With all eyes on the NBA trade deadline this afternoon, the Portland Trail Blazers (25-18) and Miami Heat (22-22) will tip-off at 4:30 p.m. PST.
The Heat are 12-11 at home this season.
Thursday’s contest is the first of the next three games on the road for the Trail Blazers.
It will also be the first of two meetings between the Blazers and Heat this season. The final game will be played on April 11 at Moda Center.
Last season, Portland and Miami split the season series, 1-1. Over their last 10 meetings, the teams are an even 10-10, which dates back to the 2009-10 season.
Thursday also marks the first game back to Miami for Derrick Jones Jr. since suiting up for the Heat for the majority of three seasons from 2017-2020. In 133 games with Miami, while starting in 38 of them, DJJ averaged 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds.
At Miami’s shootaround Thursday, Jones Jr.’s former teammate Bam Adebayo had some jokes when talking about facing DJJ:
Portland will be shorthanded when taking on Miami after a deal was made with Toronto that is sending Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood to the Raptors for Norman Powell.
The Trail Blazers have also updated their injury report.
After initially being listed as out, Anfernee Simons (health & safety protocols) and Nassir Little (health & safety protocols) are now available for Thursday’s contest. Jusuf Nurkic (right calf strain) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) remain out.
And it looks like the Heat will be short-handed as well.
Miami will be without Moe Harkless and Chris Silva after finalizing a deal with the Kings.
The team has also listed Gabe Vincent (right knee; soreness) as probable, while Jimmy Butler (stomach; illness), Avery Bradley (right calf; strain) and Goran Dragic (lower back; spasms) are questionable, and KZ Okpala (health and safety protocols) and Udonis Haslem (health and safety protocols) are out.
Following Tuesday’s game, our Trail Blazers Inside Dwight Jaynes discussed how the Trail Blazers fell to the short-handed Brooklyn Nets for fourth loss in last eight games:
The Trail Blazers had the good fortune of catching the Brooklyn Nets without Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Landry Shamet Tuesday night in Moda Center.
But in the NBA, the good teams can still put out effective offensive lineups, even without their best players.
Portland found that out, as Brooklyn posted a 116-112 win over the Trail Blazers, shooting .494 from the field.
That should not come as a surprise. In Portland’s previous seven games coming into this contest, opponents were shooting 51.7 percent against the Blazers.
Portland has won just four of its last eight games, in what was considered one of the few soft spots on its second-half schedule.
“We've had some good wins against some good teams,” Terry Stotts said. “Frankly, Brooklyn's not at full strength, so we didn't play a championship-level team today. We played a very good team that was missing two of its three best players. But, you know, obviously, it wasn't like our last game against Dallas (a 40-point loss).
“But as long as we compete, we're in them, that's what we need.”
And you could hang this loss on the Portland backcourt – which is a very rare happening.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum struggled from the field, combining to go 10-36 from the field and 7-26 from three-point range. The other three Trail Blazer starters were 16-30 from the floor.
Read more here.
The Blazers are +2 point underdogs to the Heat, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Thursday’s matchup –
- Damian Lillard averaged 33.5 points (48.9% FG, 44.4% 3-PT, 84.6% FT), 10.0 assists and 2.00 steals in two games against Miami last season. The Heat were one of four teams Lillard averaged a double-double against last season.
- In his only game against Miami last season on Feb. 9, 2020, CJ McCollum recorded 13 points (5-15 FG, 3-9 3-PT), four rebounds and three assists. McCollum has hit three or more three-pointers in each of his last three games against the Heat.
- In two games against the Trail Blazers last season, Goran Dragic averaged 28.0 points (51.4% FG, 52.2% 3-PT, 85.7% FT), 3.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists. Portland was the only team Dragic averaged double-digit assists against in 2019-20. Dragic recorded a career-high 18 assists against Portland on Feb. 19, 2013 while with Phoenix.
- Bam Adebayo averaged 16.5 points (62.5% FG, 37.5% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.00 blocks in two games against Portland last season.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +2 (-110) – Heat: -2 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Thursday, March 25
Where: American Airlines Arena | Miami, Florida
Start time: 4:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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