Blazers beat slumping Heat
PORTLAND, Ore.—The upstart Portland Trail Blazers would not allow the Miami Heat to pull out of its funk.
Wesley Matthews hit a three-pointer to put Portland in front with 26.9 seconds left and the Blazers hung on to beat Miami 92-90 last night for their fourth-straight win and ninth-straight at the Rose Garden.
“Our confidence is extremely high,” Matthews said. “Playing hard, playing well, we’re having fun out there. So that’s a great combination.”
The Heat, meanwhile, have lost two-straight and five of eight, yet the defending NBA champions still are 23-11 and lead the Eastern Conference by a half-game over New York.
LeBron James had 15 points, snapping his 54-game streak with at least 20 points that dated back to last season.
It was his lowest point total in the last 76 regular-season and playoff contests.
Miami led by as many as 13 points, including a 52-39 advantage at the half, but Nicolas Batum hit a lay-up and a free throw with 4:03 left that pulled Portland into a tie at 82-all.
The Blazers couldn’t go ahead and Bosh made a three to make it 87-84 with 1:53 left.
Matthews made a three-pointer to tie it at 88 with just under a minute to go. Then after Chris Bosh dunked, Matthews hit another three to finally give the Blazers a 91-90 lead.
LaMarcus Aldridge missed the first of two free throws with 10.4 seconds left for the final margin.
Mario Chalmers then missed a three-pointer for the Heat as time ran out.
Batum led the Blazers with 28 points while Aldridge had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Matthews finished with 18 points.
“It felt great,” Matthews said about his go-ahead three. “It looked better.”
Bosh had 29 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Heat, who were coming off an 87-77 loss to the Pacers on Tuesday night.
Dwyane Wade had 18 points.
“You can beat yourself up because you want it so bad, but there are the kind of games where you say, ‘Listen, a team beat us when we played our game,’ so you pat them on the back and say, ‘Good job,’” Wade reasoned.
Portland was coming off a 125-119 win in overtime over Orlando at the Rose Garden on Monday night.
“It’s an understatement to say it’s great to beat Miami. They’re a great team, defending champs,” said Blazers’ coach Terry Stotts.
“I gotta hand it to our guys for sticking with it,” he added. “You keep competitive, playing through and finding a way to win games.
“That’s kind of what we did tonight and kind of what we’ve been doing most of the season.”
Lillard, the reigning repeat NBA Rookie of the Month, had 10 points and eight assists, and became the first NBA player to make at least 75 three-pointers in his first 35 career games since Allen Iverson in 1996-97.
The Heat were without Shane Battier, who has a sore right hamstring. The move was proactive, coach Eric Spoelstra said before the game.
“It was never a strain, it’s just very sore,” he noted. “But those things can be tricky.”
It was the second of a six-game road trip for the Heat, who fell to 7-8 away from home this season.
Elsewhere in the NBA, Indiana beat New York 81-76 and Dallas topped Sacramento 117-112 (OT).