Published January 12, 2013
| Sports Network
So far the defending champion Miami Heat have come up short on the first two tests of their six-game road trip, which continues Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings.
The Heat were last in action during a close 92-90 setback against the Portland Trail Blazers Thursday at the Rose Garden, where Wesley Matthews hit two 3- pointers in the final minute and put the hosts ahead for good on a triple with 26.9 seconds remaining in the game.
LeBron James finished with just 15 points, the first time all season he's been held below 20 points. James was 12 games away from matching the most consecutive 20-point games to start a season since the NBA-ABA merger at 45, held by George Gervin in 1981-82.
Chris Bosh netted 29 points to lead the Heat, who have dropped three of four and five of their last eight games. Miami turned the ball over 17 times, which led to 19 Portland points.
Miami, which is averaging 107.1 points per game in its 23 wins, needs to shoot 50 percent or better for a chance to crack the win column on this road trip. It is 13-1 this season when shooting at least 50 percent from the field, including 31-1 through last season.
In injury news for the Heat, forward Shane Battier (hamstring) is doubtful against the Kings and did not play at Portland. He is averaging 6.1 ppg.
The Heat still have to visit Utah, Golden State and the Los Angeles Lakers on the road trip, and are 7-8 away from south Florida.
Meanwhile, Sacramento has lost three in a row, is 2-4 in the New Year and fell to 0-2 on a five-game homestand with Thursday's 117-112 overtime loss to Dallas. The Kings led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Kings, who are 10-9 in California's capital. Cousins, who was recently suspended one game for conduct detrimental to the team, was whistled for a flagrant two foul when he shoved Mavericks guard Vince Carter in the face.
"Well, things happen in the heat of the battle and it's unfortunate, that it happened that way. I didn't see it happen, I just saw the guy on the floor. I won't really know what happened until I get a chance to look at the film," Kings coach Keith Smart said of the foul and Cousins' ejection.
Tyreke Evans had 20 points and seven boards off the bench in the loss. Evans appeared in his second game since missing 11 in a row with a balky knee.
Cousins is averaging 20.5 points and 12.3 rebounds in the past eight games, but needs to control his temper. Marcus Thornton had missed five straight games because of a sprained left ankle and returned to the lineup versus the Mavericks, scoring no points in seven minutes as a reserve.
Sacramento will host Cleveland and Washington on the residency.
The Kings lost the only meeting with Miami last season, a 120-108 setback at AmericanAirlines Arena Feb. 21. Dwyane Wade scored 30 points and dished out 10 assists in that one for the Heat, winners in seven straight and 15 of the past 16 meetings between the teams.
Miami has won three straight and six of its last seven at Sacramento.