The scheme worked perfectly.
Zach Randolph had 24 points and Derek Anderson added 19, helping
the Trail Blazers pull away in the second half for a 99-87 win over
Miami on Tuesday night. The Blazers are now 14-3 in Miami and
winners of 26 of 33 overall between the franchises.
"Best game we've played this year, offensively and
defensively," said Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, whose team
easily overcame an early 12-point deficit. "We shared the ball,
and as crazy as this sounds, our defense was shared by all as
Wade and O'Neal combined for 36 points, with Wade getting a
game-high nine assists and O'Neal grabbing a game-best 13 rebounds
to complete his seventh double-double in Miami's last eight games.
But the Blazers never let Miami's star duo take control, and held
the Heat to 37.5 percent shooting in the second half.
Take away the combined 10-for-21 by Wade and O'Neal, and the
rest of the Heat managed to connect on 39.6 percent of their shots.
Wade and O'Neal had averaged a combined 28 shot attempts in their
nine previous games together this year.
"They took the ball out of my hands, but I knew it'd be that
way coming in," Wade said. "As a player, you try to find other
ways to help the team win."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 16 for Portland, which hasn't beaten a
sub-.500 team this season -- but moved to 4-1 when facing clubs with
Shandon Anderson had 15 of his season-high 17 in the first half
for Miami, which had won three straight and fell to 1-4 against the
Western Conference. The Heat are 7-0 against the East.
"The effort wasn't there for us at the defensive end," Heat
coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We were absolutely crushed on the
boards again, and I have to take responsibility for that. There
were times when we looked hesitant and unsure."
Portland used a 17-8 run over a 7:35 stretch of the second half
to pull away. Eddie Jones' layup with 4:31 left in the third drew
Miami to 64-60, but Portland hit five of its next six perimeter
Derek Anderson connected on a pair of 3-pointers late in the
third to push the Blazers' lead to 74-66, Darius Miles hit
consecutive jumpers to open the final quarter and Nick Van Exel's
3-pointer with 8:56 left gave Portland what was then its largest
lead of the night, 81-68.
"It was a great effort," said Van Exel, who finished with 15.
"We got down early, but we fought back. One thing about this NBA:
You get a win, you don't get a chance to celebrate. We get on a
plane tonight and have to go play a good Orlando team tomorrow. A
win's nice to start the trip."
Miami drew to 90-82 with 2:00 remaining, but Randolph's jumper
with 1:23 left sealed the win.
Udonis Haslem, who entered the game with the league's third-best
field goal percentage (.568), missed his first 11 shots -- including
a dunk -- and finished 3-for-17.
"We wanted him to shoot the basketball," Cheeks said.
"Fortunately for us, he missed some shots. That's what allowed us
to be able to front the post the way we did."
Shandon Anderson and Wade combined for 14 points in a 17-2 run
that gave the Heat a 22-10 lead. Portland tied the game with a 21-9
run, then trailed by as many as six before taking a 50-49 halftime
lead on Randolph's three-point play with 2 seconds left before the
break -- and the Blazers never again trailed.
Heat F Christian Laettner, who missed the season's first 11
games with right knee patella tendinitis, had five points in 12
minutes. Laettner was activated when F Malik Allen went on the
injured list Tuesday. ... Portland was 8-for-17 from 3-point range;
Miami was 4-for-14. ... Shandon Anderson more than doubled his
season point total -- he scored eight in his first five games with
Miami. ... Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez was courtside, as
was Florida Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest, actress Tara
Reid and four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.