The Portland Trail Blazers stayed within reach of the defending NBA Champions Miami Heat all night, and used two late Wesley Matthews three-pointers to steal the game in the final seconds
The Blazers were led by Nicolas Batum, with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge added a big 20 points and 15 boards. And Wesley Matthews' late heroics bolstered his total to 18 points. LeBron James' streak of games scoring 20+ points came to an end, as he finished with 15.
First Quarter: Well, the Blazers showed they could stay with the Heat early, opening a 4 point lead. Unfortunately, Miami scored the next 10 as the Blazers missed layups and turned it over. The Heat showed they were prepared, taking advantage of fast break opportunities and mismatches inside. However, Lillard said hello to the TNT cameras with 3 three-pointers in the quarter, keeping the Blazers within 3 points after one.
Mario Chalmers has to be the luckiest player in the NBA, right? Second round draft pick who happened to be one of the few people still planning when Miami cleared room for the Big Three, and remains the starter.
Second Quarter: Batum immediately tied the game with a three-pointer, but Miami returned the favor with a four-point play. As the Blazer bench came into the game, Ray Allen and Chris Bosh took advantage. The Blazers had no answer, and took a timeout down eight. Most of the starters were rushed back in, but it didn't help. Miami came prepared; they were properly positioned on the court, they knew which Blazers weaknesses to exploit, and they held their own on rebounding. The Heat led by 13 at the half.
It's really amazing seeing teams come in and execute a very specific plan of attack against the Blazers.
Third Quarter: The Blazers were hot early, but unfortunately the Heat were able to equal it. The Heat weren't able to pull away though, going through a dry streak of their own, letting the Blazers pull within 8 points. Matthews' reverse layup with a minute left cut the deficit to 6, and the Blazers stole the inbound pass, cutting it to 4 on a Batum layup. The lead was only 5 after three.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT IN THE 3RD QUARTER
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers kept it close at first, but the Heat turned up the pressure at the defensive end, and exploited the Blazers at the offensive end. When Mike Miller hit a three, the Heat were up 11, and the Blazers burned a timeout. From there, Portland and Miami played some standstill ball. The Heat couldn't pull away, but the Blazers struggled to get the lead below 8. In the first six minutes, Portland made one field goal; the rest of their points came from the free throw line. But out of a timeout, Batum nailed a 3 to close within five. Then a Matthews jumper cut it to three with 4:45 left. With 4 minutes left, Batum stole a Wade pass, racing to the other end. Wade fouled him as he scored, and the game was suddenly tied. The Heat took a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Blazers left Ray Allen open for three. Swish. Lillard couldn't do the same at the other end. With three minutes left, the Blazers got another shot. Aldridge missed, but Batum was fouled on the rebound. The lead was one again with two minutes left, until an open Bosh jumper gave the Heat a three point lead. An Aldridge free throw cut it to two again. The Blazers had a chance to tie. JJ Hickson took a questionably-advised shot, leading to a Heat fast break and a three point lead with one minute left. Portland gave the ball to Lillard, then Nic, who found an open Wesley, who swished a three to tie. However, LeBron found Bosh open for a dunk at the other end, to take a two point lead again. Wesley said "I CAN TOP THAT!" and nailed another three at the other end with 20 seconds left!
Allen got an open three at the other end though... and missed! Aldridge was fouled on the rebound and went to the line. He missed the first, but hit the second. With 10 seconds left, the Heat, leading the whole game, are now down by 2 but have the ball. They got the ball to Chalmers for three.... NO! The buzzer sounds and the Rose Garden celebrates with streamers!