Nights like Thursday are why people started calling the Miami Heat the Big Two and a Half last year. Playing without Chris Bosh, who missed the game and will miss the next one to be with family after his grandmother died, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 71 points to lead the Heat comfortably past the Portland Trail Blazers 107-93 at the Rose Garden.
The entire game was a jaw-dropping display of basketball talent and sheer athleticism, mostly from LeBron. From ridiculous alley-oops like this one and crazy fast-break dunks like this one, James showed again why he's not only the most athletic player in the league (the only reasonable argument is Blake Griffin) but, with a line of 33 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals, one block, 13-22 shooting, including 2-2 from three-point range and 10-12 from the foul line, and zero turnovers, he's also far and away the best.
Wade isn't too shabby himself, and he racked 33 points and 10 assists in his "complementary" role. This is now nine straight wins for the Heat, all of which have come by 12 or more points, six of which have come on the road. There haven't been many better stretches of basketball in history, and they are in a separate universe from every other team in the league this year, including the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls, their presumptive challengers for the NBA title.
On the other side of the court, the Blazers simply didn't have the horses to run with the Heat on this night. Playing without Kurt Thomas, who is suffering from a concussion, and with very limited production from Marcus Camby, they had no interior presence to stop James and Wade from attacking at will. Jamal Crawford is starting at the point and he's been one of the most notorious chuckers in the league since he was a rookie. Raymond Felton was playing splendidly at the beginning of the season, but he's lost all of that magic and is a few steps away from being out of the rotation completely.
The Blazers fell to 18-18 in the loss and the Heat have tied the Thunder with the best record in the NBA at 28-7 with the win.