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PORTLAND, Ore. (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Portland Trail Blazers need to outscore teams to win games, and top scorer Damian Lillard is trying to shoot his team into a winning homestand.

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Lillard will try to score 27 or more points for the fifth straight game when the Trail Blazers close out a four-game homestand by hosting the Miami Heat on Saturday.

Lillard’s 564 points are the most in franchise history through the first 20 games of the season, and he piled up 28 point points on 11-of-18 shooting to go with 10 assists in a 131-109 win over Indiana on Wednesday that elevated Portland to 2-1 on the homestand.

The Trail Blazers embark on a brutal stretch of eight of nine games on the road after Saturday, beginning with a visit to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

The Heat took the first two stops on their three-game road trip in the thin air, knocking off Denver 106-98 on Wednesday before outlasting Utah 111-110 the following night.

Injury-plagued Miami was able to survive the back-to-back thanks for the stellar play of the bench, which totaled 55 points in the win over the Jazz.

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

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ABOUT THE HEAT (7-12): Forwards Derrick Williams (back spasms) and Justise Winslow (wrist) and guards Josh Richardson (ankle) and Dion Waiters (groin) all sat out on Thursday, but James Johnson and Wayne Ellington picked up the slack. Johnson scored a season-high 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting while Ellington added 17 points on 6-of-9 from the field. “Literally tonight, guys were playing as hard as they could, raising their hand, and we had to shuffle and get guys in and out,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “And that’s the most we’ve ever had to do it because of fatigue, regardless of lineup.”

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (10-10): Portland surrendered at least 130 points in each of its last two losses but came away from Wednesday’s triumph feeling much better about the defense. “We’ve got to use an effort like (Wednesday) where we were consistent, we were locked in, we played well on both ends, and we’ve got to build on it,” Lillard told reporters. “It’s not easy to do but we’ve got to find a way to get it done and put one game together. Then two games together, then three games and eventually it becomes who you are and what you do.” Lillard is getting some help on the offensive end from small forward Maurice Harkless, who is averaging 20 points in the last three games.


1. Trail Blazers C Mason Plumlee is averaging 14.5 points on 27-of-43 shooting in the last four games.

2. Miami F Luke Babbitt (hip) left Thursday’s game in the first quarter and did not return.

3. The teams split two meetings last season, with Portland earning a 110-93 home win on April 2.

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