(Photo Credit: Sam Forencich)
The Miami HEAT defeated the Portland Trail Blazer in dramatic fashion Saturday night at the Moda Center. Chris Bosh hit the game-winning three with just 0.5 second remaining to get the HEAT the victory.
Impact Performance of the Night: Chris Bosh led the HEAT in scoring with 37 points. Chris Bosh led the HEAT in rebounds with 10. Chris Bosh led the HEAT in plus/minus at +14. Chris Bosh hit a game-winning three with just 0.5 seconds left. So, yeah, you could say he delivered a pretty impactful performance. Bosh got things going early in the first quarter, attacking the rim relentlessly. He used his speed to blow past Portland defenders. In the fourth quarter Bosh finally got some jumpers to fall. He hit three three-pointers in the final stanza, including the biggest shot of the night. It was without a doubt Bosh’s best performance of the season. On the second night of a back-to-back and with the HEAT shorthanded, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Deciding Run: The HEAT trailed the Blazers 96-93 with 4:20 left in the game. A Wes Matthews layup gave the Blazers the three-point lead and forced a timeout from the HEAT. Chris Bosh promptly came out and hit a three-pointer, knotting things at 96. Bosh would hit two more threes over the final few minutes as the HEAT closed the game on a 15-11 run to sneak out of Portland with a win.
Play of the Game: It appears as though Chris Bosh has a thing for hitting game tying or winning threes on the road with the HEAT short a few players. He did it two years ago against the Atlanta Hawks with both LeBron James and Dwyane Wade out to force overtime. Bosh drilled a game winner last season against the San Antonio Spurs when the HEAT were again without James and Wade. Tonight, Bosh delivered for the third time, this time on the road, without James, against the team with the best record in the NBA. The possession before the HEAT ran a play that got Wade a wide open dunk. This time, down two, the HEAT ran the same play with Bosh flaring out behind the three-point line. The Blazers defense crashed down on a driving Wade who made a behind-the-back pass to Bosh. Bosh gathered the pass, which was a little low, a few feet beyond the arc. He put up the three, the ball using so much arc that it left the television screen for a second. It splashed through the net and the HEAT beat the Blazers.
Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 110.4; Defensive Efficiency: 108.9
Trend to Watch: After a night against Sacramento when the HEAT only scored 30 points in the paint, they took it to the Blazers defense scoring sixty points in the paint. Chris Bosh got to work early, getting the rim, putting pressure on the defense. Norris Cole and Dwyane Wade also attacked, scoring big baskets there down the stretch. But what the attacking did was open up the outside. The HEAT like to work inside-out and it showed in the win against the Blazers. The HEAT knocked down 8-of-14 threes, many of which came on drive and kicks. On Bosh’s fourth quarter threes, Dwyane Wade attacked the lane and found Bosh wide open beyond the arc. There is a ton of value in getting looks in the paint. Most obviously, they are the most efficient shots in basketball, but they’re impact elsewhere is just as important. On a night without LeBron James, the HEAT had to find a way to score efficiently without one of their main offensive engines. They did it by getting into the lane early for dunks, layups and kickout passes.
The Takeaway: Hope you stayed up for that one. When the HEAT play Western Conference teams we often get fun games. Tonight was no exception as the league’s top two offenses duked it out. Both teams started out making bunches of jumpers, regardless of what kind of defense was being played. As things got later into the fourth quarter, chaos took over as the HEAT kept hitting big shots only to take unfortunate fouls on the defensive end. The Blazers have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season and have one of the tougher home crowds in the league. The HEAT played the night before and were without two key rotation pieces in LeBron James and Chris Andersen. When things didn’t go their way down the stretch, the HEAT could have folded. Instead, they made big plays and notched a win. Outside of the win against the Pacers, this is the HEAT’s most impressive win of the season. They played well, fought hard and showed why they’ve won the last two NBA titles.
Notes: Dwyane Wade finished with 16 points and seven assists. Michael Beasley scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Norris Cole and Rashard Lewis combined for 21 points off the bench. Mario Chalmers tallied nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists. LeBron James and Greg Oden were inactive.