NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, March 1st (All times eastern)
Miami Heat (27-7) at Portland Trail Blazers (18-17), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat will be searching for their ninth straight win tonight when they start a three-game road trip in Rip City against the Trail Blazers.
The Heat entered the All-Star break on a tear, winning eight consecutive contests including last Thursday's thrashing of the New York Knicks, 102-88, on the shores of Biscayne Bay.
It was a long night for the NBA's newest sensation, Jeremy Lin, as Miami's All-Star trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh helped the Heat earn the victory.
Bosh led Miami with 25 points, James filled the stat sheet with 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals and two blocks while Wade registered 22 points to go with five boards and five assists.
During its winning streak, Miami has won all eight contests by at least 12 points, outscoring its foes by an average of 16.5 ppg.
Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole did a stellar job of persistently flustering Lin, and Miami continually frustrated him with its trapping defense.
"We wanted to treat [Lin] with the adequate respect he deserves," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's played at an extremely high level. ... He is a very good player."
Lin was just 1-of-11 from the floor and turned the ball over eight times. He had eight points and three assists for New York.
James and Wade also played very well during the All-Star Game over the weekend but were both heavily criticized nonetheless.
James scored an East-high 36 points and Wade became just the third player to post an All-Star game triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
However, LeBron passed up a potential game-tying shot and committed a huge turnover in the waning seconds helping secure things for the West, while Wade broke Kobe Bryant's nose and gave the superstar a concussion in the process with a hard foul.
Spoelstra attempted to brush off any controversy.
"It's an All-Star game. I mean, come on," the coach said. "It's a continuation of the theater of the absurd. I don't even know if it's going to motivate me to actually even look at it. I haven't seen it."
Miami, which is a solid 12-5 on the road, will also visit Utah and the LA Lakers on its short trek.
The Blazers, who are kicking off a three-game homestand tonight, returned from the break in losing fashion on Wednesday, suffering a 104-95 setback to the Nuggets in the Rockies.
Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 21 points in that one and All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points to go with nine rebounds for Portland, which lost for the third time in five games and fell to just 5-12 as the visitor.
"We just got outworked," said Portland head coach Nate McMillan. Right from the start, they outworked us, pounded us on the boards, pounded us in the paint."
The Blazers, who will also face Minnesota and New Orleans on their residency, are 13-5 in Rip City.
These two teams split the home-and-home season a year ago with each winning on the other's home floor.
03/01 10:37:49 ET