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Heat Start 2nd Half Of Season Against Blazers

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(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat entered the All-Star break last week as arguably the hottest team in the NBA. The team will try to continue their winning ways starting Thursday during a three-game road trip.

First up for the Heat will be a matchup with the Portland Trailblazers. Portland lost at Denver Wednesday night by a score of 104-95 and hasn’t won consecutive games in more than a month. A loss could send Portland to its first .500 record since January 2011.

Heat All-Star forward LeBron James and guard Dwyane Wade have been keying the Heat’s most recent winning streak, but both had to deal with some controversy during the All-Star game.

LeBron was criticized for trying to pass the ball at the end of the game. His pass ended up a turnover and the East lost the game. LeBron almost single-handedly brought the East back, but all people were talking about was how he couldn’t get it done in the end.

Wade was criticized for a hard foul in the game against Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant. The foul left Bryant with a broken nose and had some NBA pundits saying it was too hard of a foul for an all-star game.

The Heat’s challenge became a little bit tougher Thursday afternoon when the team announced power forward Chris Bosh was not going to be with the team for the next two games due to personal reasons.

Miami split last season’s two-game series with the Trail Blazers (18-17), with each team winning in the other’s arena. James had 44 points and Wade 34 in a 107-100 overtime victory at the Rose Garden on Jan. 9, 2011.

James is averaging 39.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists over his last four trips to Portland, coming out on the winning side each time.

The Blazers have followed up each of their previous three losses with wins.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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