GAME PREVIEW: Heat host Joe Cronin’s banged up Portland Trail Blazers

After missing 14 straight games with a heel injury, Kevin Love is “expected” to return tonight.

Game story:

The Miami Heat are looking for a bounce back win following their 20 point blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors earlier in the week. Miami dropped to 39-33 on the season but after losses from the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers, the hopes to attain that sixth seed and avoid the play-in are still very much alive. The Heat are just 1.0 game behind the Pacers, and .5 in front of the eighth seed 76ers.

The opponent tonight will be none other than Joe Cronin and the poverty Portland Trail Blazers inside the Kaseya Center. The Blazers are arguably the most injury riddled roster in the entire league; set to play shorthanded tonight missing several key guys. They are 1-9 over their last 10 games and sport an abysmal 19-54 record, which is good for 14th place in the West.

The Blazers will be without all of Malcolm Brogdon, Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe and Robert Williams. Jerami Grant is also listed as doubtful.

It will be important for potential schemes and match ups based on the availability of Deandre Ayton. He is listed as questionable with an elbow injury. With the amount of core guys listed as out, Ayton’s presence will be critical if the Blazers want to pull off this upset.

Based on the Blazers record and injury report, this could be a matchup that sets the Heat up for a trap game. However, this game will be personal to take down Cronin’s squad, who was handed a loss one month ago back in Portland from the Heat.

Kevin Love was upgraded to probable and is “expected” to return tonight according to coach Erik Spoelstra. Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr are all listed as probable as well. Butler was initially listed as probable with an illness on Tuesday night but wound up being downgraded to out closer to tip-off, so be on the look out for any injury updates regarding the Miami roster before the start of tonight’s game.

Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):

Miami Heat:

  • Jaime Jaquez Jr (ankle) — PROBABLE
  • Caleb Martin (ankle) — PROBABLE
  • Kevin Love (heel) — PROBABLE
  • Jimmy Butler (illness) — PROBABLE
  • Duncan Robinson (back) — OUT
  • Tyler Herro (foot) — OUT
  • Josh Richardson (surgery) — OUT
  • Orlando Robinson (g league) — OUT
  • Cole Swider (g league) — OUT
  • Alondes Williams (g league) — OUT

Portland Trail Blazers:

  • Deandre Ayton (elbow) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Matisse Thybulle (ankle) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Ashton Hagans (g league) — QUESTIONABLE
  • Jerami Grant (hamstring) — DOUBTFUL
  • Malcolm Brogdon (elbow) — OUT
  • Robert Williams 3rd (knee) — OUT
  • Anfernee Simons (knee) — OUT
  • Shaedon Sharpe (abdominal) — OUT
  • Toumani Camara (rib) — OUT

Projected Starting 5 (subject to change):

Miami Heat:

  • Terry Rozier, G
  • Patty Mills, G
  • Jimmy Butler, F
  • Nikola Jovic, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C

Portland Trail Blazers:

  • Scoot Henderson, G
  • Rayan Rupert, G
  • Kris Murray, F
  • Toumani Camara, F
  • Deandre Ayton, C

Betting Lines:

  • Check the current odds out at FanDuel!

Broadcast Info:

  • Tipoff: 8:00 PM EST
  • TV: Bally Sports Sun (Eric Reid, John Crotty)
  • Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
  • Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)

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Go Heat. Lots can happen…like Celts losing to birdies twice in in a week and Heat just might fall in a trap game. Again. Hope not vs these blazers


The Blazers are on a 7-game losing streak, and starting 5 rookies for the first time in franchise history. They have 9 games left in the season, and need to win 2 more if they want to tie the record for worst Blazers season of the past 50 years.

If the Heat can’t win this game, I don’t think they can get out of the play-in


And, really, they would have nobody to blame but themselves. But, that’s not going to happen. I hope.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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