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Heat down Trail Blazers 104-92 behind dominant fourth quarter

Butler was ejected early, but Bam took over down the stretch to lead the team to victory.

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Courtesy of a dominant fourth-quarter stretch, the Miami Heat pulled off the 104-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Portland led Miami 80-78 heading into the final quarter and the two teams were knotted up at 85 with under eight minutes to go. The Heat, who now sport the East’s best 15-5 record at home, outscored the Blazers 19-7 over the final 7:33, shooting 63.6 percent from the floor while holding Portland to 3-of-16 shooting (0-4 3PT) with four turnovers.

In his second game back from returning from a torn UCL in his right thumb, Heat center Bam Adebayo asserted himself down the final stretch with Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro out and Jimmy Butler ejected midway through the game.

Adebayo, who had just 10 points through the first three quarters, tallied 10 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks across the final seven minutes. He finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, five steals (!!) and three blocks (!!) in 32 minutes — shooting 8-of-12 from the floor.

Caleb Martin dazzled en-route to one of the best performances of his career. He had 26 points — two off from tying his career high set earlier this season against the Milwaukee Bucks (on national television) — with eight rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes, also shooting 8-of-12 from the floor.

Max Strus had 15 points with four 3-pointers, adding five rebounds, two assists and one block. Dewayne Dedmon totaled 12 points with eight boards, an assist and a steal in 15 minutes off the bench. Gabe Vincent, starting in place of Lowry, added 11 points, seven assists, three steals and a block in 37 minutes.

Collectively, Miami shot 46.3 percent from the floor and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. Portland shot 40.7 percent — including a dismal 21.7 percent (0-9 3PT) in the final quarter — and 30.4 percent from 3-point range.

C.J. McCollum and Anfernee Simons were two thorns in Miami’s side for the first three quarters — combining for 47 points (Simons - 25; McCollum - 22) on 56.7 percent shooting through the first 36 minutes. Both had just four combined points on 2-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter.

Simons finished with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including 6-of-14 from 3-point range, adding seven assists, three rebounds, one assist and one block; McCollum had 24 points, knocking down 10-of-20 from the floor and 4-of-9 from distance with four assists and two steals.

Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 14 rebounds — his 19th double-double of the season. Robert Covington also recorded a double-double, his first of the 2021-22 season, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds with three 3s.

Portland drops to 18-26 and remain a game ahead of the Sacramento Kings (18-28) for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference (at the time of this publishing).

Conversely, after Wednesday’s win, the Heat have now won six of their last seven and 15 of their last 20, moving to 29-16 and are tied for first place in the East with the Chicago Bulls — though Chicago still has a leg up on Miami because of a marginally better winning percentage.

Next up: Miami hits the road for a quick one-game trip against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday before returning home for four more. Tip-off for Friday’s game will be at 7:30 p.m. EST.