HEAT 107 - Blazers 100 Recap

January 9 – Most people imagined the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would be doing the bulk of the team’s scoring. But nobody could have imagined they’d shoulder this much of the offense.

In the HEAT’s 107-100 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, in which they needed a 9-2 run in the final 1:39 of regulation to force overtime. James (44 points) and Wade (34) combined for 78 points, or 72.8 percent of the total offense, setting a franchise record for being the first pair to go 40-30 in a game. Add Bosh’s 18, and the three were responsible for at least 89.7 percent – not including assists – of Miami’s total offense, the rest of the team scoring 11.

“We have the big moment, big light players that love nothing more than this type of environment, these type of games,” Erik Spoelstra said.

Against a resilient Portland team, one that’s always been a tough out on their home floor, the HEAT needed every last ounce those three could offer.

With the Blazers keeping the HEAT off balance with a smattering of zone and creating the most trouble on the offensive glass since the Memphis Grizzlies over a month ago, Miami found itself down seven in the final minutes despite shooting well above 50 percent for most of the night. But though Portland had scored on five-straight possessions during that stretch, they were relying primarily on tough shots out of a Wes Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge two-man game that the HEAT were defending better each time down the floor.

For most teams, trading buckets has not been a sustainable strategy in the late game against Miami’s offensive talent, and for the Blazers, who have been no strangers to giving up fourth-quarter runs the past two seasons, the trend continued. Both Aldridge and Matthews missed well-covered shots the following two possessions and the HEAT maintained their relentless counterattack off the stops.

“We’ve developed habits defensively where we feel like we can get three or four straight stops in a row, and that gives you confidence,” Spoelstra said.

“There wasn’t any panic in the huddle.”

The Blazers still had the opportunity to win, holding the ball with barely over 24 seconds to play in a tie game. But with all the momentum on Miami’s side by that point and the defense swarming, the best they could muster was a pair of jumpers from Andre Miller.

Overtime was, if not a formality, a familiar story. Miami had turned everything in its favor with the necessary stops and talent took that energy to the bank. Wade began the extra period with a crossover-to-pullup jumper, Bosh hit a pair of smooth jumpers and James dropped in two triples that pocketed the victory.

A victory that, though all three were crucial to Miami’s ninth-straight win, belonged to James, whose 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime left Portland falling back on its heels despite the best efforts of the lanky Nic Batum.

“He’s great,” Dwyane Wade said. “He’s a great player, and to be able to experience it in the same jersey is awesome.”

“No other way to say it than LeBron was sensational down the stretch, making all the great plays,” Spoelstra said.

Great plays they may not be able to reproduce game after game in a seven game series, in the way one imagines the perfect pick-and-roll run over and over, but specific plays that don't need to be part of a long-term game plan. Enough for a win, and yet another example in the laundry list of ways the HEAT can beat anyone.