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Portland actually made LeBron look human the last time these two teams played. He has to start missing shots again at some point ... right?
In his last five games, LeBron James has averaged 31 points, seven rebounds and six assists on 72 percent shooting. Even for the high standard we've come to expect from the three-time MVP, this is ridiculous.
On Tuesday, Portland becomes the next team that will try to do the impossible: slow down LeBron and come out of South Beach with a win. Miami is 22-3 at home this season.
The Blazers do have some reason for confidence, however, as LeBron actually looked mortal the last time these two teams met. Portland won 92-90 as their stifling defense held the Miami star to a 6-16 shooting night, his least efficient game of the 2013-2013 season. In theory, they have the personnel to at least make LeBron work for his points: two standout perimeter defenders in Nic Batum and Wesley Matthews as well as an athletic big man to protect the paint in LaMarcus Aldridge.
Since that loss, LeBron has shot below 50 percent from the field in a game only once, while exceeding the 65 percent mark six times. He looks as comfortable as he ever has on the court, with the game coming incredibly easy to him on both sides of the floor.
Miami, meanwhile, has taken advantage of the unconscious play of their best player to re-establish control in the Eastern Conference. They are once again firmly in the No. 1 seed, 2.5 games ahead of the second-place Knicks.
Portland, on the other hand, has fallen back to earth since their victory over the Heat, going 5-11 and slipping to the No. 9 seed in the West. They are currently in the fifth game of a six-game road trip that has seen their defense implode, giving up over 105 points to the Mavericks, Rockets and Magic in their last three games.
Of particular concern has been the play of their bench, which becomes more important on a long road trip. Terry Stotts has had to stretch his five starters very thin, as none of the Blazers reserves have a PER over 13, while rookie center Meyers Leonard is the only one in double digits.
One of Erik Spoelstra's favorite coaching moves is having LeBron on the floor with the Miami second unit for extended stretches, so Portland will have to figure out some way to keep the game close when their stars aren't on the floor.
Blazer's Edge, SB Nation's Blazers blog, has a look at what Portland could do to upgrade their second unit before the trade deadline.
The Heat are 11.5 point favorites in a 7:30 p.m. ET game that will be televised nationally on NBATV.