Heat 104, Trail Blazers 85
MIAMI (AP)—For the Miami Heat, this was a night of comebacks.
First, coach Pat Riley said he’ll return after missing six weeks because of knee and hip surgeries. Then Dwyane Wade shook off a bruised left shoulder and outscored Portland by himself in the final quarter.
Now, the Heat’s long trip back to .500 is complete, too. Wade had 35 points and the Heat beat Portland 104-85 on Tuesday night, giving Miami seven wins in eight games entering the All-Star break.
“I’m just glad we won. We’ve gotten to the point we kept talking about,” said Heat interim coach Ron Rothstein, who went 13-9 as Riley’s replacement and helped the team recover from being six games under .500 on Jan. 27. “Now this is our launching pad for after the break.”
Wade had 16 of his points in the final quarter, one more than the Trail Blazers managed as a team, and almost single-handedly decided things with three straight baskets in an 88-second span early in the period.
Miami led 73-70 entering the fourth and the game was still in doubt when Juan Dixon hit a 3-pointer with 9:14 left, but Wade’s three baskets pushed the lead to 85-75—the Heat’s biggest at that point—with 7:46 remaining. Miami would lead by as many as 21 in the final minutes.
“He showed why he is one of the best players in the league,” Portland’s Joel Przybilla said. “He just took over. They showed why they are the world champs.”
Portland was only 4-for-13 from the floor in the first 10 minutes of the final quarter and wound up shooting 42 percent for the game—compared with 56 percent by Miami, which narrowly missed matching a franchise record by blocking 14 shots, and forced 17 turnovers that led to 27 points.
“We can’t win many games with 15 to 20 turnovers,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “Last game we had 20 turnovers, tonight we had 17. You’re spotting these guys, who are champions, 27 points when you do that.”
Udonis Haslem had 12 points and Jason Kapono and James Posey each added 11 for Miami. Shaquille O’Neal, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter for the second straight game, finished with six points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.
When the Heat resume play next week, Riley will be back on the sideline; he left the team Jan. 3 to address his medical issues. Riley announced his plans to return 45 minutes before gametime.
“We’re just looking forward to keep going on this path,” Wade said.
Wade hurt his shoulder—he called it a hyperextension and said he heard a pop—with 9:36 left in the third quarter. He drove past Jack and went airborne, collided with Przybilla and immediately began writhing in pain once he hit the ground. Once he got up, he quickly headed for the Heat locker room.
“I probably looked at the tunnel about seven times,” Rothstein said.
Sure enough, Wade emerged from that tunnel about 6 minutes later, feeling fine. He was 7-for-11 from the floor after the collision and has eight straight games of at least 25 points, matching the franchise record.
“I had my rhythm from the first half and just kept it going,” Wade said.
O’Neal, who usually gets replaced 9 minutes into the first quarter, played the first 10:50 of the game. Reason? Play never stopped to allow Alonzo Mourning to enter the game. … Portland missed a chance at an unusual four-point play in the third quarter. Udoka hit a 3-pointer while Haslem was fouling Jamaal Magliore; Udoka’s shot counted, but Magliore airballed his free-throw try. … Wade has a blocked shot in nine straight games, two shy of matching the longest streak of his career. … Portland has lost five straight in the series for the first time.