Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers apparently can take the Heat

Jamie Hudson
NBC Sports Northwest

Sunday was a battle between two injury-riddled teams.

Portland was without Anfernee Simons (concussion) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) for Sunday's game and then lost Mario Hezonja to a left ankle sprain early in the second quarter. He did not return to action.

The Trail Blazers did, however, get starting center Hassan Whiteside back from a one game absence due to a left leg contusion. 

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As for the Heat, Miami was without Jimmy Butler (right shoulder strain), Tyler Herro (right ankle soreness), Meyers Leonard (left ankle sprain) and Kyle Alexander (right knee hyperextension & PCL sprain).

Portland started out the game shooting 6-of-8 from the field, but whenever it looked as though the Blazers were going to take command of the game, the Heat would charge back. Portland's biggest lead in the first half was 11 points. Yet at halftime, Portland held just a three-point lead. 

After such high-scoring first and third quarters for the Blazers, Portland had a tough time scoring in the final period, but were able to get just enough stops in crunch time.


Here are three quick takeaways from the win from our NBC Sports team at the game:

Mike Richman, Reporter

The Blazers did it with balance against the Heat on Sunday night. Six guys scored in double figures, and while Damian Lillard (31 points) was excellent but he didn't have to carry the entire load. Trevor Ariza (21 points) was hot early, Gary Trent Jr. (22 points) made some timely shots late and Hassan Whiteside owned the glass (16 rebounds). Blazers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are playing their best basketball of the season heading into the All-Star break.

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

Damian Lillard and Trevor Ariza had a strong two-man game going, especially early on, with Lillard finding Ariza cutting to the hoop on a number of occasions. Ariza was getting the job done on both ends all night. With Portland forced to go deep into its bench, the Blazers still shot the ball well and continued to get production from Gary Trent Jr. The Blazers ball movement was also on full display in the third quarter. Wing players on both teams found a lot of success from behind the arc, which really helped the Heat stay in the game with their timely threes.  

Chris Burkhardt, Producer

What more can be said about Gary Trent Jr.? He has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks, and had another huge impact on Sunday. The second year guard scored 22 points and was once again all over the place on defense. Trent is a self proclaimed "dog" on the court, and that's just the type of mentality the Blazers need if they hope to get back in the playoff race.

Up Next: The Trail Blazers will play in a road back-to-back starting with a game in New Orleans on Tuesday night. The Blazers and Pelicans will tip-off at 5:00pm.

Be sure to check back throughout the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Instant Analysis: Trail Blazers apparently can take the Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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