LeBron James scored the last of his 32 points on a layup that put Miami up for good with 11.4 seconds left, Bosh capped his 30th birthday by blocking Damian Lillard’s layup on the final play, and the Heat blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead before beating the Portland Trail Blazers 93-91 on Monday night.
“If you talk it, you back it up,” James said. “That’s what it’s about. We have guys in here that will deliver the words and then go back it up. That was big-time on his part.”
He screamed again Monday, this time in celebration as time expired.
“This game’s about passion,” Bosh said. “As hard as it is during the dog days to muster it up, the spark has to come from somewhere.”
Wednesday won’t be one of those dog days. Miami visits Indiana with a chance to close within one game in the Eastern Conference race. The Pacers lost in Chicago on Monday night.
“I miss the Pacers,” Bosh said.
Lillard led the Blazers with 19 points on 3-for-15 shooting. Mo Williams scored 17, Wesley Matthews had 15, Nicolas Batum 11 and Robin Lopez 10 for Portland, which was down 17 with just more than 9 minutes remaining.
“I thought I had a pretty good look at it but Chris Bosh made a great play,” Lillard said of his final shot. “He met it at the top. He went up and got it. I saw him - that’s why I floated it. I didn’t think he would be able to get to it. But he met it at the very top.”
The Blazers shot 11 for 39 from 3-point range, taking only 35 shots from inside the arc.
“We’re tired of losing close games, but you can’t help it to be proud of the way we competed,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “It would have been easy to fold things up, but that’s not in our DNA.”
Miami was without Dwyane Wade for the 19th time this season, though this absence wasn’t part of the season-long maintenance program designed to help his knees. Wade tweaked an ankle last week in Boston.
James was on the court getting shots up for about 15 minutes with less than an hour remaining until tip-off. With his earbuds on, sweat rolling off and surrounded by three ballboys, James worked on step-back jumpers, post moves and free throws, yelling twice at himself during one stretch in which he missed three straight from the line.