Miami Heat move up in East standings after comeback win in Portland

The Miami Heat, winners of five straight, are now fifth in the East.
Feb 27, 2024; Portland, Oregon, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) looks to drive to the
Feb 27, 2024; Portland, Oregon, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) looks to drive to the / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat continued to roll with a 106-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, extending the win streak to five.

They have now won nine of their last 11 games, finding rhythm after the All-Star break. Jimmy Butler returned from his one-game suspension and led the Heat with 22 points and nine assists. Despite a slow start for Miami, they clawed out with a clutch win on the road. 

Jimmy Butler returned from his suspension to lead the Miami Heat to a comeback win in Portland.

Miami found themselves down 0-8 to start the game, with Portland leading by as many as 15 in the first quarter. Butler turned up the Heat after they struggled against the Trail Blazers defense. He took over the game in terms of ball handling and setting up the offense, putting the game in the Miami’s hands after a first half. 

There was a fire in the Trail Blazers right out of the gate after suffering eight straight losses. They went right at Miami and picked up momentum by knocking down shots from beyond the arc. The Heat entered the locker room down 58-46, scoring 15 points in the first quarter. 

There were a couple of standard points to Miami’s comeback in showing the reason why they were always going to win the game. Portland showed their best hand in the first quarter and the Heat played one of the quarters all season. Three-point shooting, depth, and second half defense led to Miami’s victory. 

The Heat shot 53.8% from three-point land, with six of the seven players that attempted a three shooting over 50%. Duncan Robinson guided Miami in that category, punching in four of his six attempts. Jaime Jaquez Jr., Kevin Love, and Nikola Jovic each had a pair of triples. 

Another key factor to the Heat’s success was its defense. They kept the Trail Blazers under 100 points, which is rare in the modern day NBA. Portland scored just 40 points in the second half as Miami finished the game with eight steals and eight blocks. 

There’s a certain level of comradery around the team that was lacking for the first 40 games of the season. Head coach Erik Spoelstra is finding specific lineups that work in unison and the Heat are working through one of the deepest teams they’ve had in years. 

Spoelstra dealt with another next-man-up game, getting Butler and Jovic back from suspension while dealing with injuries from contributors like Tyler Herro and Josh Richardson. The road has become a massive boost for Miami as they look to improve from an underwhelming first half of the season. They now stand as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference standings.