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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Miami Heat Gambling & NBA Handicapping Prediction

Trail Blazers vs Heat Odds

The Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat have been two of the best teams in the NBA throughout the 2013-14 season, but entering Monday’s faceoff, the two are struggling mightily with the playoffs around the corner. [ad-4468020]

Portland (45-21) @ Miami (47-21)
Monday, March 24 7:30 PM ET NBATV
Spread: Heat -7
Over/Under: 209

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Portland

Despite starting 24-5, the Portland Trail Blazers are just 21-20 since.

The team has lost six of its last nine (its only wins coming against the New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards), and while the hot start has made them a near-lock to make the postseason, fans are now wondering if the team will even manage a single series victory after once being a championship contender.

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Although Portland has played down to its competition as of late—the team is coming off of a brutal 124-94 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats—it has also played up to its competition all year.

The last time the Blazers played the Heat it was on the Moda Center floor and it took a last-second three-point shot from Chris Bosh to give Miami the 108-107 victory.

Both of these teams are struggling with injuries, and on Portland’s side, that means LaMarcus Aldridge.

The three-time All-Star has missed significant time following the All-Star break, and while his return will likely be sooner rather than later, there’s no indication (as of March 23 2:00 p.m. ET) that he will be in the lineup against the Heat.
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Miami

For Miami, Dwyane Wade missed the recent outing against New Orleans, and while LeBron James was in the lineup, he banged up his body even further by rolling an ankle when he already had a bad back.

The bigger storyline for Miami at this point in the season is overall consistency.

We’ve seen James play through injuries in the past, and we’ve seen the team succeed without Wade in the lineup, but what we’re seeing now is even more concerning, as the team has gone just 4-7 in its last 11—a stretch that hasn’t been acceptable since the pre-Big Three era.

In this one, Miami will look to attack the middle. Robin Lopez has been a saving grace for Portland this season, but it’s been apparent that he can’t handle the load on his own, as the Blazers’ perimeter defense hasn’t been enough to keep athletic swingmen (not unlike LeBron James) out of the paint.

The bigger key for Miami will be defending the perimeter.

If Portland gets going early, and more importantly keeps it going late, the Heat will be in trouble.

That said, if Miami can use its athleticism on the outside to force bad looks, Portland will be the one scrapping for offense against one of the best defensive teams in the Association.

Prediction: Miami 110 – Portland 98

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