James makes history in Heat's win comeback win over Blazers

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat will cruise into Oklahoma City on Thursday with a six-game win streak and LeBron James on a record roll.
The Heat beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 117-104, Tuesday night in a wild game in which each team led by 14 points. The Blazers led 103-101 with 4:42 left, but the Heat put together a 16-1 run to put the game away.
"We covered our responsibilities," Blazers point guard Damian Lillard said of their effort to defend Miami. "(James) just found guys."
James had 30 points, six rebounds and nine assists. He also made 11 of 15 shots from the field. It was the sixth straight game in which he scored at least 30 points and shot at least 60 percent from the field, an NBA record.
Previously, the record had been shared by Moses Malone and Adrian Dantley.
"I'm at a loss for words," James said. "I know the history of the game, and I know how many unbelievable players have come through the ranks, paving the way for me and my teammates. For me to be in the record books for such a stat -- any stat -- is big time."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he is excited for Thursday's game at the Thunder, the team Miami beat last year to win the NBA title.
"Any time is a good time to play OKC," he said. "And I'm sure they feel the same way about us."
Spoelstra would love to bottle the performance turned in on Tuesday by forward Chris Bosh, who had 32 points, 11 rebounds and made 13 of 16 shots from the field. Heat guard Dwyane Wade added 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Bosh said he wasn't trying to put up impressive numbers.
"I let go trying to have big games," he said. "With those two guys (James and Wade) playing well, I just play my role. But if I can have a big game doing that, then that's great."
As for playing at the Thunder, Bosh said he expects a great atmosphere.
"It's a little bit more passionate when you are playing the people who put you out (of the playoffs)," he said. "We know what their crowd brings, but we expect to win every time."
The Heat also got good news from their bench, where guard Ray Allen broke a shooting slump that had lasted for four games. He scored 14 points and made 3 of 5 shots from three-point range.
"I was never worried -- never," Spoelstra said. "Even (during his slump), Ray never hesitated, and that's the mark of a great shooter."
With the win, the Heat improved to 23-3 at home and 19-5 against Western Conference teams this season, including 12-1 at home.
Portland, meanwhile, has lost four straight games, all on the road.
Lillard, who has become a star in his rookie season, had 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting. He was coming off maybe his worst game of the season, making only 1-of-16 shots and scoring a season-low four points on Sunday in Orlando.
"After the game in Orlando, I couldn't wait to play again," Lillard said. "I got up a lot of shots (Monday) in practice. I wanted to be in rhythm and making shots."
Portland coach Terry Stotts was happy to see his star rookie back in a groove.
"He bounced back," Stotts said. "He took big shots and carried us for a while. Just like everyone has seen LeBron do, we (the Blazers) are getting used to the things Damian can do."
Stotts said it is impressive to see Lillard perform at a high level even when teams are keying on him.
"That's not easy to do," he said. "For a rookie to play at a consistently high level when teams are pressuring you, that's a credit to his improvement."
Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points, and Wesley Matthews added 20 points as Portland shot 54 percent as a team.
"One of the positives to take away," Aldridge said, "is that we can play with anyone in the league."
However, the Blazers allowed the Heat to shoot 58 percent and were minus-7 on rebounds and minus-5 on turnovers.
"I thought it was a good effort by our team," Stotts said. "The Heat is one of the best teams in the league. We matched them for about 44 minutes."
NOTES: Heat starting forward Udonis Haslem played just 10 minutes because he suffered a lower-leg contusion. He scored three points. Spoelstra said Haslem got kicked in the shin, leaving a nasty welt. ... Portland forward Nicolas Batum entered Tuesday sixth in the NBA in 3-pointers with 118. But he made just one 3-pointer on Tuesday and was held to five points. ... The flu continues to hit the Heat. On Tuesday, Mike Miller sat out because of flu-like symptoms. ... Portland had won four straight games in Miami before Tuesday's loss. The Heat also avenged a 92-90 loss at Portland on Jan. 10. In that game, Miami blew a 12-point lead with eight minutes to play. ... Up next, Portland concludes its six-game road trip at New Orleans on Wednesday.

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