The Portland Trail Blazers had won four straight games when the Miami Heat ended that run with a 119-98 victory on Wednesday night, led by 18 points from Bam Adebayo.
Portland’s 22-point scorer Damian Lillard left the game with a limp and less than five minutes left in the third quarter. The Blazers said he strained his right calf and he did not come back.
Six-time All-Star Damian Lillard felt pregame calf tightness. He won’t be suiting up for Friday’s game against the Rockets, but he doesn’t anticipate missing any additional time with the team.
The Blazers guard stated he would have participated if the game counted toward the playoffs.
The Heat built a 26-point cushion behind the play of Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler, who each scored 17 points. Miami had six scorers in double figures.
The Bulldogs were “locked in” prior to kickoff, according to Butler. That’s the secret of our success, the recipe for victory. It’s a nice feeling.
Portland started the season undefeated for the first time since 1999, led by rookie Shaedon Sharpe’s 15 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Blazers ended the season as the lone unbeaten Western Conference team.
The first half was a nail-biter. After Jerami Grant put the Trail Blazers up 44-36 with a 3-pointer, Miami’s Tyler Herro responded with his own 3-pointer.
After tying the game at 51, Miami Heat guard O.J. Herro scored on a running jumper and added a free throw to put his team up 53-52, and they went on to win 61-56 at the half. In the end, Herro scored 14 points.
Butler’s dunk in the middle of the third quarter put the Heat ahead 81-70. The Blazers’ offense sputtered without Lillard for the rest of the season.
Guard for the Blazers, Anfernee Simons, said, “The turnovers at that time really killed us, and then they got out on the break and began making a whole lot of transition threes, and they opened up the lead at that point.” So, “I think it was just a little bit of us being irresponsible with the basketball.”
In this game, Miami made a season-high 15 three-pointers.
“We put it together on both ends,” Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra stated. Recently, we’ve been improving. You may have noticed an increase in our enthusiasm throughout the last two games.
The Trail Blazers had just defeated the Denver Nuggets 135-110 on Monday. To put the game out of reach, Anfernee Simons scored 22 points (on 6-of-8 3-point shooting) in the third quarter, and Portland limited Nikola Jokic to just 9 points.
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