After the embarrassing loss in Portland last season, the Heat bounced back in a big way, leading the game from start to finish and beating the Blazers in convincing fashion. The Heat shot 53% from the field while holding Portland to just 39%, which moved the Heat to 5-0 when holding their opponent to under 40% shooting.
The Heat hit their first three shots and jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, the best start to a game for Miami his season. Just 3 minutes into the game, Greg Oden was called for his second foul, which ignited Blazers coach Nate McMillen and he was T-ed up. The Heat kept their collective foot on the gas pedal and extended their lead to 11-3.
Brandon Roy hit a couple buckets to bring the Blazers back, but a Quentin Richardson trey with about 4 minutes left gave the Heat a 10-point lead. It was short lived, as suddenly the Heat had back-to-back defensive lapses leading to Portland buckets. The Blazers run stretched to 8-0 before D-Wade and Udonis pushed the Heat lead back to 6.
The first quarter ended with a couple of really nice shots by a couple of veterans. Udonis Haslem sunk a shot from about 10 feet in a very awkward position, then on the other end Juwan Howard hit a shot off glass as time expired with the Heat up by 4. Brandon Roy finished the first quarter with 14 points; the rest of his team scored just 14 combined.
The second quarter seemed to fly by, with Portland spending most of it getting within 2-4 points of Miami, but never getting over the hump to take the lead. Stepping up for Portland in the 2nd was Andre Miller, scoring 10 points and dishing off a couple nice assists.
Michael Beasley led the way for Miami in the first half, scoring 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting and a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line, the most free throw attempts for Beasley this season. D-Wade also chipped in with 12 points and 7 assists in the first half, and as a team Miami shot 57% en route to a 10-point halftime lead.
Despite the Heat getting off to a quick start, pumping their lead up to 14 at one point, Portland slowly chipped away at the margin. By the halfway point of the quarter Miami was only up by 6. That's when the Heat went on a 14-4 run, capped off by 4 straight points by D-Wade and a James Jones trey. The Heat were in prime position to win, heading into the fourth quarter up by 16 and still shooting 57%.
There was very little offense early in the 4th, with Portland outscoring the Heat 3-2 over the first 4+ minutes. Nothing wrong with that, as it allowed D-Wade time to rest and kept the Heat up big. Unfortunately, the Blazers made one last charge, using a 12-4 run to turn a once 17-point deficit into just 9 with 3:42 left in the game.
After only hitting four shots in the first three quarters, Jermaine O'Neal hit three BIG shots down the stretch to fend off the Portland run and keep the Heat up big. Dwyane Wade put a bow on the game, hitting a shot with his back to the rim while being wrapped up and fouled by Greg Oden.
- Juwan Howard shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half. I'll always remember him as the guy who helped get Zo to Miami, sort of...
- Wade's 10th assist came halfway through the third quarter, giving him his first double double of the season. He had 7 assists in the 1st half.
- Michael Beasley is blossoming. Tonight he had 27 points, 8 boards and went a career high 11-of-12 from the foul line. Another week or two like this and he'll be exiting ‘hot streak' status and enter ‘stud player' status.
- The Heat's big 3rd quarter run was sparked by D-Wade being moved to the point. I'm starting to wonder when the serious discussion will begin regarding Wade playing more as the point guard.
- Greg Oden was pretty amazing, wasn't he? The 30 minutes he played was a lot compared to his 24+ average, and it showed in his numbers. Oden had 13 points and a season-high 20 rebounds (11 on the offensive side) to go along with four blocks. Just imagine what this guy will do when he plays over 30 minutes every game.
- Despite a couple late scores, Brandon Roy disappeared for most of the game after a big first quarter. Quentin Richardson did a great job on Roy throughout the game, but I still think that the Blazers star needs to be more aggressive. He has way too much talent not to be.
- As for Richardson, he seemed pumped to be back in the starting lineup, scoring 20 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. He went 4-for-10 from beyond the arc.
- James Jones also dropped in a couple treys, doing as much as he could in limited minutes. He also did a good job defensively on Roy.
- I was really impressed with how good of a defender Steve Blake was. That's the kind of D the Heat could really use out of the point guard position.
The Heat better rest up tomorrow because they have a nasty back-to-back on Thursday and Friday against Denver and the Lakers. The Nuggets are first, with tipoff from the Pepsi Center in Denver coming at 10:30.