Before the Portland Trail Blazers’ season began, early home games against Phoenix, Denver, Miami and Memphis appeared daunting.
Four games into the season, the Blazers (4-0) have defeated both the Suns and the Nuggets with the Heat set to visit Moda Center on Wednesday sitting at 1-3.
That’s not to say that Miami, who last season lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference finals, doesn’t remain formidable. They still feature Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. Plus, Tyler Herro is off to a hot start, averaging 21 points per game.
But so far, this isn’t the same Miami team that finished last season with the best record in the East (53-29). The Heat will enter Wednesday’s contest ranked 27th in offensive rating (107.6). That’s down dramatically from last season when they ranked 10th (114.8). The Heat’s defensive rating has dipped from fifth last season to 18th but that’s only meant a relatively slight statistical bump from 110.2 last season to to 112.7 this season.
The main problem has been the offense with Adebayo experiencing the largest drop off in production. He is averaging 13.5 points per game on 45.7% shooting compared to last season when he averaged 19.2 on 55.7% shooting, which is also his career average.
But he isn’t the only Miami player struggling on offense, which is why the team is averaging just 103.5 points per game compared to 117.3 for the Blazers.
The Blazers’ defense has looked strong against offensive powerhouses, Phoenix and Denver. Miami should present less of a challenge unless the Heat rediscover their offensive punch from last season.
BLAZERS RELATED LINKS
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- Bill Oram: Damian Lillard has never been to the Oregon coast? Meet the Trail Blazer-turned-innkeeper who can show him around
- Trail Blazers ride Anfernee Simons’ hot hand to victory: ‘He was just raising up over dudes and making shots’
- Anfernee Simons scores 22 in 3rd, leads Trail Blazers to 135-110 win over Nuggets: At the buzzer
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS VS. MIAMI HEAT
What: Trail Blazers (4-0) vs. Heat (1-3), 7 p.m., Wednesday.
Where: Moda Center.
Radio: Rip City Radio (KPOJ 620 AM).
TV channel: Root Sports Plus (in Portland: Comcast 1253, DirecTV 687-1).
Watch the game live online: You can watch this game live for FREE with fuboTV (free trial). You can also get this game on DirecTV Stream’s “CHOICE” package (promotional offers), if you are out of fuboTV trials, or simply prefer that platform and their pricing plans. If you already have a cable or satellite provider that carries Root Sports and want to watch online, you can watch this game live on Root Sports Live.
ODDS (Oregon Lottery/DraftKings)
Moneyline: POR -120 | MIA +100
Spread: POR -1.5 | Over/Under: 221.5
Blazers: F Justise Winslow (right ankle sprain) is questionable; G Gary Payton II (core muscle recovery), C Olivier Sarr (right wrist sprain) and Trendon Watford (right hip flexor strain) are out.
Heat: G Victor Oladipo (knee) and C Omer Yurtseven (ankle) are out.
The Blazers host the Houston Rockets at 7 p.m., Friday at the Moda Center.
— Aaron Fentress | afentress@Oregonian.com | @AaronJFentress (Twitter), @AaronJFentress (Instagram), @AaronFentress (Facebook). Subscribe to Oregonian/OregonLive newsletters and podcasts