Lillard, McCollum help Blazers hold off Magic, 95-88
Lillard, McCollum help Blazers hold off Magic, 95-88
Portland Trail Blazers at Miami HEAT Game Preview
17 December, 2017, 06:55
"Team wins when their best players play well" isn't a shocking development in a vacuum, but the lack of shot creation on the roster puts extra pressure on Lillard and McCollum to perform.
Shabazz Napier, who was teammates with Walker on Connecticut's NCAA Tournament-winning team in 2011, has seen spot duty in his previous games against him and the Hornets, totaling 18 points in seven games while shooting six of 21 and averaging less than 12 minutes. "But down the stretch I knew I would have to get aggressive".
"You nearly hate seeing him have a pedestrian box score stat line going into the fourth quarter", Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Lillard is an exceptional pick-and-roll point guard, and was as a Blazers rookie; it took a while longer for Kemba Walker to develop all the different skills.
"That was a game we needed to win coming off five losses in a row", McCollum said. His sixth 3-pointer with 7:34 to play in the half, sent the home crowd into a frenzy, and it looked as if Miami was going to cruise to another home victory. "They had seven guys in double figures and no one over 16 points". Dion Waiters added 17 points for the Heat, who were hurt by three missed free throws down the stretch.
F OFFENSE: They left far too many points unscored at the foul line, (10 misses) and missed some wide-open 3s in the fourth quarter. They missed eight shots that would have tied the game or given them the lead in the final four minutes. "We played about 43 minutes of Miami Heat basketball. We've got to finish better". Considering the Hornets were playing on the second night of a back-to-back and showed little ability to hit an outside shot in the first three quarters, it seemed that perhaps this might be the time the Trail Blazers could finally coast to a comfortable victory.
"CJ can go out there and have a huge game, I can go out there and have a huge game and (we can) go steal one from somebody", Lillard said. "We had to go get it". He hasn't exactly lit it up in his time with the Blazers. While they've experienced several highs, these opening 27 games have also brought upon several lows, another which manifested itself on Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Then they pulled off close wins in Brooklyn and Washington on a back-to-back Nov. 24-25 and recorded a double-digit win at New York Nov. 27.
Orlando held a 12-point lead early in the second quarter but was outscored 84-62 the rest of the way.
Miami's Kelly Olynyk had a slight edge in the matchup of former Gonzaga centers. In that span, he's averaged 20.5 points and 13.9 rebounds in those 19 games, shooting 63.0 percent and blocking 1.9 shots per contest. The Trail Blazers should have the advantage on that end of the court. F/C Leonard (illness) also sat out.
Heat: Winslow said he didn't think his injury was serious. The difference is the Hornets are at home both nights, while the Blazers played in Orlando, then flew to Charlotte. Miami beat the Hornets earlier this week.
Orlando Magic forward Wesley Iwundu will return to the bench on Friday night versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
More than 180 million packages are expected to be delivered during the busiest week - roughly 26 million packages each day. The Postal Service predicts that Monday, Dec. 18, will be the busiest mailing and shipping day of the year.
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