The two evenly-matched teams will be facing each other for the first time this season. Both sides are ranked sixth in their respective conference standings. The Portland Trail Blazers' season record stands at 25-18, while the Miami Heat are currently at 0.500 with a 22-22 record.
Fixture: Portland Trail Blazers vs Miami Heat | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Thursday, March 25th, 7:30 PM ET (Friday, March 26th; 5:00 AM IST)
Venue: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have done considerably well so far, despite being shorthanded on multiple occasions this season. Starter CJ McCollum recently made his return to action from a long-term injury, giving the team a much-needed boost ahead of a grueling schedule in the build-up to the postseason.
The Portland Trail Blazers head into this matchup on the back of two consecutive defeats. In their last game, they were beaten 112-116 against the Brooklyn Nets as Damian Lillard's 22-point effort went in vain. The Blazers started the game with 41 points in the first quarter but ran out of steam down the stretch as they were once again shorthanded and played with just nine players, including reserves.
Key Player - Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter has been a great addition to the Portland Trail Blazers roster this season. He initially started as a backup for Jusuf Nurkic, but a long-term injury to the Bosnian saw Kanter become a starter for his new team. He is averaging 12.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, shooting almost 60% from the field.
The veteran center will have to be at his absolute best when his team takes on the Miami Heat next as he will go up against Bam Adebayo inside the paint.
Adebayo has been a dominant force for the Heat this season and likes to attack the opposition rim. If Kanter can reduce the Miami Heat big man's threat, he will give the Portland Trail Blazers a great chance of winning this game.
Point Guard - Damian Lillard, Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum, Small Forward - Derrick Jones Jr., Power Forward - Robert Covington, Center - Enes Kanter
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat had started to look like a top-five Eastern Conference side once again, but a recent slump has now seen them suffer four defeats on the trot. The Heat are in desperate need of reliable shooters who can take some pressure off the likes of Butler and Adebayo.
Their role players haven't performed as well as they would have liked them to either and as a result, the Heat seem to be struggling as they did at the start of the season.
The Phoenix Suns handed the Miami Heat their latest defeat by beating them 110-100. Kendrick Nunn scored a team-high 25 points as Butler (14 points), Adebayo (16 points), and the rest of the Heat stars failed to deliver yet again. However, the Heat haven't lost much ground with regards to direct qualification for the playoffs and should look to improve to stay within the top six seeds.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler has been balling out for the Miami Heat this season. Apart from a rare off-night against the Suns in the last game, Butler has delivered on both ends of the floor for the Heat. He is averaging 21.3 points, 7.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game this season.
Butler will once again be expected to lead the charge against a gritty side like the Portland Trail Blazers and help the Miami Heat return to winning ways. He could be asked to guard the likes of Lillard and McCollum, and if he does manage to keep them quiet for large periods of the game, the Heat will fancy their chances of winning this tie.
Point Guard - Kendrick Nunn, Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson, Small Forward - Jimmy Butler, Power Forward - Kelly Olynyk, Center - Bam Adebayo
Blazers vs Heat Match Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers will likely win this matchup as they have more scoring options compared to the Miami Heat, who are on a poor run. Nevertheless, the matchup is an interesting one as both teams will be eager to win a game after enduring a string of recent defeats.
Where to watch Blazers vs Heat?
The game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Miami Heat will be televised nationally on TNT. Local coverage will be available on Fox Sports Sun and NBC Sports Northwest. You can also live stream the same on NBA League Pass.