The Portland Trail Blazers hosted the Miami Heat, the two-time defending NBA champions, Saturday night at the Moda Center. And despite playing without MVP LeBron James, who suffered a right groin strain Friday night in an overtime loss to the Kings in Sacramento, the Heat were able to come away with a thrilling 108-107 victory.
With James sidelined, the Heat were lead by Chris Bosh, who hit a 25-foot rainbow three-pointer with 0.5 seconds to play to give Miami the victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,071.
“Well, obviously it was a disappointing loss,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “I was disappointed that we put ourselves in that position at the end of the game where it had to come down to a couple of plays at the end. Give Miami credit. We knew they had a lot of good players and with James out, they had a lot of good players that can make plays, and they did.”
Bosh, who has played a complimentary role alongside James and Dwyane Wade since joining the Heat as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 season, would make all three of his three-point attempts to finish with a game-high 37 points on 15 of 26 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds.
“He made his jump shots early,” said Stotts of Bosh. “His threes — I didn’t count on him going three for three from three. He made jump shots. He played a terrific game and they needed him to. They’ve got guys who have won championships together and Chris Bosh has been an All-Star and he carried a team to the playoffs by himself, so he’s certainly capable of doing that.”
The loss snapped Portland’s streak of 11 straight wins against Eastern Conference teams. It was also the first time this season the Trail Blazers lost after taking a lead into both the half and the fourth quarter and their first loss when shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
With the Heat leading 103-102 with 32 seconds to play, Wade would foul Nicolas Batum on a three-point attempt, sending the Frenchman to the line for three free throws, which he would make to put Portland up 105-102.
Miami would score out of the timeout on a Wade dunk off a Ray Allen screen, tying the game at 105-105 with 26 seconds to play.
On the next possession, Damian Lillard dribbled the ball near halfcourt, allowing the clock to wind down in hopes of getting the last shot of the game. Lillard lost the ball while driving with eight seconds left, but Batum corralled the ball and was once again fouled while shooting. He would hit both free throws to once again put the Trail Blazers up by two.
But a two-point lead wouldn’t be enough. On the penultimate play of the game, Wade would drive all the way to the rim, collapsing the defense, before kicking out to Bosh behind the three-point line for the game-winner.
“He was three or four feet behind the line,” said Stotts of Bosh’s shot, “we had two guys running at him. Wade throws it back to him and it was a great shot.”
The Blazers would have one last chance with 0.5 seconds left with Batum finding LaMarcus Aldridge with a lob near the basket, but Aldridge’s hurried attempt wouldn’t find the mark as time expired.
‘That was a good look,” said Aldridge. “It was tough to judge how hard I should shoot it falling backwards. If I could go back in time I might try to go glass but I was happy with the pass. Just got to make it next time.”
Aldridge went nine of 20 from the field to end the night with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.
While Bosh’s shot would be the score that lifted the Heat to victory, the Trail Blazers did themselves no favors in the fourth, turning the ball over seven times in the quarter while missing all three of their three-point attempts.
“Tonight, we made a lot of mistakes,” said Lillard. “It was kind of a lesson that all of those things can come back to bite us. But you can’t win them all. We’ve won so many (close games) and tonight we almost had another one. (Bosh) hit a bit shot and it was a tough one.”
Lillard finished with 16 points and seven assists in 35 minutes. His four three-pointers moved him to 93 on the season, which ties his with Golden State’s Klay Thompson for most three-pointers so far this season.
The loss spoiled a great performance by Wesley Matthews, who hit five of eight three-pointers, finished with 23 points and three rebounds. Joel Freeland had the best rebounding game of his career with 12 boards, a new career high, in just 15 minutes.
Next up, the Trail Blazers start a road back-to-back Monday in New Orleans against the Pelicans. Tipoff is schedule for 5 PM.
Greetings from San Fransisco. After the Trail Blazers lost 118-106 to the Warriors in Game One of their Western Conference semifinal series, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, grabbed a couple mics to record the first second round edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which is now available for your afternoon listening…
On this edition, we discuss Sunday afternoon’s loss, Portland’s tough start and whether there’s anything positive to be taken from the last three quarters, dealing with Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, the eventual return of Stephen Curry and if there any similarities between Sunday’s game and Game One versus the Clippers. We also answer a host of questions about Allen Crabbe, the enthusiasm at Oracle Arena, the quick turnaround from Game Six to the second Game One and give some tips on packing for regular business travel. And we also start the show off with some bad Mike Meyers impersonations. Sorry about that.
Even at full strength, the Trail Blazers were having a hard time keeping up with the Golden State Warriors in the first game of their second round, best-of-seven playoff series. But that task got significantly harder after reserve guard Gerald Henderson, who is averaging 7.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in the 2016 postseason, was ejected after a series of altercations with Warriors center Anderson Varejao that occurred late in the third quarter of Portland’s 118-106 loss Sunday night at Oracle Arena.
The first incident took place at the 3:29 mark of the third. Henderson and Varejao collided during the run of play, sending Varejao tumbling to the floor. As he was falling, he seemed to extend his leg out in an effort to trip Henderson, which ultimately proved successful. Henderson immediately got off the floor and into Varejao’s face, prompting the officials to call assess technicals to both players.
“I bumped him — not on purpose — he tripped me on purpose,” said Henderson. “I fell hard, I didn’t like it, so came together, that’s what happens.”
