The Heat defense gave the Blazers trouble from the jump.
Portland finished the game with 17 turnovers in Sunday’s 107-98 loss, while forcing the Heat to commit just seven.
After starting the game with three quick turnovers, the Blazers settled in against the Heat in the first quarter. Thanks to CJ McCollum’s quick seven points, Portland took a 31-25 lead at the end of the first quarter.
While shooting 66.7 percent in the first, the Blazers also took care of business on the other end in the quarter.
But thanks to a flurry of points in the paint and 17 bench points, the Heat took a 56-48 lead at halftime.
Bam Adebayo showed off his versatility on offense, while Jimmy Butler started to pour on the scoring after a slow start in the first quarter.
Miami held an 89-71 lead after three quarters.
And with Butler, Adebayo, and Trevor Ariza leading the way on the defensive end for the Heat, Miami clearly looked like a team well equipped and prepared to defend the Blazers and their pick and roll.
When the Blazers were down by 19 midway through the final period, Portland pulled its starters.
Portland was still without Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture), who had revision surgery on his ankle in late Dec.
For Miami, the Heat were without Victor Oladipo (right knee; soreness) and KZ Okpala (health and safety protocols).
The Blazers as a team disrupted the Heat’s offense early, but it didn’t last long as Miami started to hit from inside and out in the second.
CJ McCollum had it going from midrange early and often. While taking more primary ball handler responsibilities even when he was on the floor with Damian Lillard.
While the Heat worked to take Lillard out of the game, Norman Powell stepped up. Powell led the Blazers in scoring midway through the third quarter with 13. Powell finished with 17.
In the first quarter Portland had committed seven turnovers, while Lillard had recorded four of them. The Heat used their length to defend the Blazers point guard all night. Whether it was Trevor Ariza or Tyler Herro, Miami put extra pressure on Lillard, while also doubling him when the opportunity presented itself.
Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo worked their two-man game against the Blazers with either one finding the other. After Jusuf Nurkic got into foul trouble, the Heat made sure to pound the ball inside.
After sitting out of Saturday’s game against the Pistons, Nurkic returned to action, but took a hard spill late in the second quarter. He got up holding his lower back. The team announced that he had suffered a sacral contusion, but he did return to start the second half.
Nurkic finished with six points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes of work.
The Blazers then lost Enes Kanter in the third quarter for a brief stint after he took a shoulder to the head. He returned to the game as well.
Derrick Jones Jr. showed off his hops late in the first quarter and then again in the third:
The Blazers committed 12 turnovers in the first half, while the Heat had zero.
Next up: The Trail Blazers will host the Boston Celtics Tuesday to wrap-up their three-game homestand. The Blazers and Celtics will tip-off at 7:00p.m. PST on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.