Blazers Take Heat, Best Record

Linda Powers and Goldie, her chihuahua, walk near their storm-damaged home near Little Rock, Ark., Thursday, March 9, 2006. Storms moving across the South on Thursday brought winds strong enough to rip off roofs and blow apart barns. Thousands of people lost power in Arkansas, and a lightning-sparked house fire killed a man. (AP Photo/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rick McFarland) ** MANDATORY CREDIT **
AP Photo/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A frustrated Alonzo Mourning held up two fingers as he walked off the court and shouted, "Two weeks!"

Not exactly, Alonzo. You and the Miami Heat will actually have to wait three weeks for a rematch against the Portland Trail Blazers.

In an early-season test of East vs. West, Portland ran off nine consecutive points down the stretch to beat the Heat 101-96 Tuesday night.

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  • The teams came into the game tied for the best record in the NBA at 6-1. The defeat snapped the Heat's five-game winning streak.

    "It hurts when you know you were the better team this evening," Mourning said. "We had them on the ropes and didn't put them away. But we'll see them again."

    The only other regular-season meeting between the two teams will be Dec. 7 in Portland.

    A basket by Rasheed Wallace started the Trail Blazers' 9-0 run and put them ahead 88-87 the eighth and last lead change. Scottie Pippen made two free throws, then hit a 3-pointer to make the score 95-87 with 2 1/2 minutes to go.

    Miami was never closer than five points the rest of the way.

    "They made the shots when they needed to," said the Heat's Tim Hardaway, who had 17 points and 10 assists.

    "We put ourselves in a position to win," Pippen said. "When you're playing on the road, you really just want to keep it close and give yourself a chance."

    Pippen had 20 points and 13 rebounds, playing 39 minutes despite hurting his right calf in the first quarter.

    "Scottie was a real warrior tonight," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He was really tough down the stretch."

    Wallace led Portland with 22 points, twice beating P.J. Brown for acrobatic alley-oop dunks, including the game's first basket off the opening tip.

    As usual, the Blazers' bench provided a boost. Portland's reserves outscored Miami's 27-15.

    "They're talented and experienced and very deep," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "They've got veterans coming off the bench who have been front-line players before."

    Mourning scored 23 points and Jamal Mashburn 21 for the Heat, but they fell shy of 100 points for only the third time.

    Miami shot 63 percent to take a 45-37 lead. Portland then scored 12 points in a row, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Pippen, to go ahead 49-45.

    "When we were down by eight in the first half, we knew we had to be careful," Dunleavy said. "They're the type of team that can knock you out of the box in a hurry."

    The Heat missed nine of 10 shots during one stretch, then warmed up again and took their first lead of the second half, 79-77, on Voshon Lenard's 3-pointer. Consecutive 3-pointers by Dan Majerle put Miami ahead 85-82 with 7:27 to go.

    Portland then mounted one final comeback.

    "The Heat is as good, if not better, than any team we've played," Dunleavy said. "You can expect them to contend, not only here in the East, but for the championship."

    Notes

  • Miami reserve forward Clarence Weatherspoon sat out the game with a pulled hamstring. His status is day to day.
  • Miami and Portland didn't play each other in the strike-shortened 1999 season.
  • The Heat, who led 31-23 at the end of the first quarter, have led after one period in each of their eight games.
  • The Blazers took a 74-71 lead into the fourth quarter. They've led after three periods in every game.

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