Weekly lineup

  Tuesday, Dec. 7 10:00pm ET
Blazers shoot 35 percent after 1st quarter

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Strong defense and the emergence of a little-known point guard have keyed Miami's march up the West Coast.

Alonzo Mourning scored 17 points and Jamal Mashburn added 16 Tuesday night as the Heat defeated the cold-shooting Portland Trail Blazers 86-76, avenging a loss to the Blazers in Miami three weeks ago.

Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Mourning tries to score over Portland's Brian Grant as the Heat's P.J. Brown, left, tries to help out.

"This time we were a little more determined," said Mourning, who also had six blocks. "I think the biggest key was the effort plays that we made: guys diving on the floor, loose balls, charges being taken, steals. Those are the types of things that win ball games."

The Blazers were a disappointment in the matchup between two of the NBA's best teams. Portland shot just 35 percent after the first quarter, when it led 25-24.

Mourning had a lot to do with that, leading a defensive effort that produced six Blazers turnovers in the fourth quarter.

"Maybe on paper we've got all this talent, but we have to go out and perform, and we're not doing that now," said Portland's Greg Anthony, whose team has lost four of its last nine after starting 10-1. "We're not playing anywhere near the level we can."

The Blazers made just two of nine shots to open the fourth, and Miami slowly pulled away from a 67-65 lead. A 3-pointer by Voshon Lenard made it 78-68 with 4:09 left, and Portland couldn't get closer than six the rest of the way.

Anthony, starting for injured Blazers point guard Damon Stoudamire, scored 19 points but shot just 5-of-14. Rasheed Wallace had 14 points.

Mourning, coming off a season-high 25 points in a 99-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, made his first five shots and scored 11 points in the first quarter to go with three blocks. He was quiet after that and missed his first four shots of the fourth until a 20-foot jumper made it 75-67 Miami with 5:25 to go.

"Mourning dominated inside," Blazers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He was always marching in there, and he was a presence in the post. Were we intimidated by Mourning? Maybe. I don't know. But I do know their defense was too strong for us."

Miami rookie Anthony Carter, starting his second straight game at point guard for the injured Tim Hardaway, had another strong game. He scored 14 points, one night after getting a season-high 20.

"With Tim being out, I'm gonna get my chance to play," said Carter, who played in the CBA last season. "Every chance I get, I've got to take advantage of it."

After an early turnover, Mourning took Carter aside and gave him a tongue-lashing. "We're on the road, right?" Mourning barked. "Take care of the ball!"

"I love the little fella. He gives it all he's got," Mourning said after the game. "He's relaxing now. I think at the beginning he had people telling him things, and it was kind of tough for him to digest everything. But now he's settled in. He's not thinking, he's just reacting."

Portland dropped to 15-5 and fell a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division. Atlantic-leading Heat improved to 14-4.

Anthony made his first start of the season after Stoudamire was scratched from the lineup because of a bruised left quadriceps.

The Heat looked like they were in trouble when they shot 58 percent in the first half, held the Blazers to 28 percent in the second quarter and still led just 47-43 at halftime.

Portland missed nine of its first 10 shots in the second and trailed by as many as 11, but a put-back dunk by Pippen, followed by two free throws and a backdoor layup by Anthony cut the lead to four at the half.

The Blazers kept it close in the third, countering a 3-pointer by Miami's Dan Majerle with a hook by Arvydas Sabonis to pull within 67-63 entering the fourth.

Majerle scored eight points to reach 10,000 for his career.

Game notes
The Heat finish their road trip with games at Sacramento, Seattle and Golden State. ... Miami has trailed after one quarter only three times this season -- its last three games. ... Hardaway sat out his seventh game with an injured right knee. The earliest he can come back is Saturday at Seattle. Miami is 6-1 without him. ... Portland has held its opponent under 100 points in 19 of 20 games this season. ... Track and field stars Marion Jones and Michael Johnson were in the crowd. ... Miami is 2-1 on its 13-day, six-game road trip, the teams' longest of the season.


NBA Scoreboard

Miami Clubhouse

Portland Clubhouse

Toronto 101
Cleveland 98

New York 89
Golden State 83

Indiana 83
San Antonio 77

Detroit 116
Milwaukee 112

Vancouver 104
Dallas 95

Phoenix 110
Orlando 107

Miami 86
Portland 76

LA Lakers 91
Washington 80