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- Miami’s health is a major question for tonight’s showdown with Portland. LeBron James (groin) and Chris Andersen (back) are out. Dwyane Wade, who sat out Friday’s loss at Sacramento to rest his knees, will play. Ray Allen (knee) is a game-time decision.
- In his pre-game meeting with the media, Portland coach Terry Stotts suggested it didn’t matter all that much if James isn’t available. “We’re preparing (as if) he will play,” Stotts said. “If he doesn’t play, it doesn’t change (the Heat’s) style. They have a lot of capable players. Wade can still win games for them. They have a lot of 3-point shooters, a lot of guys who can step up and win games for them.”
- The Heat’s loss at Sacramento — they led by 17 points in the first quarter, then fell 108-103 in overtime — left them glad for the challenge of playing the team with the league’s best record tonight. “That’s the beauty of the NBA,” Spoelstra said. “You have such a bad taste in your mouth after a game like that. It was tough for all of us to sleep. All you want to do is get back out there and compete again.”
- It’s a meeting between two of the NBA’s premier offensive teams. Portland ranks first in scoring and free-throw percentage and second in 3-point percentage. Miami is first in field-goal percentage, sixth in scoring and ninth in 3-point percentage. “In many ways it’s like looking in the mirror in terms of how (the Blazers) can beat you in so many different ways,” Spoelstra said. “They can beat you with (LaMarcus) Aldridge in the post and on pick-and-flares. They have great 3-point shooting, great ball movement. (Damian) Lillard is a handful in any one of his pick-and-rolls. He has the whole package. They’re off to a great start, and it’s not an anomaly. We know we have to play well to beat them.”
- Stotts said his No. 1 concern is at the defensive end. Portland ranks 16th in opponents’ field-goal percentage and 24th in opponents’ scoring. “The defensive end needs to be more consistent for us,” he said. “We’re a very good defensive team in the fourth quarter of tight games, but we need to do better throughout the game. We need to limit easy baskets in transitions and with put-backs and contain penetration.”
– Kerry Eggers