Miami Heat – Portland TrailBlazers Preview (December 28, 2013)
The short-handed Miami Heat couldn’t keep a lengthy streak going in the latest stop on their Western road trip.
They might have an even more difficult time getting back into the win column for a couple of reasons.
After an overtime loss to lowly Sacramento, Miami might not have LeBron James against one of the best teams in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers, on Saturday night.
The Heat (22-7) had won six in a row before a 108-103 defeat to Sacramento, the last-place team in the Pacific Division, on Friday night.
Miami, which failed to capitalize on an early 17-point lead, played without Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen.
James had 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Heat but also strained his right groin as their 19-game win streak against Western Conference opponents also ended.
“It ain’t feeling too good right now,” James said.
It’s unclear if the Heat star will sit out Saturday. James is averaging 30.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists in his last 18 games against the Blazers.
He’s also averaging 34.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists in his past six visits to Portland, but was held to 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting (37.5 percent) in the loss in January.
Allen (knee) and Andersen (back) could also be on the bench again, but Wade could return.
Wade has rested at least once in most of Miami’s sets back-to-back games this season because of his troublesome knees.
The Heat will likely need all the help they can get against a Portland team trying to recapture sole possession of the league’s best record and the Northwest Division lead from Oklahoma City.