The defending champions are mired in a struggle they have never experienced before during their tile runs the past couple of seasons. The Miami Heat looks to put it all behind when they face the dangerous Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
The Heat are 4-7 in their last 11 games but more alarming is the fact that the last three losses have come against the New Orleans Pelicans, 105-95; Boston Celtics, 101-96; and Denver Nuggets, 111-107—all three teams are currently out of the playoff picture and well on their way to the lottery.
Similarly, the Trail Blazers are suffering from a slump in recent games as well. Portland is also 4-7 in its last 11 games and the losses have come against Western rivals which they may face in the playoffs.
Defense and rebounding has been a problem for the Heat, which is dead last in the NBA in rebounding average (36.5 rebounds per game). They’ll be hosting a Blazers squad which is the No. 1 team off the glass at 46.3 RPG.
LeBron James had a good all-around performance of 25 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists but the Heat just couldn't contain Pelican center Anthony Davis who had 30 points and 11 boards. Mario Chalmers added 19 points (3/6 3FG) and 7 assists for Miami, which allowed the New Orleans to shoot over 51.1 per cent from the field.
Meanwhile, the Blazers are coming off one of the worst losses of their season—a 124-94 defeat at the hands the Charlotte Bobcats last Saturday.
Still missing the services LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland couldn't get the usual numbers from Nicolas Batum (6 points, 2/5 FG) and Robin Lopez (8 points and 5 rebounds). Damian Lillard had 20 points and 4 assists for Portland, which trailed by 25 points at halftime versus the Bobcats.
Watch the Trail Blazers-Heat match-up via NBA League Pass.