- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - Goran Dragic spent the fourth quarter pacing around the locker room, a futile attempt to relieve some frustration after the first ejection of his career.

On the floor, his teammates rallied for him. Chris Bosh scored 29 points, Hassan Whiteside finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and the Miami Heat survived some lost composure in beating the Portland Trail Blazers 116-109 on Sunday.

“It was harrowing in the second half,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But I liked us showing some mental stability and competitive toughness while things weren’t necessarily going our way.”

Whiteside made all eight of his field-goal attempts in the second half, and Dwyane Wade finished with 18 points and seven assists for Miami. Luol Deng made his first five 3-point tries and finished with 17 for the Heat, who trailed by 12 at one point and were down 10 at the half. Gerald Green also scored 17 - including a pair of big 3s late.

“As coach always says, you become a good team when you start enjoying what others are doing,” Wade said.

The Heat shot 57 percent and played the final 13:37 without Dragic.

Damian Lillard scored 32 points and had nine assists for Portland, which dropped its third straight. CJ McCollum scored 20 points and Al-Farouq Aminu got 16 for the Trail Blazers, who led 62-52 at the half but were outscored 64-47 after halftime.

“That’s a lot of points to give up in a half,” Lillard said. “It’s hard to win when you give up that many.”

Miami tied the game with a 12-2 run to open the third quarter.

From there, wildness ensued. Dragic expressed displeasure twice in a three-minute span with fouls called on him by referee James Williams, who quickly tacked on technicals after each and ejected the guard.

Dragic said all he asked Williams after the second foul was “What?”

“That was the only thing,” Dragic said.

Wade got a technical shortly after Dragic’s first one for saying something to Ed Malloy, and Malloy then gave Miami its fourth of the quarter - in a span of 4:48 - when Whiteside spiked the ball in celebration of blocking two shots.

“I just bought a MacBook, an Apple computer, for bouncing a ball too hard,” Whiteside said, referring to the looming fine for the technical. “My bad.”

Bosh had 11 of Miami’s first 13 points in the fourth, Green had consecutive 3s to give Miami a six-point lead with about 5 minutes left and Whiteside slammed an alley-oop pass from Wade with 44.3 seconds left to seal the win.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: The Blazers fell to 1-8 against the Eastern Conference, and have dropped 12 of 13 against that side of the league going back to last season. … Portland fell to 10-3 when reaching the 105-point mark. The Blazers are 1-15 when they don’t get to that number.

Heat: Whiteside’s first block Sunday was his 100th of the season; no other NBA player had more than 69 entering the day. … It seems Miami will face Brandon Jennings on Tuesday. Detroit recalled the star guard Sunday, putting him in line for his first NBA action since rupturing his left Achilles on Jan. 24.

EARLY RISERS

A 1 p.m. tipoff was rare for the Heat - and probably felt more strange to Portland, where at home it was 10 a.m.

“At least we’re on East Coast time,” Spoelstra said.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts found a silver lining - his team was slated to get into Atlanta by early evening and wasn’t planning for the middle-of-the-night arrival that is the NBA travel norm.

“It used to be if you played an afternoon game, it meant it was like national television. … It’s an adjustment but I like it for a change of pace,” Stotts said.

The early start might have been good practice for the Heat: They host to New Orleans at noon Friday to kick off the NBA’s Christmas Day lineup.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: At Atlanta on Monday.

Heat: Host Detroit on Tuesday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide