Will Damian Lillard Play Tonight? Portland Trail Blazers vs Miami Heat: Injury Updates, Lineup and Game Prediction

Published 03/25/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Mar 23, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles past Brooklyn Nets defenders during the second half at Moda Center. The Brooklyn Nets won the game 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports


The Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers have a lot in common as of now. First of all, both of them are evenly matched teams. While the Blazers are standing sixth in the Western Conference with a 25-18 record, the Miami Heat is fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 22-22 record.

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Lastly, the two teams have hit rough patches in their runs, and facing each other is an opportunity for them to get back to their winning ways. So which one of them will triumph over the other?

Portland Trail Blazers: Injury updates and lineup prediction

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The Portland Trail Blazers are heading into this battle with two defeats behind them. However, despite being riddled with injuries, the team has managed to maintain a spot for itself in the West and Damian Lillard is the one to thank.

They last played the dominant Brooklyn Nets and returned with a 112-116 defeat. Lillard did not have a very big night as he only put up 22 points for the Blazers. What was an energetic start turned into a disappointing end to their game.

CJ McCollum has just made his comeback after a long break because of injuries. He has given the Blazers some much-needed boost but is yet to return to his true form. But the surprising addition to their team has been Enes Kanter, who started off as Jusuf Nurkic’s backup, and has ended up becoming a vital starter for them.

Mar 23, 2021; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (11) grabs a rebound against Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin (2) during the second half at Moda Center. The Brooklyn Nets won the game 116-112. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Kanter will have to focus on containing Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo. As long as he does that, they are good to go. Zach Collins and Nurkic are still out, and Nassir Little and Anfernee Simmons are also questionable for this game because of COVID-19 protocols.

With that, the predicted lineup would be Enes Kanter, Robert Covington, Damian Lillard, Derrick Jones, and CJ McCollum.

Miami Heat: Injury updates and lineup prediction

The Miami Heat were looking like top contenders in the East until their recent four-game losing streak pulled them back. Their supporting cast is the one to blame since they have left everything on Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Their latest defeat was against the Phoenix Suns, with only Butler, Kendrick Nunn, and Bam showing up. Tyler Herro, Goran Dragic, and even Butler have missed plenty of games so far. If it wasn’t for Bam, the Heat wouldn’t have been in playoff reckoning.

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Mar 23, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) controls the ball around Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat will also be missing a considerable amount of people from their roster heading into this matchup. While Udonis Haslem and KZ Okpala are ruled out, Avery Bradley and Goran Dragic are probable for the game.

The predicted lineup would be Jimmy Butler, Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, and Duncan Robinson.

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Game predictions

With more people to take care of the offense, the Blazers are the clear favorites to win this game. But expect this to be an intense affair in which the Heat desperately try to bring themselves out of this rut.

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Yashima Bhatia

1487 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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