The Miami Heat will look to close out their road trip tonight in Portland against Damian Lillard and the Trailblazers. Miami, coming off a win in Sacramento, are looking to solidify the third seed in the playoffs with a win. Portland has won three straight and has been on a scoring tear as of late. Damian Lillard, since getting snubbed as an all-star, has put up some monster numbers recently including a couple of 50-point games.
Here are the 3 keys for a Miami victory.
- Clean the glass: Portland is one of the best all-around rebounding teams in the NBA, so the Heat will have to rebound as a unit and not allow them to get second shots and multiple possessions.
- Make Lillard and McCollum passers/drivers: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum make up one of the best backcourts in the league, and they do it a lot from the 3-point line. Miami will have to force them to drive and/or make a play with passing. If they can keep those two in check, then their chances of winning greatly increase.
- Whiteside dominance: Hassan Whiteside needs to own Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, and Noah Vonleh. He can easily put up 20 and 20 if he wants to. None of them have the strength or power to keep him out of the paint. Miami needs to get him the ball and he needs to be aggressive on the glass.
This is a game that the Heat can win, but they will have to play like they did in the first half against Sacramento in their last game. They cannot let this Portland team get going.