The Miami Heat just had to close out their tightly contested battle with the Portland Trail Blazers and hold on to their small lead, but a scoring drought during the last two minutes of the game instead resulted in a 99-92 loss.
Miami had the lead at 91-85 with 3:02 left in the game after a tip-in by Hassan Whiteside, but the team would only score a single point after that while C.J. McCollum and Maurice Harkless made all the right plays for their team to help close out the win. In contrast, the Heat missed their final nine shot attempts.
There have been many close games this season for the Heat that have not ended well for them, but the team looked like they had turned the corner lately with a pair of gritty wins on their road trip in Denver and Utah and had several chances to finish the road trip with a perfect 3-0 record.
Whiteside turned in another monster game with 28 points and 16 rebounds along with five blocks. Goran Dragic flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists while Josh McRoberts had his best offensive game of the season with 13 points on 5-9 shooting and four assists as a starter.
Though there is little solace in losing a close game on the road for the Heat, they stayed competitive throughout despite being so shorthanded and only playing three reserves off the bench, all of which struggled. Tyler Johnson again had a poor shooting night and James Johnson failed to have the kind of impact he has had lately off the bench — certainly nothing like what he showed in Utah the game before. That translated into plenty of heavy lifting for the starters and it was likely a factor as they appeared to run out of gas in crunch time, especially Whiteside and Dragic.
Miami returns home to host the New York Knicks on Tuesday at 7:30pm.