With 8:08 remaining in the 4th quarter, Dwyane Wade hit two free throws to push Miami’s lead to 80-68. At that point, it looked to be all over for Portland. Miami had held a comfortable lead all night, and was finally pulling away. Or so it seemed.
Wes Matthews hit three pointers on back-to-back possessions in the last minute, and the Trail Blazers closed the game on a 24-10 run to win 92-90 and snatch a victory away from the Heat.
Miami and the “switch.”
The Inside the NBA crew mentioned Miami having a post championship season mentality of being able to “flip the switch.” This is the mentality that they can “turn it on” for big games and show up when they need to. It has been clear that Miami has coasted through stretches of this season, including a two game losing streak to Detroit and Milwaukee. This attitude was on display once again tonight. During stretches in the middle of the game, Miami dominated and clearly showed they are the superior team. Later in the night though, a different Miami team appeared. They weren’t as crisp; they turned the ball over more often and settled for more jumpers. Instead of finishing Portland off, they let them hang around. In crunch time, Portland made big shots and Miami didn’t. Coming off a championship, it is natural to lower your intensity level in the following season. Despite these recent losses, Miami will be just fine, especially come playoff time.
LaMarcus Aldridge – the best power forward in the league?
During the broadcast, Steve Kerr said he thought that LaMarcus Aldridge is “the best power forward in the league.” Aldridge finished the game with 20 points and 15 rebounds, and he is averaging 20 points and 8 rebounds a game for the season. Aldridge is making a case for that title, but he isn’t quite there yet. One reason is that he still takes too many mid-range jumpers, one of the least efficient shots in basketball. Aldridge is very good, but Kevin Love (when healthy) and Zach Randolph are both ahead of him at the moment. David Lee, who is having a fantastic year in Golden State, is playing better than Aldridge at the moment as well.
LeBron James’ scoring streak comes to an end
LeBron James: 15 pts in loss at POR snaps 33-game streak of 20+ pt games to start season. Was longest since George Gervin in 1981-82 (45).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 11, 2013