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Final: Heat Singe the Blazers, 108-107

The Portland Trail Blazers and the LeBron James-less Miami Heat played a close game Saturday night, with neither team able to gain a double-digit lead.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers were led by Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland.

Box Score

First Quarter: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh made their presence known early, and the Heat hit all their shots to jump ahead 11-3 in two minutes. Portland closed the gap, but couldn't stop the Heat from hitting shot after shot. However, the Blazers returned the favor, hitting from all over the court and tying the game on an Aldridge jumper. The quarter ended with a classic Blazer 2-for-1, with a quick Lillard three-pointer, followed by Joel Freeland stopping Wade, leading to a Lillard-to-Lopez layup for 5 points in 20 seconds in front of a roaring crowd.

Portland 34, Miami 30

Right after an article about injuries, Joel gets injured...
by pdxthomastran on Dec 28, 2013 | 7:35 PM

If Freeland is seriously injured, I blame you Sam. You shouldn't have wrote that article.
by Blazing Chargers on Dec 28, 2013 | 7:35 PM

Second Quarter: Meyers Leonard scored twice to help quickly push the Blazers ahead by 9, forcing a Heat timeout. Portland maintained the lead through half the quarter, but Miami closed to within 5 with five minutes left. With three minutes left, the Blazers had cooled down and Norris Cole hit a three-pointer to pull the Heat within two. As the quarter wound down, Bosh's free throws made it a one point game, but he committed a dead-ball foul followed by a technical, keeping Portland ahead at the half.

Portland 62, Miami 58

It's only one game so I'm not putting too much stock in it, but Meyers Leonard is making me eat crow about his potential right now.
If he can keep up his agresssiveness on the glass and marginally improve his defense then he’ll be awesome. The offense is there, and especially the offensive awareness is there. That outlet pass was awesome, I wish our bigs did that more often.
by gtbassett

Third Quarter: Miami changed their defense, focusing on slowing down the Blazers on the perimeter. It was effective, as it took the Blazers out of their offensive groove. Rashard Lewis' three-pointer gave Miami the lead. The Heat packed the paint to prevent offensive rebounds, and as the Blazers went cold, the Heat took control. Blazers Coach Terry Stotts callled timeout, made adjustments, and reminded the Blazers about playing defense. And it worked, as Portland grabbed control and a 6 point lead with two minutes left. Norris Cole helped keep Miami close.

Portland 88, Miami 83

Fourth Quarter: The Blazer bench worked to maintain the lead against the Miami starters, giving the starters some handy rest. And in one of the ugliest stretches of basketball you'll ever see, Miami missed a bucketful of open jumpers (and didn't notice a few open lanes to the hoop) while Portland gave them free turnovers and, at one point, a Leonard fadeaway three-pointer with 4 seconds on the shot clock. Stotts finally called timeout to let the fans recover. .Out of the timeout, Leonard promptly traveled and committed a goaltend on Wade.

A rough set of calls for Lopez kept the Heat within 3 with 6 minutes left in the quarter, and they cut it to one with another Blazer turnover, then tied it on a Bosh three-pointer. They stayed tied with three minutes left, until Bosh hit his second three-pointer to take the lead with 2 minutes left. Portland cut it to one, but gave up two offensive rebounds to the Heat for an eventual tip-in. The Blazers stopped the Heat finally, and had the ball down one with 30 seconds left. Batum shot a three and missed... but was clearly fouled by Wade! Nic hit all three free throws to give the Blazer a 2 point lead. Out of a timeout, Wade drove by Batum and dunked to tie the game.

With 26 seconds left in a tie game, the Blazers gave the ball to Lillard, but he was unable to get off a shot. Nic picked up the ball for a jumper, and was fouled again. He hit both to restore the two point lead with 7.7 seconds left. Out of a timeout, the Heat set up for a last shot to tie or win. They gave the ball to Bosh for a very deep three.... swish. With a huge shot, the Miami Heat steal a huge victory in Portland.

What's Next:

A travel day for the Blazers, and they're back in action Monday at 5pm vs. New Orleans. But stay tuned, Ben and Dave have plenty more from this game tonight. -- Tim

Gameday Thread Comments of the Night!

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
17 Norsktroll I know, no pictures. But this is currently the banner on NBA Game Time and needs to be posted :-)
11 RipCityLifer! Lebron taking NO chances with his groin with Batum in the building.
8 HJprobs lmao
7 bustabucket Go Blazers!
6 BlazerPhilippines 1st time i will be watching on our new bought sony bravia 55" 4k uhd tv with cable =) sweet!! LETS GET THE WIN!!
6 DonkeyShins Wouldn't it be amusing
6 Mortimer IT SHOWS ANN
5 Moosen PDX Apparently dinosaurs can't run backwards
5 Blazing Chargers If Freeland is seriously injured, I blame you Sam. You shouldn't have wrote that article.
5 BlazerPhilippines its my father gift to himself since all of his son already done schooling and already have work =)
4 Ilikeemall In the midst of this awesome start...
4 allthebacon They're gonna buy tickets to see us battle the Pacers?
4 allthebacon The Groin Lantern strikes again!
3 RipCityLifer! who cares if Lebron's out for Miami?? Claver's out for us, so let's jump it up.
3 Mortimer Cuz he gives you savings!
3 Corvid Go Portland Trail Blazers!!!
3 Dragline Go Blazers
3 KVin2 You guys, Meyers didn't look awful that half.
3 thankyouforblaze BAD WORDS.
3 cloud razor [no title]
3 Mortimer It's like she has no conscience!!
3 bowdown 20 assists on 24 FGM
3 allthebacon I had a serious discussion the other day,
3 Oh. Em. Gee. A deadman, that's who.
3 allthebacon Of course you do,
3 Tyler Durrden hardly, look at Burt Reynolds or Kenny Rogers, heck even Ray Liotta
3 annthefan Go Trail Blazers!!
3 annthefan [no title]
3 allthebacon Hey, Hey, LBJ, how many fries you eat today?
3 Corvid DANG!
3 TheOdenator52 Saved my money sent kids to the BlazersEdge night instead! Go Blazers!
3 Norsktroll That's what I'm saying. They always have little blurbs for the headline games, but (a) we pretty rarely were one of them and (b) I really can't remember one with words like championship or throne in it
3 allthebacon In all fairness finals contenders usually have officiating help to get by Sacto;)