PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (25-26)
at MIAMI HEAT (34-14)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -11.5, Total: 199
The sizzling Heat try to cap off a perfect homestand on Tuesday night when the struggling Blazers pay them a visit.
Miami has won five straight games, including four in a row on its current homestand. The Heat are coming off back-to-back, double-digit wins over the two Los Angeles teams, beating the Clippers by 22 points on Friday and the Lakers by 10 on Sunday. Portland began its six-game road trip with a 2-point win at Minnesota, but has dropped three in a row (SU and ATS) since, falling to lowly Orlando 110-104 on Sunday. But despite the recent success of Miami, this team is just 3-7 (SU and ATS) in its past 10 meetings with Portland, including 2-2 (SU and ATS) since LeBron James joined the team. The Blazers have won and covered four straight trips to Miami, and they also eked out a 92-90 home win in their lone meeting this season on Jan. 10.
Can the Heat extend their win streak with another lopsided win? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of an epic run, going 14-1 ATS (93%) since Feb. 3, including 10 straight ATS wins since Feb. 6, improving his record to an impressive 58% ATS (84-62-1) for the season. The experts are a collective 30-18 ATS (63%) in the past seven days and are 46-30 ATS (61%) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is 5-3 ATS (63%) in the past seven days, while StatFox Dave is 14-10 ATS (58%) during the month. For NBA Totals, the experts are an outstanding 41-27-1 (60%) in the past 18 days with Gary at 16-7 (70%) and StatFox Brian going 13-9-1 (59%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 57% (74-56) in Totals, while Gary is a profitable 53% (67-60-4).
Portland scores a pedestrian 97.2 PPG (14th in NBA), but has scored at least 99 points in five straight contests, averaging 102.2 PPG on 49.3% FG and 37.8% threes. PF LaMarcus Aldridge (21.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG) has scored at least a dozen points in 15 straight games, averaging 22.9 PPG (53% FG) and 10.1 RPG during this stretch. He also took advantage of Miami's soft frontcourt in the Jan. 10 win with 20 points, 15 rebounds and a +15 rating. SG Wesley Matthews (15.1 PPG, 2.8 APG) also had a +15 rating that game thanks to 18 points and four rebounds, and his go-ahead three with 26 seconds remaining was the final field goal made that day. After a horrible shooting night in Houston on Friday (1-of-9 FG, 0-for-6 threes), Matthews posted 17 points and five rebounds in Sunday's loss at Orlando. SF Nicolas Batum (15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.9 APG) had a team-best 28 points against the Heat last month, while pitching in seven rebounds and five assists. He started this road trip cold in the first two games (6.5 PPG on 5-of-12 FG), but has cranked out 21.5 PPG on 13-of-24 FG (8-of-14 threes) in the past two contests. PG Damian Lillard (18.2 PPG, 6.6 APG) did not play well offensively against Miami with 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting, but that was nothing compared to his abysmal 1-for-16 FG (0-for-8 threes) in Sunday's defeat. That snapped a string of 13 straight games of scoring in double figures, as Lillard averaged 18.9 PPG and 6.2 APG during that stretch.
Miami scores a hefty 102.8 PPG this season, good for 5th in the NBA. The Heat are 22-3 SU at home this season with 107.0 PPG on 50.8% FG, including an 11-1 SU home mark versus Western Conference opponents. But Miami is the league's worst rebounding team with 38.9 RPG, due in big part to PF Chris Bosh (17.3 PPG), who has a career-low 7.2 RPG this season, and had just four boards in last month's loss in Portland. But he burned the Blazers for a game-high 29 points on 13-of-18 FG in that meeting. It's no secret that the player who will be touching the ball the most on Tuesday is LeBron James, who is in the midst of a historical stretch of offensive basketball. James is averaging 31.0 PPG on 71.4% FG and 9-of-15 threes (60%), with 6.8 RPG with 6.0 APG during the win streak. He became just the third player in NBA history with 30+ points on 60+% FG in five straight games. James actually scored a season-low 15 points (6-of-16 FG) last month in Portland, but nearly had a triple-double with 10 rebounds and nine assists in that game. SG Dwyane Wade was also off the mark in that meeting (6-for-18 FG), finishing with a game-worst minus-13 rating. That is quite rare for Wade in this series, as he's torched the Blazers for 26.5 PPG on 50% FG in 18 career meetings against them. However, Wade has scored at least 20 points in all of his team's five straight victories, averaging 24.8 PPG on 52% FG, plus 6.0 RPG, 5.8 APG and 3.0 SPG.