Heat overcomes poor start, beats Portland to win fifth in a row. Takeaways, details

Five takeaways from the Heat’s 106-96 win on Tuesday night in Portland:

A night after one of its most satisfying victories of the season, the Heat came out shooting blanks and handling the ball carelessly against a bad team before order was restored with a very good second half.

Like in Sacramento a night earlier, the Heat seized on a dominant third quarter, then made big plays late to claim a fifth consecutive victory, all of them coming on the road.

Miami – which has won nine of its last 11 - improved to 3-0 on this Western Conference swing, with one game remaining Thursday in Denver, a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.

A night after outscoring the Kings 36-19 in the third quarter, the Heat outscored the Blazers 34-20 in the third, flipping a 14-point second quarter deficit into a four-point lead heading into the fourth.

Doomed by errant shooting and four early turnovers by Bam Adebayo, the Heat dug itself an early 22-7 hole, trailed 28-15 after one and 56-46 at the half.

But the Heat began the second half on an 8-0 run featuring two threes from Duncan Robinson and a steal and dunk from Jimmy Butler. That Heat run stretched to 27-15, with across the board contributions, including two threes from Nikola Jovic.

Terry Rozier’s driving layup gave Miami its first lead of the night at 73-71 with four minutes left in the third.

After the Blazers tied the game twice in the fourth quarter, Kevin Love hit a three to put Miami ahead for good with just over nine minutes left. The Blazers kept fouling, and the Heat already was in the bonus with 7:58 left.

Terry Rozier hit three big jumpers (including a three) in the fourth and Portland never went ahead in the final quarter. Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s three stretched the lead to 101-90 with four minutes left.

The Heat had 11 total turnovers on Monday in Sacramento - a figure Miami reached by halftime on Tuesday in Portland. Miami committed nine more in the second half but overcame that with better defense and strong shooting.

And after opening 6 for 21 from the field, the Heat then made 22 of its next 31 shots. Miami closed at 52.9 percent from the field and 53.8 percent on threes (14 for 26).

Portland, which made 9 of its first 19 threes, then missed 9 of its next 10, closing at 10 for 31.

“Back to backs are tough,” Robinson said. “We are building resolve and identity. When you build that identify, you can resort back to that always” in adversity.

After taking just one shot in the first quarter, Butler put his imprint on the game. And his teammates followed.

Butler began the second quarter with two drives resulting in baskets and free throws, then passed to Delon Wright for a dunk, then drove for another layup.

“It feels good to be back with my guys, help get a W,” said Butler, who missed Monday’s game in Sacramento because of a one-game NBA suspension for his role in an altercation between the Heat and Pelicans during Friday’s game in New Orleans.

Butler also had an aggressive bent to start the third quarter and drove for a dunk late in the third after a brief rest. He finished with 22 points (7 for 11 shooting) and 9 assists, plus 4 steals, 2 blocks and just one turnover.

“Jimmy kind of controlled things in the third quarter, beginning of the fourth quarter,” Spoelstra said. “We were able to play out of his actions. We were able to slow the game down.”

Robinson sparked the second half rally with the two threes and closed with 17 points on 5 for 8 shooting, including 4 for 6 on threes. That eruption came a night after shooting 1 for 11 (but with 11 assists) in Sacramento.

“I’m the beneficiary of attention” that teammates draw, Robinson said.

Rozier, returning after a 15-day absence, had two big baskets in the fourth en route to finishing with 19 points on 7 for 14 shooting.

“T-Ro was really good,” Spoelstra said. “Got in a better rhythm. Everyone wants him to be him.”

Bam Adebayo had six turnovers and missed four of seven free throws but chipped in 13 points and 9 rebounds.

Another game, another new starting lineup. And this time, it tied a record.

The Heat started its 31st different quintet this season, equaling the franchise record for a single season.

This time, it was Rozier (back after missing four games with a sprained knee) starting alongside Butler and Jovic (who were both returning from a one-game NBA suspension), Adebayo and Robinson.

That group started sluggishly, shooting 3 for 9 and committing four turnovers (all by Adebayo) in falling behind 17-7 before Jaquez Jr. replaced Butler.

The Heat’s 15 first quarter points tied its season low and tied for its second-fewest in any quarter this season.

But that starting five was very good to start the second half, outscoring Portland 18-11 before Jaquez replaced Butler.

“It was ugly at times but learning how to win is a talent in this league and we were able to do that tonight,” Spoelstra said.

The Heat remained without Tyler Herro (left knee hyperextension), Josh Richardson (right shoulder dislocation), Thomas Bryant (league suspension), Jamal Cain (G League assignment), Orlando Robinson (lower back spasms), Dru Smith (right knee surgery) and Cole Swider (G League).

With Spoelstra opting to stick with Jovic in the starting lineup, Caleb Martin moved to the bench after seven consecutive starts and Haywood Highsmith was the 10th Heat player to enter.

All 11 available for Miami played except Alondes Williams, who’s on a two-way contract.

There was one briefly worrisome moment, when Love went down for three minutes after taking a knee in the midsection from DeAndre Ayton while drawing a charge. But Love stayed in the game and again played well.

The Trail Blazers, who entered Tuesday with the NBA’s fifth-worst record at 15-41, played without their top point guards (Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon), plus Shaedon Sharpe, Robert Williams III and Moses Brown.

Jerami Grant (24 points) and Anfernee Simons (26 points) had good nights for the Trail Blazers. After a strong first half, DeAndre Ayton left for good in the third quarter with hand spasms.

Rozier played well in his first game back.

After missing four games with a sprained knee sustained on Super Bowl Sunday against Boston, Rozier returned to the Heat’s starting lineup and opened 1 for 5, continuing the shooting struggles that have plagued him since being acquired from Charlotte.

But Rozier hit 4 of his next 6 attempts and he’s helping the Heat play with more pace – and in transition. On one beautiful sequence, he faked a pass while streaking down-court and hit a layup and drew a foul. He followed that with a three-pointer a minute later.

Rozier entered Tuesday with 56 assists and 11 turnovers in his first 10 games with the Heat. On Tuesday, he had four assists and two turnovers. He also blocked two shots and had a steal.

The perimeter shooting remains uneven. Rozier entered Tuesday shooting 35.9 percent with the Heat, a full 10 percentage points less than what he shot for Charlotte this season. He entered at 23.4 percent on threes (11 for 47) since joining the Heat.

He hit a big three to put Miami ahead 94-88 midway through the fourth, then made two jumpers later to help seal it.

“I respect how much time he put into this to get back and fast track this,” Spoelstra said of his knee injury.

In winning for the ninth time in 11 games, the Heat jumped to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

With Philadelphia losing in Boston, Miami leapfrogged the 76ers in the standings. The teams have the same 33-25 record, but Miami leads the season series-2-0.

The Heat trails No. 4 New York by just 1.5 games after the Knicks were blown out at home by the Pelicans.

With Joel Embiid out indefinitely for the 76ers, the Knicks dealing with injuries and the Heat on a roll, Miami has a real opportunity to seize home court advantage in the first round.

“You can sense the group is sensing an opportunity right now,” Spoelstra said. “We have a bunch of competitors in our locker room, as things start to really become about competing against teams that are fighting for playoff positioning.

“It makes things come alive if you’re a competitor. It’s not that we’re obsessed looking at the standings, but we’re all human. We’re competitors. We look at the standings. It’s good for the league....for the players.”