NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, March 24th
(All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (45-25) at Miami Heat (47-21), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James said the Miami Heat must figure out a way
to halt their current funk and it starts with Monday's matchup at home versus
the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Heat have lost seven of their last 11 games and dropped a 105-95 decision
to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. Davis was too
much for the two-time defending champion Heat and finished with 30 points and
11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who shot 51 percent and forced 16 turnovers.
James had 18 points on 10-of-18 shooting, handed out nine assists and grabbed
eight rebounds in the loss.
"We make excuses. Everything is an excuse. We do something wrong it's an
excuse, we don't get a stop it's an excuse, we turn the ball over it's an
excuse," James said. "We gotta own what we're doing right now and what we're
doing right now ain't good enough."
James was immediately asked what it would take to turn it around.
"It's very frustrating, we're all frustrated," James continued. "We just gotta
all get on the same page; I don't know what we're gonna do, but we gotta
figure it out."
James said guys on the floor need to produce and it has nothing to do with
different lineups. James tweaked his ankle during a drive to the basket, but
it shouldn't keep him from playing Monday. He missed Wednesday's game at
Boston with a back issue.
Mario Chalmers scored 19 points in the loss to the Pelicans on the second
night of a back-to-back and Dwyane Wade rested his knees. Wade should be back
on the floor versus Portland.
The Heat are still three games behind Indiana for the East's top seed and have
a 27-6 record in South Beach this season. Miami, which is 10-3 at home versus
the West, will start a three-game road trip later this week against Central
Division foes Indiana, Detroit and Milwaukee.
Heat veteran sharp-shooter Ray Allen is two 3-pointers shy of 100 on the
season, which would mark his 17th season with at least 100 made 3-pointers --
the most in NBA history.
Portland will resume a five-game eastern swing Monday and opened the journey
with Saturday's 124-94 loss at Charlotte. The Bobcats scored a season high in
points and opened the game on a 17-4 run.
It was the Trail Blazers' worst loss of the season. Damian Lillard had 20
points, Dorell Wright scored 17 and Wesley Matthews ended with 15 in the
defeat for Portland.
"We have to do a better job, but overall, they just played a better game than
us," said Lillard, who has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games
and is averaging 24.0 ppg in that time.
The Blazers again played without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge because of
back ailment and he is out for Monday's game. Aldridge hasn't played since
March 12 and is averaging 23.4 points and 11.1 rebounds.
Portland, losers in six of nine games overall, is 1-5 in its last six road
games, 19-16 outside the Rose City and will also visit Orlando, Atlanta on
Chicago on the trip.
Miami defeated Portland, 108-107, on the road back on Dec. 28, as Chris Bosh
stepped up for an absent James with 37 points and the go-ahead 3-pointer in
the final seconds. James was bothered by a groin and ankle issue.
The Heat have won two straight and three of four games against Portland, which
is 4-1 in its last five trips to south Florida.
03/24 10:27:10 ET