Blazers at Heat In Arena Report

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On Sunday evening, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Miami Heat by the score of 115-104. After coming out of Atlanta with an impressive victory, albeit Paul Millsap was out, Damian Lillard said that the team had to "get greedy" and they did just that on the second night of a back to back against a hot Miami team on the road.

It was a beautiful day in Miami with the temperature around 80 degrees at tipoff. After a day at the beach, we were ready for a good game at the American Airlines Arena. Walking around, I noticed that there was not going to be as many Blazers fans as there was the night before in Atlanta.

I'm sure everybody's seen the American Airlines Arena on TV before, but I can now say that it looks 10x better in person. The location is perfect on Biscayne Bay and it includes many in-arena plazas for fans to enjoy. There is nothing like getting to relax in the arena at halftime while overlooking the bay.

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Once the game tipped off, it seemed like Portland could do nothing to stop Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside scored Miami's first 10 points on a variety of hook shots and jumpers. Midway through the quarter, the Blazers settled in and ended the quarter trailing by only a single point.

The second quarter stayed close and included a lot of back and forth action. Damian was a one-man wrecking crew, but he was combatted by James Johnson and Wayne Ellington who both had solid games tonight. At halftime, the Blazers clung to only a one point lead.

The third quarter involved many runs. The Blazers took an 8 point lead before Miami went on their run that gave them a one point lead. Damian Lillard stayed hot and the Blazers were able to gain a little more cushion before heading into the fourth quarter.

It seems like many Miami fans appeared out of thin air as the fourth quarter began as they finally filled the seats and made the stadium look "full". Our new theory for why the arena always looks so empty is that all the fans are in the plaza relaxing and enjoying their drinks for the first three quarters. As they enter the fourth quarter, some fans have had many drinks so the atmosphere is super loud and boisterous. What a strategy!

The fourth quarter was back and forth for the first few minutes before Lillard took over and nailed the Heat into their coffin. The Blazers took a double-digit lead halfway through the quarter and that cushion was all they needed. Jusuf Nurkić finished with a double-double which included scoring in double digits during the fourth quarter. Damian finished 2 points shy of his career high of 51, but that was all the Blazers needed to get the job done.

Ths Blazers won in Miami for the first time since 2011 and won the season series against the Heat for the first time since 2009. Lillards 49 points is also the most by a Trail Blazer ever against not just the Miami Heat, but the entire eastern conference! Basically Lillard broke a few huge records in this game alone.

The Blazers now come back to Portland to take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at the Moda Center. Overall, the Blazers impressively won both games on their initially daunting back to back, and I can say I was at both of them. Now it's back to Portland for another week of Blazer basketball!

More Photos:

Centered view of the court

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Nurkic vs. Whiteside

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Meyers Leonard for three

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Side view of the arena

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