Two teams headed for the playoffs meet Sunday night as the Portland Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat. The Blazers are 6th in the Western Conference at 31-21 and are bearing down on the 5th place Lakers. The Heat have climbed back over .500 to 27-25, which puts them 6th in the Eastern Conference. The Blazers beat the Heat in Miami 125-122 just a few weeks ago on March 25th. Portland is a 1.5 point favorite. Can they do it again, this time at home?
Heat defeat LakersThe Miami Heat have all kinds of moving parts these days. They made some deals at the trade deadline, theyu have had players out due to injury and COVID-19, and they just added a new player, Dewayne Dedmon in the buyout market. But their trade pickup, Victor Oladipo. is now out with a knee injury and it's not clear if Dedmon will be ready to go on Sunday. Also, Kendrick Nunn is out.
Victor Oladipo is not traveling with the Heat on this trip. Further evaluation on the knee coming.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) April 9, 2021
Yet, the Heat have been playing well, winning 5 of their last 6 games to improve to 27-25 on the season. They are 6th in the Eastern Conference, just a half game behind Atlanta and one game behind Charlotte. They are coming off a 110-104 win over the Lakers on Thursday. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 28 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Oladipo had a nice game with 18 points until he got injured while Tyler Herro added 15 points off the bench with 4 three pointers. Bam Adebayo added 13 points and 7 boards.
Kanter leads BlazersThe Blazers are coming off a really tough stretch where they lost to the Bucks, Clippers, and Jazz -- the latter two on the road. These are three of the best teams in the NBA. They got back to winning Saturday night, beating the Pistons 118-103 to improve to 31-21.
Enes Kantor had a ridiculous game with 24 points and 30 rebounds -- yes, 30 rebounds! Damian Lillard had 27 points and 10 assists while CJ McCollum had 26 points. Carmelo Anthony and Nassir Little each added 11 points off the bench.
Stats & Trends
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Heat are 22-29-1 ATS.
- Trail Blazers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
- Trail Blazers are 15-10 at home straight up.
As mentioned, this has been a brutal stretch for the Blazers but now they are back home. They played the Pistons Saturday night and while this is the second night of a back to back, but it didn't take too much heavy lifting, plus they are home, which makes it easier. The Blazers are now relatively healthy with Jusuf Nurkic back in the lineup and the addition of Norman Powell at the trade deadline brings them some additional offensive scoring punch. The Heat have been wildly inconsistent this season and they are due for a comedown after playing well in recent weeks. It has been their pattern. They have been bad against the spread in recent weeks, too, going 4-6 ATS in their last 10. Portland, one of the highest scoring teams in the NBA, will take care of business here against Miami at home. Take the Blazers to cover.