But that wouldn’t be the end of the tete-a-tete between Henderson and Varejao. Though Varejao was on the bench, that didn’t stop him and Henderson from continuing their less than cordial discussion, which the officials apparently noticed, as both players were once again awarded technicals, resulting in double ejections.
“The ref threw me out from across the way. I guess he could hear what I was saying from across the court,” said Henderson. “We were talking since the first technicals happened, but there’s a lot of talking going on out there. For both of us to get kicked out of the game, it was surprising.”
Despite the tense moments, Henderson said postgame that there was no lingering animosity while noting that he was more mad at himself than at Varejao.
“I been put it behind me,” said Henderson, who finished with five points and three assists in just under 17 minutes. “We lost the game, that’s the only thing that matters. I was pissed I got thrown out, we still had a chance to win the game. I got ejected, I’ve got to be smarter, regardless of if I thought I should have got kicked out or not.”
OAKLAND — The Portland Trail Blazers had roughly 36 hours to prepare for Game One of their Western Conference Semifinals matchup versus the Golden State Warriors after eliminating the Clippers in Game Six at the Moda Center on Friday night. There was only so much film they could watch, only so many Warriors-specific plays they could learn before a 12:30 pm tipoff Sunday afternoon in Oakland.
That was a reality reflected in Portland’s performance to start the game, as they made just five field goals and trailed by as many as 20 in the first quarter before going on to lose 118-106 to the top-seeded Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596 at Oracle Arena.
“Certainly wasn’t the start we wanted,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “It was disappointing to get off to such a poor start. Our offense, we had trouble scoring. Their defense got into us. It was just — we struggled at both ends, and probably more so on the offensive end, which fed into their defense. They had second chance point, they had fast-break points. It was a little bit of everything.”
The Warriors now lead the series 1-0 with Game Two scheduled for Tuesday.
“To start the game, we played like a team playing it’s second game in 30 hours,” said CJ McCollum. “We can’t start like that, especially here.”
The good news is the Trail Blazers improved as the game went on. Portland shot 52 percent from the field an 67 percent from three in the second quarter, utilizing small lineups that featured Maurice Harkless at “center” to eventually outscore Golden State 34-28 in the quarter. The Trail Blazers managed to cut the Warriors’ lead to single digits on numerous occasions before the half but were never able to keep the deficit in check for more than a possession or two, allowing the home team to take a 14-point lead into the intermission.
The Warriors, playing without reigning MVP Stephen Curry, who is sidelined with a sprained right MCL, would reestablish their dominance in the third quarter, holding Portland to 9-of-27 shooting from the field and a particularly stingy 1-of-8 from three. Between their defense and shooting 50 percent from both the field and three in the quarter, Golden State took a 26-point lead, their largest of the night, before heading into the fourth up 93-73.
Portland was able to give the final score an air of respectability by outscoring Golden State 33-25 in the fourth, but never realistically threatened the defending champs before the final buzzer. And while there was little to like about their Game One performance, the Trail Blazers can take some comfort in knowing they were able to bounce back from a rough start in the first round to win their series versus the Clippers.
“We got beat pretty soundly in Game One against the Clippers and we made some adjustments, we played a little bit better and got better as the series went along, and we need to do the same thing,” said Stotts. “So we’ll watch the video, see what we can come up with for Game Two. But there’s no question that we have to play better and learn from Game One like we did with the Clippers.”
The Trail Blazers were led by Lillard, who finished with 30 points, five assists and four steals in 41 minutes. CJ McCollum added 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes. Portland’s starting backcourt combined to shoot 13-of-43 from the field, with many of those makes coming when the game was already out of reach.
“We’ve just got to be better,” said Lillard, who said he’s been battling a chest cold the last few days (and sounded like it when answer questions postgame). “I got some looks that I need to make, CJ did as well. We just got to be better offensively if we want to have a chance against this team.”
Al-Farouq Aminu shot 6-of-13 from the field and 3-of-8 from three for 15 points in 25 minutes. Harkless added 10 points and three rebounds, with Mason Plumlee grabbing a game-high 13 boards.
Allen Crabbe continued his strong play as of late, going 6-of-9 from the field for 15 points and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Ed Davis went 5-of-6 from the field to finish with 11 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in 18 minutes.
Gerald Henderson finished with five points and three rebounds in 16 minutes before being ejected after getting receiving two technicals for arguing with Warriors center Anderson Varejao, who was also ejected.
The Warriors were led by Klay Thompson, who shot 50 percent from both the field and three to finish with a game-high 37 points to go along with five rebounds in 37 minutes.
“We’ve got to do a better job, starting with me if I’m guarding (Thompson),” said McCollum. “Got to make sure I’m pacing better and making him curl. Hard hedges got to be there, especially if it’s Bogut or somebody setting setting that screen where he’s not really a good shooter. We’ve got to make sure we make them pay for that.”
Draymond Green put up a triple-double of 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in 37 minutes. Shaun Livingston added 12 points and with both Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut finishing with 10 points.
Next up, the Trail Blazers will try to regroup before heading back to Oracle for Game Two on Tuesday.
“I got some looks that I usually would have made that I didn’t knock down,” said Lillard. “So next game, I look forward to the challenge again. At this point in the season, all that matters is winning. You either win or you lose; you advance or you go home. At this point, we’re just trying to fix things and make sure that our season keeps going.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.