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Heat hold on to beat Blazers, 118-110

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After almost unravelling in the fourth quarter, the Heat would hold it together to claim a big win against Portland.

NBA: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

1st Quarter:

As we’ve come to expect it was Whiteside who got Miami on the board first. He’s been very active in first quarters. Miami got out to a 7-2 lead, showing no hesitation on offense. It was nice to see Josh Richardson dialed in early on both ends, as Miami’s main scoring option, the Heat need to be able to depend on him and that slump wasn’t helping anybody. His court vision was also solid as he found Heat players for open shots (i.e Winslow threes). Richardson ended the first quarter with 14 points (his point total from last game.)

With Lillard and McCollum, Portland will always be threat. They were quiet in the opening minutes, but both got warmer as the quarter progressed.

With solid play from Whiteside, Winslow, J-Rich and Olynyk Miami managed to create a little bit of distance, but it didn’t last with Portland tearing up the defense off of screen and rolls.

Miami maintained somewhat of a lead taking a four point lead into the second quarter.

2nd Quarter:

The Heat continued to play well offensively to start the second, with Waiters and James Johnson delivering and J-Rich continuing his dominance from the field.

Miami reverted back to their two-three zone and were effective, frustrating the Blazers into missing easy shots. This led to offensive opportunities (including two big Bam slams).

Miami was impressive on offense, which is something I haven’t written in a while. Their overall aggressiveness led to Dion threes, Winslow drives, Bam drives and even JJ drives. Attack style offense looks good on this Heat team.

Miami’s defense started to fall apart in the final seconds, but they were saved by the buzzer taking a 7 point lead into half.

3rd Quarter:

Miami’s defense was strong to start the third. They defended the three well and made the most of their offense opportunities. There were some welcome surprises too, like Whiteside hitting open jumpers and Kelly Olynyk experimenting in the post. Kelly has been very solid lately, and continued his excellence in this one

The Blazers appeared lifeless at times, but every once in a while they’d hit a three that threatened to open the floodgates.

Still, Miami continued their offensive dominance feasting on a buffet of open layups and open jumpers. Portland had no answers for Miami’s midrange game, which was lovely for Dwyane Wade who did work. Wade was fantastic, completely in rhythm and embarrassing his defenders.

As the quarter came to a close, Miami put their put down to extend their lead taking a 15 point lead into the fourth.

4th Quarter:

CJ McCollum opened the fourth with a three for Portland igniting the crowd. They were quickly silenced by Dwyane Wade. Portland hung around to go on a 11-2 run to making things very close. Once again help defense was a problem for Miami as they let up easy baskets in the paint. (i.e almost all of Layman’s fourth quarter buckets).

The Blazers got hot with CJ McCollum leading the charge and didn’t slow down, despite Miami answering multiple times thanks to Wade.

Miami stepped up with James Johnson hitting a huge three, and Hassan hitting an inside jump hook. Still, Portland maintained their assault from beyond the arc to keep themselves within striking distance.

Wade would come back in with just over three minutes left and deliver on some huge plays. Hassan also had some some big plays, taking advantage of all of his fourth quarter minutes on both ends of the floor.

The Heat defense stepped up to shut down Portland in the final minutes. They’d escape with an impressive win.