Shorthanded Heat look to trip up Trail Blazers

The Miami Heat will be without standout guard Victor Oladipo on Sunday night when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers.

Oladipo, acquired from the Houston Rockets on March 25, was injured in Miami’s 110-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night. Oladipo went up for a dunk but came down grabbing his right knee in the fourth quarter.

Oladipo, who scored 18 points against the Lakers, did not make the trip to Portland.

Jimmy Butler, who leads the Heat in average points (21.6), assists (7.2) and steals (2.0), hopes Oladipo is able to return this season.

“We definitely need that guy,” Butler said of Oladipo. “We want him back. Playing the way he played (Thursday), making shots, getting to the line and getting everyone involved. … We all want that guy to be OK.”

Miami has another injury concern with respect to guard Tyler Herro, who is questionable due to a sore right foot.

Butler had 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists against the Lakers.

Bam Adebayo, Miami’s second-leading scorer (19.1) and leading rebounder (9.5), had a rare off game against the Lakers. He had 13 points and seven rebounds. For perspective, that’s both his lowest-scoring and lowest-rebound performance since March 2.

Miami, which is 12-12 on the road this season, lost 125-122 to Portland on March 25 in the only meeting between the teams this season.

In that game, Portland’s Damian Lillard made three free throws with one second left after getting fouled by Trevor Ariza.

“He’s our closer,” Blazers guard CJ McCollum said of Lillard.

Portland snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday night with a 118-103 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Lillard had game highs in points (27) and assists (10) against Detroit. McCollum added 26 points and Portland center Enes Kanter had a monster game with 24 points and a franchise-record 30 rebounds.

Lillard ranks third in the NBA in scoring (29 points per game). He also averages 7.6 free throws per game, well above his career average of 6.2.

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While Lillard receives plenty of whistles, he picked up a technical foul for arguing a non-call in Thursday’s 122-103 loss to the Utah Jazz.

“It just doesn’t make sense that I could be attacking teams the way I’m attacking, and I just don’t get the whistle,” Lillard said. “It’s frustrating.”

The Trail Blazers are receiving averages of 23.7 points from McCollum and 12.2 points and 12 rebounds from Kanter.

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said Portland starting center Jusuf Nurkic will play against Miami. Nurkic was rested on Saturday due to knee swelling that kept him out of Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

–Field Level Media

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