NBA: Heat topple Blazers behind big 4th-quarter run

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 06 2022 07:40 PM

Portland Trail Blazers USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) defends Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) during the first half at Moda Center. Troy Wayrynen, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

Max Strus shot 7-of-13 from 3-point range and scored a team-high 25 points in his return, and the Miami Heat used an 18-4 run in the fourth quarter to hold off the host Portland Trail Blazers 115-109 Wednesday.

Behind the shooting of Strus and Duncan Robinson, both of whom made their return from health and safety protocols, Miami hit 19-of-41 from 3-point range. Robinson scored all 12 of his points off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting from deep.

Strus connected on back-to-back 3-pointers during the Heat's decisive, fourth-quarter run, then dished the last of his five assists to Omer Yurtseven to cap the scoring burst. 

Yurtseven finished with 14 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds, just one off the career-best he set Monday at Golden State.

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With season-long leading scorer Jimmy Butler out due to an ankle injury, the reserves helped carry the weight with a 44-22 advantage over the Blazers' bench. Tyler Herro scored 16 points to join starters Strus, Yurtseven, Caleb Martin and P.J. Tucker in double-figures.

Martin scored 11 points. Tucker posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and his six assists were second on the team behind only Kyle Lowry's nine.

Lowry was ejected in the second quarter after earning his second technical foul for tossing the ball to an official. Lowry played just 16 minutes.

Portland trailed almost the entire night, and by as many as 19 points in the second quarter. But behind Anfernee Simons, who scored a game-high 28 points, the Blazers chipped away at the deficit.

Simons hit three of his five 3-pointers in a 1:59 stretch of the third quarter to ignite a 14-6 run. Simons then scored the final five points of the period to have Portland within a basket going into the final quarter.

The Blazers forced a 90-90 tie on a Dennis Smith Jr. layup with 9:41 remaining but could not take the lead. After Jusuf Nurkic laid in two of his 14 points to pull Portland to a 94-92 deficit, Miami scored the next eight points.

Norman Powell scored seven of his 26 points in the final minute, cutting the deficit to as few as four points, but it was not enough.

Nurkic finished with a double-double in the loss, grabbing 13 rebounds.