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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Miami Heat Preview

The Blazers continue on their East Coast roadie.

NBA: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (17-25) vs. Miami Heat (28-16)

The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Miami Heat in Miami for the fourth game of a six game road trip. The Blazers are coming off of two straight wins against the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic. The Heat are playing their last of four straight home games, and hoping to improve on their streak being winners of five of their last six.

Wednesday, January 19- 4:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Larry Nance Jr. (out), Cody Zeller (out), Norman Powell (out), CJ Elleby (day-to-day), Dennis Smith (day-to-day)
Heat injuries: Victor Oladipo (out), Kyle Lowry (out), Markieff Morris (out), KZ Okpala (out), Tyler Herro (out)
SBN Affiliate: Hot Hot Hoops

What To Watch For

  • Bam Adebayo. Bam is back. In his first game since late November Adebayo posted a 14 point 9 rebound statline in 31 minutes. The former All-Star is fresh off of thumb surgery and is back to playing meaningful minutes already. Jusuf Nurkic will have his work cut out for him trying to defend and battle with Adebayo on the boards.
  • CJ McCollum and Anfernee Simons. Simons had only his second sub 20 point performance of the month against the Magic in the Blazers’ last contest. After averaging 19.2 shot attempts so far in January, Simons attempted a low for the month of just 11. What exactly McCollum’s return to the lineup means for Simons’ role is yet to be seen. Whether Orlando was an outlier or a step towards a return to a lesser workload for Simons is a question on the minds of every Blazers fan.
  • Defense. The Blazers are 14th in offensive rating and 28th in defensive rating. A stark contrast to that is the 3rd rated offense and 9th rated defense of the Heat. Just on paper, it looks like this could be chalked up as a loss. However the Blazers could always come out and shock the world. The defense of the Blazers will be incredibly important if they want to come out with an upset win over the streaking Heat.

What Others Are Saying

Hami Rath of Hot Hot Hoops talked about the incredible improvements of Tyler Herro this season.

The biggest misconception about Tyler Herro’s career is that he had a magical performance in the NBA Bubble and then had a “down year” last season. Herro’s statistics across the board, including his field goal percentage, increased from Year 1 to Year 2 despite facing more defensive attention and without having a real offseason to improve after the bubble. While the Heat certainly had an overall disappointing and bitter end to last season, Herro was the subject of unfair criticism for the entirety of his 2020-2021 campaign .

Sure enough, after having his first full offseason to work on his skillset, Herro’s game has taken a leap this year. He is putting up averages of 20.7 points per game (career high), 5.1 rebounds per game (career high), and 4.1 assists per game (career high) on a team contending for the top spot in the conference. Even more impressive than his statistical improvement is the manner in which he has gotten there. While he has had his shooting slumps throughout the year with increased defensive attention on him due to the absences of Butler/Adebayo, Herro has learned how to impact the game positively through his playmaking chops and defensive reads.

Jayden Armant of Inside The Heat talked about Jimmy Butler’s great play over the last couple weeks.

Jimmy Butler recorded a triple double in the Miami Heat’s 104-99 win Monday against the Toronto Raptors. It tied him with LeBron James for the most in franchise history.

Butler finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, including the assist to forward P.J. Tucker for the clinching 3-pointer. Within the final seconds, Bam Adebayo told teammates to clear out for Butler to get his last rebound for the triple-double.

Butler hasn’t skipped a beat since missing time with an ankle injury. His scoring ability and defensive presence are the traits that make him the Heat’s best player.