James scores 44, Heat top Blazers in OT
Updated: 2011-01-11 07:58
PORTLAND, Ore. - LeBron James' crunch-time performance left even teammate Dwyane Wade in awe.
James had a season-high 44 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, Wade added 34 points and eight rebounds, and the Miami Heat beat the Portland Trail Blazers 107-100 in overtime Sunday night for their 13th straight road victory.
"You look at games like this and moments like this and you really understand why we decided to team up and come together," Wade said. "I am a fan of his on the court and I am just glad I get to experience this in the same jersey he wears instead of being on the other end."
James buried two deep 3-pointers and made two free throws in the extra period for the Heat (30-9), who have won 21 of their past 22 games after a slow start to the season. Chris Bosh added 18 points and eight rebounds. The Big Three combined for all but 11 of Miami's points.
Miami is three road wins away from tying the NBA record held by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat needed to scramble to keep the streak going after Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer to put the Blazers up 89-82 with 2:13 left.
James took the game over from the there, making a 3-pointer and two more free throws to tie it.
"I had to do whatever it took to win," James said. "Coach put me in that position and it created a mismatch for them and I was able to use my athleticism and quickness against whoever was on me."
LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Blazers (20-18), who had an eight-game home win streak snapped. Nicolas Batum added 22 points and Matthews had 14.
Portland had the ball with 38 seconds left in overtime, trailing 104-100, but Aldridge traveled in the backcourt. James' second three in the extra period, from 26 feet out, put away the game.
"That's what big-time players do," Matthews said. "He was coming down, hitting big shots - daggers - and we couldn't do anything about it."
Portland's veteran players were well aware that James has a history of torching the Blazers in the Rose Garden - he is averaging 33.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in his past seven games in Portland - and there was some concern in the locker-room that the intimidation factor would come into play if the game was close.
"I didn't want to jinx it pregame," Aldridge said, "but every time he's played here, he's shot the ball well. I didn't want to say that to my teammates, but he seems to save all his jump shots for us."
The Heat went into overtime for the second straight game after winning at Milwaukee on Friday. Portland led for most of the second half, but James tied it at 93 with two free throws with 24 seconds remaining. Andre Miller then missed two shots in final seconds.
Wade made his first seven shots and had 15 of the Heat's first 19 points. Miami led 38-30 in the second after Wade, James and Bosh scored in succession. However, the Blazers went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to one. The Heat led 46-44 at the break.
The third quarter belonged to Portland. Aldridge scored twice and Matthews finished a fast break with a layup to put Portland up 58-52. Rudy Fernandez made a 3-pointer to make it 65-60. Portland led 76-68 with 7:48 remaining in the game after Patrick Mills hit a three.
"There wasn't any panic in the huddle," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We just needed to clear up some of the things we were not doing."
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