Portland just endured two hard-fought games against the Phoenix Suns. The former of which ended in a Jerami Grant buzzer beater, while the latter was a 20-point defeat.
On the other end, Miami has struggled out of the gates, most recently losing to the Indiana Pacers. Their 4-6 start has them at 12th in the Eastern Conference, but only a half game back of the sixth seed.
The result of the Blazers and Heat’s first meeting? A 119-98 victory which saw a second half surge from the Erik Spoelstra-led team. A 61-56 lead at the half ballooned into a 21-point victory, behind strong fast break and 3-point play from the Heat. Portland will be looking to get back at it tonight.
Blazers vs. Heat – Monday, November 7 – 5:30 p.m. PT
How to Watch: Root Sports Plus, Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
Blazers Injuries: Gary Payton II (out), Olivier Sarr (out), Damian Lillard (questionable), Anfernee Simons (doubtful), Josh Hart (probable), Justise Winslow (day-to-day).
Heat Injuries: Victor Oladipo (out), Omer Yurtseven (out), Tyler Herro (gametime decision).
SBN Affiliate: Hot Hot Hoops
- Limit Jimmy Butler on the Glass and in Transition: Forget about numbers for a second. If you really watch basketball, all teams included, you’d know that Jimmy Butler is one of the best rebounders at his position, and inch for inch, elite in the entire association. His ability to create second and even third opportunities for himself and his teammates is a thing of beauty to see. He’s averaging a career high 2.1 offensive rebounds per game. He also loves to get out and run, and will burn you in transition if you give him the opportunity. Against Portland the first time around, Butler had a 10-minute stretch from the second quarter to the third, where within that time frame, had three fast break dunks. That 10-minute window was instrumental in allowing Miami to extend their lead. Josh Hart and Jerami Grant must box out Jimmy Buckets in the halfcourt, and run hard when going the other way.
- Step Up on Threes: Max Strus and Kyle Lowry set the tone for the Heat from distance in their first matchup against the Blazers. Portland frequently transitioning from zone to man defenses created a sense of complacency in their formation, notably in their willingness to meet shooters past 23 feet. As a result, the two Heat sharpshooters got going, and their hot hands trickled down on the rest of the team. For Monday night’s matchup, Portland must contest Miami’s shooters from deep. Running them off the line completely is another option. Against their stout zone defense, Bam Adebayo’s playmaking ability from 15 feet in may be quelled.
- The Battle Inside: Immediately following October 26, Miami gained sole proprietorship over the league’s points in the paint allowed per game, allowing only 40.0 points a night in that category. Conversely, they won the inside game 52-40. Head coach Chauncey Billups will have to find a way to ingratiate more inside play into his offensive schematics. Bam Adebayo is one of the best defensive centers in basketball, so Jusuf Nurkic will have his hands tied. But, perhaps taking a page out of Michael Malone’s playbook and posting up Josh Hart and Jerami Grant on opposite blocks throughout the game will do well to diversify the offense and get both of those players new looks that they haven’t seen yet all season.
What Others are Saying
An article on Sportsbookwire.com gave some interesting insights from a betting perspective on tonight’s game:
Miami has won in four of the eight contests it has been named as the odds-on favorite in this year.
Miami has been named as a favorite of -282 or more just one time this season and left with a loss in that game.
Miami has an implied victory probability of 73.8% according to the moneyline set by sportsbooks for this matchup.
Portland has compiled a 5-3 record in games it was listed as the moneyline underdog (winning 62.5% of those games).