Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers came out inspired, but Miami turned up the Heat and pulled away late for the win. Even in a loss, it was a good night to be a Blazer fan, the final score was not representative of how close this game was.
The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard (an awe-inspiring 33 points) and LaMarcus Aldridge (29 points). Wesley Matthews added 24 points and 7 rebounds. LeBron James broke the record book, again scoring 30 points while shooting better than 60% from the field.
First Quarter: Miami was everything as advertised coming out of the gate. LeBron James dominated, and the team looked like the defending NBA Champions. They came out shooting 85% for most of the first quarter. But funny thing, the Blazers wouldn't go away. Shooting above 50% themselves, they stayed within 3 as the quarter would down, led by a dominant stretch by Lillard. But Aldridge took over late, scoring 9 straight points to give the Blazers an unexpected 4 point lead
This feels like the last game, felt like they were killing us the whole game, then you look up and we’re only down four or six. Just need to keep it close and anything can happen
Heat are shooting 66% and have 2 turnovers and are losing. I am so confused.
Second Quarter: Aldridge quickly made it 13 straight points, pushing the Blazer lead to 8. The Heat used nailed two straight three pointers to cut the lead to 2. But scrappy Blazer defense combined with some nice offense paid off, as Portland scored 8 straight points to take a 10 point lead. Miami called timeout. The Blazers poured it on, pushing the lead to 14 when Luke Babbitt swished a 26 foot three-pointer. That's when the Heat's push began. The starters scored 7 straight points to cut the lead in half, forcing a Blazer timeout. It didn't hep, as Miami chipped away, helped by some poor Blazer play. They closed the quarter on a 15-2 run, leaving the Blazers clinging to a 1 point lead at halftime.
Up next: Antoine Walker talks about his amazing years with the Heat, Followed by Michael Doleac.
by Norsktroll (After repeated annoying Miami Heat interviews in the NBA TV broadcast)
Third Quarter: Fouls ahoy, as Miami quickly took the lead. The Miami run reached 31-6 since the 14 point Blazer lead, as they hit shots all over the court and shut down the Blazers on D. And it just got worse. Every good Blazer play somehow tipped into the hands of the Heat, who would hit a three or something similar. By the 6 minute mark, the Heat lead was 12. Portland wouldn't go away quietly, cutting the lead back to single digits. Lillard scored 7 straight points at the end of the quarter to cut the Miami lead to 4 after three.
If I were to rate Babbitt, C+ Shooter, D defender, C- rebounder A++++++++ pumpfaker
Fourth Quarter: Batum nailed a three to cut the lead to one immediately starting the fourth quarter. But three fouls in seven seconds (seriously) put them behind the 8-ball to start the quarter. Lillard cut the lead to 1, and Jared Jeffries tied it up with 10 minutes left. Lillard and Matthews combined to push the Blazer lead to 5. The Heat quickly tied it up, but Aldridge powered into the lane to regain the lead. The refs missed a LeBron goaltend (confirmed by replay) with 6 minutes left, and the Heat took the lead again. But Matthews nailed a three-pointer to give the Blazers the lead with 4:30 left.
The Heat can win without the refs.
However, the Heat pushed back. Ray Allen's three-pointer gave the Heat a four point lead, and then the bottom fell out. The Blazers couldn't buy a call, and within seconds the Miami lead was 9 after an Allen three-pointer. Soon, the lead was 13, as every Miami shot swished and the Blazers could not return the favor. After leading 102-101, the Blazers fell behind 117-104. It was a rough ending. Miami made up for the Portland loss, but the Blazers had no reason to hang their heads.
On a related note, wow is Miami a good team. They're the favorites to win it all. There can be discussions about the influence of the refs in this game, but Miami is simply impressive.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim