Whiteside takes his one-man show to Rip City
After a 2-8 start out of the gate, Miami has righted itself quite nicely. But will Erik Spoelstra’s crew be able to sustain that momentum in the Pacific Northwest?
The Heat visit Portland tonight, with a 10 p.m. ET tip at Moda Center. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the host club odds of -265 to emerge victorious. Miami, on the other hand, represents a +215 underdog.
With Dwayne Wade having moved on to Chicago, Hassan Whiteside now stands out as the go-to guy in South Beach. The 7-foot center ranks among the top 10 in the league in rebounds (15.1), blocked shots (2.56) and field-goal percentage (.559). He’s averaging 17.7 points in 2016-17, too.
Nonetheless, Whiteside’s offensive game still requires a fair amount of fine-tuning. That’s clearly not the case with Damian Lillard. The Trail Blazers’ leading scorer keyed a 131-109 triumph over Indiana on Wednesday, pulling Terry Stotts’ group back to the .500 mark. Portland also committed a season-low seven turnovers.
Of course, the boys from Rip City are far from infallible on the defensive end. They’ve surrendered 100-plus points in 13 straight contests. Yet the Heat’s penchant for slowing things down in the halfcourt should allow Lillard & Co. to focus on making markedly better rotations here.
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