Heat at Trail Blazers
The Miami Heat strive to make their second contest of a six-game road trip more fun than the first when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. Miami scored a season-low 77 points during Tuesday’s 10-point loss to the Indiana Pacers, shooting just 41.2 percent from the field. Portland is a robust 12-4 at home – including eight straight victories – and is attempting to stretch its overall winning streak to four games.
The Trail Blazers have won 11 of their last 14 games after dispatching of the Orlando Magic on Monday. Portland’s home winning streak is its longest since claiming 12 straight during the 2008-09 campaign. The Trail Blazers are in third place in the Northwest Division. Miami has the best record in the Eastern Conference but has lost four of its last seven games. Two of the victories during the stretch came in overtime and the other was against the lowly Washington Wizards. The Heat are 7-7 on the road.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE HEAT (23-10): Forward LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade are accustomed to having strong performances against the Trail Blazers. James is averaging 30.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 17 career games against Portland and is averaging 38.5 points over the last four contests. Wade is averaging 27 points in 17 career outings against the Trail Blazers and has averaged 35 over the last three meetings. James has scored 20 or more in all 33 games, the second-best such streak to start a season behind George Gervin, who did it in the first 45 games of the 1981-82 season.
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (19-15): Portland’s victory over Orlando featured four players recording double-doubles. Forward LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 10 rebounds, center J.J. Hickson had 20 points and 15 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season, point guard Damian Lillard had 18 points and 10 assists and forward Nicolas Batum had 16 points and 10 assists. The last time the Trail Blazers had that occur was back in the 1997-98 campaign when Brian Grant, Isaiah Rider, Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace all had double-doubles in a game against the Phoenix Suns. Guard Wesley Matthews has scored 20 or more points in each of the past three games, averaging 23.7 points during the stretch while making 14 of 22 3-pointers.
1. Miami has won its last three visits to Portland.
2. The Trail Blazers are 10-2 in games decided by six or fewer points.
3. The Heat signed F Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract on Wednesday. Varnado played in five games for the Boston Celtics earlier this season.