Lillard clutch as Blazers cool off Heat late
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 14, 2017 11:00 AM
FILE - PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 8: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers is seen against the Utah Jazz on April 8, 2017 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Steve Wine, Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — Damian Lillard scored seven of his 18 points in the final 3:16, and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to break their five-game losing streak, beating the Miami Heat 102-95 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Lillard, who came into the game averaging 26.6 points, had only one field goal in the first 31 minutes. But he converted a three-point play put the Trail Blazers ahead to stay, 98-95, and sank two free throws on their next possession for a five-point lead.
CJ McCollum scored 28 points for the Trail Blazers (14-13). They climbed back above .500 and improved to 7-5 on the road. The Heat (13-14) fell below .500 and dropped to 5-7 at home.
Miami reserve Wayne Ellington sank seven three-pointers and scored a season-high 24 points. Dion Waiters added 17 points for the Heat, who were hurt by three missed free throws down the stretch.
Both teams were short-handed. Heat forward Justise Winslow left the game in the first half with a left knee strain and did not return, and guard Tyler Johnson sat out because of a migraine.
Miami was also without center Hassan Whiteside for a seventh consecutive games because of a bone bruise in his left knee.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 15 points and 13 rebounds for Portland.
Ellington went 5-for-5 from three-point range in the first quarter, helping Miami to a 33-21 lead.
The Heat were up by 16 in the second quarter and again in the third, but a 12-1 run by the Trail Blazers got them back in the game. Lillard's driving dunk tied it at 86 with seven minutes left.
Miami's Kelly Olynyk had a slight edge in the matchup of former Gonzaga centers. He had 10 points and six rebounds in 28 minutes, and Portland's Zach Collins had nine points and three rebounds in 21 minutes.
Trail Blazers: C Jusuf Nurkic (sprained right ankle) missed his third game in a row. ... F/C Meyers Leonard (illness) also sat out. ... F Maurice Harkless (bruised left quad) returned after missing two games.
Heat: Coach Erik Spoelstra said Whiteside is working out and feeling better, but he's not ready to return to practice.
Miami: The Heat play at Charlotte on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Miami beat the Hornets earlier this week.
Portland: The Trail Blazers continue a five-game trip when they play Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) at Orlando.