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Game 29 Preview: Blazers vs. Heat

Game Time: 3:00PM Pacific  TV:  Comcast

You may recall the last time we played Miami, a mere 7 games ago in the cozy confines of the Rose Garden.  It was the last complete game that Greg Oden played and he blistered them to the tune of 13 points, 20 rebounds, and 4 blocks.  However LaMarcus Aldridge was down with soreness in the knee.  The game summary was simple.  Start singing Handel's famous "Hallelujah Chorus" in your head but replace every "Hallelujah" with "Michael Beasley".  I swear they could make a highlight reel of the game with that exact song and not miss much.  All but unopposed, MB scored 27, Wade added 22, and reserve Quentin Richardson poured in 20 himself.  The loss was only 107-100 but watching Miami score like that was a major headache inducer.

Fortunately LaMarcus Aldridge is here for this game.  He might even have a big comeback after last night's miserable offensive showing.  Unfortunately Greg Oden is out.  Perhaps we'll need a new ditty to the tune of "Joy to the World" now.  "Jermaine O'Neal just kicked our butts.  He hit most everything!" could hope Joel Przybilla could hold him closer to a silent night, but it's going to be a tall order because the Heat field a lot of scorers for Joel to help with.

The book on the Heat hasn't changed too much since last time.  Most of the guys who make the court will rebound.  Most of them will shoot a three if given the chance.  They play at a measured pace but they're not afraid to run if you let fact several of their players would prefer it.  They still rely heavily on Wade for scoring but Beasley, O'Neal and occasionally Richardson or guard Mario Chalmers will pop off on occasion.  You have to defend them as a team and box out as a team or you won't have a chance.  Their bench is fairly strong and they use a lot of players.  They're comfortable mixing and matching at the smaller positions but if you can get one of their bigs in foul trouble only Udonis Haslem stands in between them and ouchy-time.

The keys are fairly simple:  run on them whenever you can, rebound, recover if you rotate, and don't be afraid to drive the lane because they won't block a shot.  They tend to be feast or famine when it comes to scoring.  They play in the 100's when they're running hot, in the 80's when they struggle.  You have to know what time it is for them and press your advantage when you've got it.  Dwyane Wade is a handful.  If you can't cope with him at least try and stop somebody else.  If Portland's supporting cast matches Miami's they will have a chance.

Oh.  And try to score more than 83 points.

See how the Heat view things at PeninsulaisMightier.

Enter ye olde Jersey Contest form here.

--Dave (