MIAMI – Two nights after Miami forward Chris Bosh ripped his team for a lack of passion and communication, the Heat held off a furious rally by the Portland Trail Blazers, winning 93-91 on Monday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Heat forward LeBron James, playing despite a sore back and an ankle injury, led all scorers with 32 points, including the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left.
Bosh added 15 points and the game-saving block on Portland guard Damian Lillard, who drove the basket in the final two seconds, looking to tie the score.
The Heat saw a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead shrink to two with 44 seconds left after a 3-pointer by Portland forward Nicolas Batum. Portland tied the score 91-91 with 30 seconds left on a pair of free throws by guard Mo Williams.
That set up the heroics by James and Bosh.
The Heat, which entered Monday in a 4-7 slump in its previous 11 games, improved to 48-21.
Miami, which is 28-6 at home, also got 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench from forward Chris “Birdman” Andersen.
Portland (45-26), which was led by Lillard’s 19 points, has also been slumping. The Blazers have now lost seven of their past 11 games. They are 1-5 in their past six road games.
The Heat are now 12-7 in games without guard Dwyane Wade, who sat out Monday’s game due to an ankle injury.
Miami received a scare with 7:26 left in the first quarter, when point guard Mario Chalmers limped off the court. He appeared to have sprained his right knee while making a layup. But Chalmers returned in the second quarter.
Portland led 25-22 after the first quarter, holding the usually efficient-shooting Heat to 38.5 percent shooting from the floor. Aside from James’ nine points, no other Heat player had more than five.
The Blazers, meanwhile, outrebounded the Heat by seven and got 10 points from Lillard.
Miami surged ahead at halftime, leading 46-42. The Heat still did not shoot up to their standards – just 43.5 percent for the second quarter – but James continued to carry the team.
James had 17 points at the half, including five dunks, and the Heat outscored the Blazers in the paint, 30-12.
Miami stretched its lead to 72-61 after three quarters.
NOTES: Heat SG Dwyane Wade sat out with an ankle injury. It is the 19th game he missed this season. … Blazers F LaMarcus Aldridge missed his sixth straight game due to a back injury. However, he went through extensive shooting drills Saturday and may be nearing a return. … Heat C Greg Oden made his fifth start of the season, getting the nod to open against his former team. … Heat G Toney Douglas made his sixth start of the season. … Heat F Shane Battier, who started 52 games this season, is now coming off the bench due to a recent slump. He has not scored in double figures since Feb. 5. … Up next, Portland plays at Orlando on Tuesday. It is the third of a five-game road trip. … Miami plays at Indiana on Wednesday in a battle between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
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