Surging Trail Blazers host spluttering Heat

10 January 2013 13:05:49 EST

The Portland Trail Blazers will aim for their fourth consecutive victory on Thursday when the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat play their second game of a road trip at the Rose Garden.

Miami, despite leading the Eastern Conference over the New York Knicks, has struggled of late winning just three of seven outings and falling to the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. The latter on Tuesday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis saw Dwyane Wade lead all scorers with 30 points for the Heat, but Miami was out rebounded 55-36 and that decisive advantage was ultimately the difference even though the Pacers hit just 36% from the field. David West and Paul George led the way for the hosts with double doubles and Roy Hibbert pulled down 14 boards in an impressive display.

Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers are eighth in the Western Conference and appear to be in a battle with the Houston Rockets. Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers for the final three places in the post-season seedings. The Nuggets and Jazz both picked up victories on Wednesday against the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Bobcats respectively while the short handed Timberwolves and Lakers were beaten in their match ups with the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. LA in particular without Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard and Jordan Hill is in a complete free fall losing their fifth in a row and now head home to host the Thunder at the Staples Center on Friday.

The Heat are 3/4 to win the NBA Championship while Oklahoma Thunder are 7500/1 and the LA Clippers are 7500/1.

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