Once again, it only took one quarter for the Trail Blazers to blow away the competition.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Wesley Matthews had 18, and the Portland Trail Blazers crushed the Miami Heat, 99-83, Thursday night at Moda Center.
Portland started the game cold, missing their first four shots. Aldridge and Damian Lillard got things going afterwards, with Aldridge scoring eight in the period to lead the Blazers, but a bad turnover by Wesley Matthews near the end of the quarter allowed Miami the final shot, which Chris Bosh hit to give the Heat a five point lead after one.
For consecutive games, the distance shooting has not been falling at the rate the Blazers normally shoot at, with the team shooting just 11-of-31 in the second quarter. Lillard missed five straight shots at one point, Batum missed back-to-back open threes, and the team missed four different shots from with two feet of the basket. The defense kept the Blazers in the game, with good defense by Matthews forcing Dwyane Wade to miss his final four shots of the period. Aldridge had 12 at the break to lead Portland.
Scary moment with under a minute to play in the half. During a turnover by Miami, Lillard and Wade collided going for the loose ball. Both players stayed down on the court for the next possession, and Lillard was clearly favoring his back as he went to the locker room.
Lillard returned to action in the second half in a big way. The shots that would not fall in the first half started falling through the hoop in the third quarter. Lillard had five, Aldridge had ten, and the Blazers plastered the Heat defense 33-16 in the quarter. You know everything was going well when Dorell Wright drained a long two off an in-bounds pass from an impossible angle, giving Portland a 12 point lead after three.
Matthews went to work in the final period, scoring ten points, and expanding the Portland lead to as large as 23. The strong rebounding inside by Meyers Leonard and Chris Kaman helped seal the game.
Lillard finished with 16 points. Steve Blake led the bench scoring with seven.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Thanks to all who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! Amongst the nearly 2,000 comments, these were the favorites:
Portland has won at least 17 of its first 20 home games for the first time since the 2007-08 season (17-3).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 9, 2015
The Trail Blazers have made exactly twice as many 3-pointers as their opponents this season (366-183).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 9, 2015
Players actually in the locker room right now watching the TNT highlights #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 9, 2015
Nic Batum made the "je Suis Charlie" short this morning. He gave it to Robin Lopez to wear after warm ups.— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 9, 2015
Stotts said had he not known Wes (18) was injured, wouldn't have known. Told, Wes said: "I didn't want to give him a reason to take me out."— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 9, 2015
Dame said he wore a headband for Throwback Thursday cause he used to wear one in high school.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) January 9, 2015
Lillard said he wore the headband for TNT...national game, wanted to mess around #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 9, 2015
"I don’t think it was the collision that caused anything. My body just spinned and my lower back locked up a little bit." - Damian Lillard— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 9, 2015