PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Trail Blazers put their troubled
homestand behind them with a rout of the Heat that was due more to
Miami's ineptitude than to Portland's prowess.
"We had no focus at all,'' frustrated Heat coach Pat Riley said
after Miami's 88-69 drubbing by the Trail Blazers.
"We lost any kind of toughness at all when they started to
drill us,'' he added. "I think we were playing more not to be
embarrassed than to try to win.''
"We needed a win,'' coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Easy, hard, we
needed a win.''
The Blazers jumped out to an early double-digit lead and kept it
that way to snap a two-game losing streak.
The Heat, who had won two of their previous three games, used a
zone defense that failed against the Blazers.
As the Blazers built a 22-5 lead in the first quarter, Riley was
hunched over holding his head in his hands. Riley did not get up
from his seat in the second half.
Miami (5-14) trailed by as many as 28 points in the first half
on 26.5 percent shooting. The closest they could come in the second
was 19 points, 79-60 on Vladimir Stepania's free throw late in the
"I'm sick with myself just the same way as everybody else
better be sick in here,'' center Brian Grant said. "It was embarrassing.''
The Blazers went 2-3 on their recent troubled homestand, and now
hit the road for five games. They led by 48-22 at the half, holding
their opponent to the fewest points in a half since the Denver
Nuggets only managed 22 in the first half at Portland on April 16,
"This is a big win for us. We needed this win bad,'' Blazers
guard Scottie Pippen said. "Not just because we're going on the
road, but for our confidence and the fact we've lost a lot of games
The focus recently in Portland hasn't been on the Blazers' play.
Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace pleaded innocent this week
to misdemeanor marijuana possession charges stemming from a traffic
stop late last month, and reserve forward Ruben Patterson was fined
$100,000 by the team on Thursday for "conduct detrimental to the
team, the organization, its fans and the city of Portland.''
Patterson was arrested Nov. 25 for alleged domestic assault.
Although the Washington County prosecutor decided not to press
charges, the Trail Blazers have also asked that Patterson receive
counseling in addition to the fine.
Stoudamire received a mix of applause and boos from the hometown
fans when he came in off the bench in the first quarter. Fans
greeted Patterson with a smattering of boos but little other
By way of contrast, former Trail Blazer Grant, always a fan
favorite, was treated to a rousing cheer when he was introduced as
a starter for the Heat.
Grant was philosophical about the troubles facing his
former team: "Regardless of what's going on, there is a great
group of guys on this team, and great fans here in Portland and a
great community,'' he said. "When you've got that in the heart
then you're going to find a way to work it out. I'm not concerned
about this getting out of control, they'll work it out....
Patterson, for his part, said "You can ask me about the Miami
Heat, but no more questions about my personal life.'' ... A fan,
Tammy Fisher, fell from the 300-level outdoor smoking terrace on
the east side of the Rose Garden to the ground level. She survived
the four-story fall, but was taken to the hospital with leg pain.
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