All the buzz was about Greg Oden's return, yet it was another rookie who stole the show for the Portland Trail Blazers.
MIAMI — All the buzz was about Greg Oden's return, yet it was another rookie who stole the show for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Rudy Fernandez scored 25 points, including a clutch spinning jumper as the shot clock expired with 44.9 seconds left, and the Blazers celebrated Oden's comeback from a sprained right foot with a 104-96 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
Brandon Roy scored 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 for the Trail Blazers. Oden, the 2007 No. 1 overall pick who missed all of last season and hadn't played since getting hurt in this season's opener, finished with three points and two rebounds in 16 minutes.
"We won and I got to play a full game, which is good for me," said Oden, who was injured in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 28 and missed six games. "I feel good."
Fernandez had all the Blazers feeling good. He made all five of his shots in the final quarter, scoring 14 points in the last 12 minutes and doing enough to snuff out every comeback bid Dwyane Wade and the Heat threw at Portland.
"The most important thing is we have played very well as a team," Fernandez said.
Wade scored 36 points — his fourth straight game of 30 or better, a franchise record — for Miami, which failed in its bid for the first 4-0 home start in team history. Wade also had eight assists and six rebounds for the Heat, who had three chances in the final 3 minutes to cut into what was a six-point Blazers lead and came up empty each time.
Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook each scored 11 points for Miami, while Chris Quinn scored 10 and Udonis Haslem finished with 11 rebounds. Miami had 19 turnovers that Portland turned into 26 points.
"We shot ourselves in the foot tonight with all the turnovers we had, especially early on and then late in the fourth when we were trying to make a comeback," Wade said. "It really hurt us."
Wade found Haslem for a basket with 1:09 left, getting Miami within 96-92, and with the shot clock running down, figured to have a chance to make it a one-possession game. But Fernandez dribbled right, then spun back left and — even though he was closely guarded by Cook — made a 20-footer to restore the six-point lead.
Wade dunked at the other end on Miami's next possession, but with the shot clock again running down on the ensuing Portland trip, South Florida native Steve Blake hit a 3-pointer from near the Heat bench with 17.1 seconds left to seal the win.
As if the win wasn't enough, the Blazers got to double their pleasure by getting Oden back on the floor.
Oden's first NBA points came with 49.4 seconds left in the opening quarter, when he leaped over Miami's Joel Anthony for an offensive rebound, spun and threw down a fierce right-handed dunk as several Portland reserves bounded off their bench.
His first basket came 504 days after getting drafted and after collecting a bit over $5 million in salary.
"It will come," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "He was aggressive. He made some plays."
Exploiting a serious size advantage — Portland used four players listed at 6-foot-11 or better in its rotation Wednesday — the Trail Blazers manhandled Miami early to build what was as much as a 12-point lead. Portland had 24 points in the paint by halftime, and in the first two quarters alone, Travis Outlaw had as many offensive rebounds (four) as Miami's entire roster collected combined.
Fernandez's four-point play with 7:48 left in the half gave the Blazers a 39-27 edge, before the Heat amped up the defensive energy and rallied.
Wade scored eight of Miami's points in a 10-0 run that cut the margin to two, and the tenor of the game changed considerably from there, with the Blazers forced to look more at the perimeter than the paint.
It helped, but it wasn't enough for the Heat. Every time Miami made a bit of a run, Portland had an answer.
"Mistakes," lamented Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Mistakes. We coughed it up on really unforced and unnecessary turnovers, and to give a really solid team like that 26 points off turnovers, it's tough."
Notes: Heat C Jamaal Magloire had his first on-court workout Wednesday since breaking his left hand last month. He's still barred from contact, but has dropped his weight to 250 (from 267) and his body fat to 9.1 percent (from 13). Magloire thinks he could play "in the next two weeks," but doctors believe it'll take a little longer. ... Portland is now 16-5 all-time when visiting Miami.