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PORTLAND, Ore. (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Portland Trail Blazers are closing in on the injury ravaged Memphis Grizzlies for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

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Portland stands one game behind the Grizzlies and can apply more pressure on Memphis with a victory over the visiting Miami Heat on Saturday.

The Trail Blazers have won the first three games of a four-game homestand and have been victorious in five of their last seven overall games.

Passing the Grizzlies would give Portland a first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers rather than the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Miami is part of a three-way virtual tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks while the Boston Celtics lurk a half-game behind.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade (back and neck soreness) is expected to miss his second straight game after he averaged 28 points on 26-of-40 shooting over the previous two games.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), CSN Northwest (Portland)

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ABOUT THE HEAT (44-31): Gerald Green stepped into the starting lineup with Wade sidelined and scored a season-best 30 points and tied his season high of five 3-pointers as Miami posted a 112-106 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Green has experienced a disappointing campaign in which he shot 33.3 percent from the field in March and 31.8 percent in February. “The last two months, the media has been killing me,” Green said after his stellar showing. “I’m just motivated. I haven’t really been playing that well, but it was good to see some shots go in – but even better for us to win.”

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (40-36): Standout guards Damian Lillard (14 points on 3-of-16 shooting) and C.J. McCollum (17) both had substandard nights in the same game in Thursday’s 116-109 victory over the Boston Celtics and an unlikely hero emerged. Forward Al-Farouq Aminu poured in a career-best 28 points and made a career-high six 3-pointers in a stunning offensive performance. “It was good to see him have a breakout game,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts told reporters. “To be honest, I was surprised, he’s been in the league as long as he has and 20 was his career high. He had a good rhythm shooting the three, made some great defensive plays during the stretch that we needed them.”


1. The Heat have won six of the past eight meetings, including a 116-109 home victory on Dec. 20.

2. Miami C Hassan Whiteside collected 13 rebounds on Friday and has been in double digits in 19 of the last 21 games.

3. Lillard has been held to fewer than 20 points in four consecutive games and is 17-of-61 shooting during the stretch.

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