Aldridge, Blazers' bench roll Heat, 105-96

Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews (2) shoots over Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers (15) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo)
Portland Trail Blazers' Wesley Matthews (2) shoots over Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers (15) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. (AP Photo) (AP)
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By TIM REYNOLDS
The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 6:27 AM

MIAMI -- Erik Spoelstra vowed to keep the Miami Heat fighting. Chris Bosh acknowledged he needs to do more and lobbied to get more opportunities. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade insisted their confidence remains high.

The Heat script hasn't changed much lately.

Nor have the results, as Miami's freefall continues.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, Gerald Wallace scored 22 - easily his best game since joining Portland last month - and the Trail Blazers survived a 38-point effort by Wade in beating the Heat 105-96 on Tuesday night, sending Miami to its fifth straight loss overall and sixth in eight games since the All-Star break.

"We needed that win," Blazers guard Andre Miller said. "I tried to bring some energy down the stretch. It could have easily went the other way. It was back and forth a little bit, but we were able to make some big plays."

Wade didn't have the only big night for Miami. James finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Heat, who are the 12th team in NBA history to have a 12-game winning streak and five-game losing streak in the same season.

"How do we explain it? We can't," James said. "This isn't rock bottom for us. Crazy thing is, we could lose every game and still make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference."

After Wade and James, help was fleeting. Mario Chalmers scored 10, and Bosh was held to seven points on 3 for 11 shooting.

"Certainly not easy right now and frankly, we don't have a lot of answers on how to get over this hump. The only thing we can do is keep on grinding and not ... let ... go ... of ... the ... rope," Spoelstra said, pausing between those last words for emphasis. "These are heartbreaking losses. Guys are putting everything they have into them."

Miller and Brandon Roy each scored 14 for the Blazers, who won their seventh straight on the road and fourth straight overall. Nicolas Batum scored 11 and Wesley Matthews added 10 for Portland.

"Tonight, it wasn't about Miami as opposed to the challenge was to ourselves," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Miami is a very good team. We knew that they would come out with a sense of urgency. It was a challenge for us. We knew that if we want to become one of those elite teams we have to go out and play."

The Blazers' bench outscored Miami's 41-8, easily enough to keep Miami's doldrums going strong.


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