Blazers send Heat to fifth straight loss

Portland Trail Blazers’ Andre Miller (L), Gerald Wallace (C), and Rudy Fernandez congratulate each other as the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (R) looks on, during fourth quarter NBA basketball action in Miami, Florida March 8, 2011. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

I made a point to watch tonight’s game from start to finish to see how the Heat responded to the loss to the Bulls and how they weathered all of the jokes about Heat players crying in the locker room after Sunday’s defeat.

Once again, the effort was there for Miami, but the execution was not. Dwyane Wade (38 points, six rebounds, five assists) was excellent, and LeBron (31 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was pretty damn good. That means the rest of the roster accounted for just 27 points, including Chris Bosh, who shot a dreadful 3-for-11 and scored just seven points.

He was completely outplayed by LaMarcus Aldridge (26 points), who hit jumper after jumper, including a key baseline fadeaway (on Bosh) to push the lead to nine with 2:06 to play.

But the difference in the game was Gerald Wallace (22 points, nine rebounds), who keyed the Blazers’ bench and made LeBron work on both ends of the court. Wallace was a great acquisition for the Blazers and he seems to be fitting in quickly because at heart he’s more of a glue guy than he is a player who needs the ball in his hands. Brandon Roy (14 points) also came off the bench and hit a key three pointer late in the game to keep the Heat at bay.

Back to the Heat — they did run some pick and roll with Wade and LeBron, and for the most part it was successful, but the Blazers didn’t do a very good job defending it because it took them by surprise. Whenever Wade has the ball, his defender should go underneath LeBron’s ball screen and force Wade to shoot the three or dribble into the switch. By going underneath, Wade’s defender would be in great position to switch onto LeBron and defend his roll to the hoop.

On Thursday, Miami hosts the red-hot Lakers, who will be looking to avenge their blowout loss to the Heat on Christmas Day. It should be a good one.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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