The defending champion Miami Heat make their only appearance at the Rose Garden tonight. The game is on TNT, and the Heat are coming off a bad loss to the Pacers on Tuesday, so don’t expect LeBron and company to be on the autopilot they’re sometimes known to slip into.
Portland: Damian Lillard (PG), Wesley Matthews (SG), Nicolas Batum (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), J.J. Hickson (C)
Miami: Mario Chalmers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), LeBron James (SF), Udonis Haslem (PF), Chris Bosh (C)
Per ESPN’s Stats & Information department, the Heat have scored fewer than 100 points in their last three games, their longest such streak of the season.
The Blazers are 4-1 in 2013. In that time, their offense is scoring 107.1 points per 100 possessions, although their defense is giving up 107.8.
On the Floor:
Shane Battier is out once again for the Heat, with Udonis Haslem starting in his place. Without one of their best wing defenders, the Heat will need to rely more on LeBron to cover both Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. This should create a significant advantage for LaMarcus Aldridge, who will likely be facing up against Haslem a lot of the time. A wild card is Wade, who has looked good lately but been inconsistent this season due to nagging health issues. If he plays like a 100 percent healthy Dwyane Wade, the Blazers simply do not have the defensive manpower to compete. Plus, J.J. Hickson will likely spend some time on Chris Bosh, which will be pretty hilarious. Neither team has a very deep bench, although Ray Allen and Mike Miller both give the Heat shooting threats the Blazers don’t really have.
Of course, none of this matters because the Heat have LeBron James, who is an invincible cyborg from the future sent to destroy everything in his path who is having an even better year than last year despite only being about 70 percent engaged at this point in the season. So there’s that.