The Miami Heat had a pair of golden opportunities to collect a quality victory on the road against a very tough Portland Trail Blazers but ultimately couldn't withstand a late 20-8 run by the home team for the 92-90 loss.
Instead, the Heat are left with a mediocre 7-8 road record and losers of 5 of their last 8 games.
And yet again down the stretch the Heat were beaten on the boards and gave up crucial offensive rebounds that allowed the Blazers to chip away at a late double-digit lead to secure their ninth victory in a row at the Rose Garden.
The Heat's defensive intensity was there from the outset and they had played a solid game for most of the night, showing determination after the tough loss to the Indiana Pacers to start off their six-game road trip. WIth Mario Chalmers in early foul trouble, the Heat soon grabbed the lead in the first quarter after scoring ten straight points with Ray Allen on the floor. It might have also helped that the Blazers missed 15 of their first 20 shots to start the game. Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh were particularly active in the opening minutes, with both of them securing rebounds and Bosh showing aggressiveness with a pair of dunks and a block on JJ Hickson.
The Big 3 core of Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored all of the Heat's 21 points in the first quarter and 23 of of the Heat's first 25 points. However, LeBron's streak of scoring 20+ points per game in all 33 games this season was snapped when he finished with just 15 points, but he almost got a triple-double with 10 rebounds and 9 assists.
The Blazers began mounting their comeback in the third quarter and were able to shave eight points off the Heat's 13 point lead at halftime. The Heat responded with a 9-3 run to start the final quarter and boost the lead back up to 11 on a three-pointer from Mike Miller, who was needed for more minutes with Shane Battier taking the night off.
In the end, a pair of three-pointers by Wesley Matthews as well as Nicolas Batum's dominating 28 points overwhelmed the Heat, which went cold from the field in crunch time despite wide-open looks beyond the arc for Allen and Chalmers that simply didn't go in. LeMarcus Aldridge also was instrumental for the Blazers with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Wade only had one turnover but it was a costly one late in the game when he made a weak pass to LeBron to start an offensive possession that led to a Batum layup. Allen also uncharacteristically missed a late free throw that would have boosted the Heat lead to four points.