NBA Basketball: Portland Trailblazers at Miami Heat - Heat Favored

Team Page: Portland :: Miami

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Dwyane Wade is dominating, Shaquille O'Neal is healing and the surging Miami Heat can head into the All-Star break with their first .500 record since November.

Wade and O'Neal look to lead Miami (25-26) to its seventh win in nine games when it hosts the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Oddsmakers have made Miami -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 186 total points

(View NBA Sports Books).

Wade scored 18 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter Sunday and the Heat held San Antonio without a field goal for more than 7 minutes down the stretch en route to a 100-85 win.

The Heat have not been at .500 since they were 3-3 on Nov. 12. A slew of injuries, including several to Wade and knee surgery for O'Neal, has hampered the defending NBA champions throughout the season.

"We're just trying to continue to get better," Wade said. "If anyone knows basketball, they understand that we're not going anywhere, that we've been having a lot of injuries. But we're getting it back. That's our whole focus, to keep going this way."

Wade, among the league leaders with 28.7 points per game, has been superb over the last seven games with 30.1 points and 8.1 assists per contest.

Miami struggles badly without Wade, as it is 1-6 in games he's missed. A sprained right ankle, sprained right wrist and the removal of wisdom teeth have sidelined him on three occasions.

O'Neal, however, has been working his way slowly back into the lineup to take pressure off the All-Star guard.

O'Neal had 16 points in 25 minutes Sunday before resting the final 15:44 as he continues his recovery from November knee surgery. The center is averaging 16.2 points and 5.3 rebounds over the last six games since sitting out two contests with an injured calf.

The duo has helped pull the Heat into eighth place in the Eastern Conference and third in the Southeast Division, four games behind first-place Washington.

The only thing that might slow down the Heat at this point is the All-Star break. Following Tuesday's game, the don't play again until Feb. 21 at Houston.

Miami hopes Wade can continue dominating Portland as the Heat go for their fifth straight win in the series.

Wade is averaging 27.0 points in the four consecutive victories over the Trail Blazers, including a 33-point performance in the last meeting, a 93-90 win Jan. 7.

The Blazers (22-30) seek to end that skid and win three in a row for the first time since a season-high five-game winning streak from Dec. 10-20.

Portland pulled off a surprising 94-73 rout of Washington on Sunday, as Jarrett Jack and LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 points apiece. The Blazers held Wizards star Gilbert Arenas, who's averaging 29.4 points, to nine on 3-for-15 shooting from the field.

"Other than the (20) turnovers, they probably executed the game plan better than we've seen them this season," Portland coach Nate McMillan said of his players.

McMillan hopes his club can have similar defensive success against Wade. That could mean the Heat star will get a matchup with Jack, who guarded Arenas for most of Sunday's contest.

Jack has totaled 38 points and 14 assists in the last two games, and is averaging 12.5 points and 5.6 assists in his first season as a starter.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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