Blake and it will continue to ride on their shoulders until we get more healthy bodies back in the mix. Out of those 4 players, I think it is safe to say we need either 2 of those guys to have much better nights than their season averages or 3 play right about where they usually would in order to win ball games. With no rhyme or reason, other than being a Blazer homer, I think we get good shooting from Blake and Bayless energizes the bench which is just enough to squeak past the Heat.

    Game 29 Prediction: Trail Blazers 95 Heat 93
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