Three things to watch this week: Heat go West

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The Heat have four games this week starting tonight at home against the Celtics – the first of four games against Boston this season – before heading West for three games.

Hitting the road may not be so bad considering the Heat are 2-6 at home and 3-5 away from AmericanAirlines Arena.

Here are three things to watch:

    Back on the road: After facing Boston tonight Miami hits the road again for games at Denver, Utah and Portland, including its third back-to-back (Denver, Utah) of the season. Miami has not had much success at any of those stops going 12-17 in Denver, 9-21 in Utah and 11-17 in Portland. The Heat are adjusting their normal schedule of practicing at home on the day they travel and instead will fly early Tuesday and get in one practice (and a shoot around) in the high altitude of Denver before Wednesday’s game.

    The return of the injured players: The Heat hope to get back four players who have missed various amounts of time by the end of the week, including two starters. Forward Justise Winslow (wrist) has been sidelines seven games and point guard Goran Dragic (elbow) missed the last two. Winslow appears close and Dragic will test his elbow during today’s shoot around. Guard Wayne Ellington (thigh) has not played all season but is close and backup center Willie Reed (knee) participated in a full workout Saturday.

    First look at Damian Lillard: Portland’s dynamic point guard is one of the most underrated players in the league. Lillard is sixth in the league with a 28.2 average and he already has two games with at least 40 points, 42 in a victory at Dallas and 40 in a loss at Cleveland on Wednesday. Lillard has increased his assist total recently with 27 in his last three games. Lillard is averaging 20.1 points in eight career games against the Heat. Miami already has faced two of the top five scorers in the league. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points against the Heat, he is averaging 30.2, and Russell Westbrook had 24, below his 31.2 average.

[With Boston’s Al Horford up next, Heat’s Hassan Whiteside learning no two big men are alike]

[Heat guard Josh Richardson welcomes the big shot: ‘I’m mature enough to take it’]

[Heat guard Goran Dragic hoping to play Monday but still has not tested strained elbow]

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