SACRAMENTO -- One day after passing up a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer against the Portland Trail Blazers, Heat center Chris Bosh said he made the right play.
The Heat, 0-2 on its current six-game road trip, lost to the Trail Blazers 92-90 on Thursday night. On the game’s final play, LeBron James, who finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, dribbled at the top of the key with time running down before bolting to the basket.
The drive collapsed the Trail Blazers’ defense, and James turned in midair and found Bosh open just outside the paint. Bosh, who made his final seven shots of the game, turned down the look and instead deferred to Mario Chalmers, who was positioned behind Bosh and just outside the three-point arc.
“I don’t consider the past,” Bosh said Friday, a practice day for the Heat at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena. “The game never comes down to one play, and I made the right play.”
Chalmers was subbed out of the game with 3:54 left in the third quarter before entering for the final play.
“If Rio makes it, then it’s a great play, it’s a great assist,” Bosh said. “If he doesn’t, then it’s like, ‘Would you shoot it again?’ or ‘Should you have shot it?’
“I made the right play. … Yeah, I could have shot it. I could have took a dribble either way and shot it, but as soon as I saw [defender Wesley Matthews], I made my check to the corner, Rio actually made a great play in coming up and it was a game-winning shot. I guarantee you, if he gets to that place and that position again, he’s going to knock it down.”
After the game, Chalmers called the odd situation at the end of the game a first for his career.
Never before could he recall sitting out an entire fourth quarter, then entering the game for the last play and attempting a potential game-winner.
“It’s hard, sitting the last three minutes of the third, the whole fourth and then coming in in the last 10 seconds, but it’s one of those moments where you got to be ready,” Chalmers said.
Miami, at 23-11 overall, remains atop the Eastern Conference, but the Heat has won just three of its past eight games. Although several aspects of the Heat’s game showed signs of improvement against the Trail Blazers, the Heat is still struggling on the road to begin the season. The team is 7-8 away from Miami.
Miami held Portland to 37.5 percent shooting and tied the Trail Blazers in rebounding at 45. Normally, those numbers are more than enough for a victory, especially considering the Heat has had the best offense in the NBA to begin the season.
“Trying not to let it linger — that’s the biggest challenge,” Bosh said. “Win or lose, we knew it wasn’t going to turn around today. It takes a while. We just have to really dissect this game and see what we could have done better on offense and defense and just get ready for the next one.”
James and Dwyane Wade struggled offensively Thursday, combining to shoot 12 of 34. For James, the game marked the end of his consecutive games streak of at least 20 points. He scored at least 20 points in the first 33 games of this season. Dating to last season, the streak ended at 54 games.
James and Wade said that they recognized early against the Trail Blazers that Bosh had the hot hand. Bosh was 13-of-18 shooting and scored 29 points, but he went with his instincts on the final play of the game. Chalmers was, after all, wide open with a chance to win the game on the road.
It was Bosh’s best game offensively since scoring 22 points on New Year’s Eve in the Heat’s overtime victory against the Magic at Amway Center. Bosh said he is most effective when he reminds himself during games to remain active.
“For me, it helps when I’m thinking about it constantly because it puts pressure on myself to produce no matter what — constantly making plays and looking for plays to make,” Bosh said.