The Miami Heat’s two-game home winning streak came to an abrupt end as they fell 102-98 to the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.
It was announced that G Tyler Johnson would miss the game with an illness and the HEAT also lost SG Wayne Ellington midway through the third quarter as he suffered what the team calls a “mild” hamstring strain. Ellington finished with 13 points.
The Heat and Clippers traded baskets through most of what was a competitive 1st quarter, but by the 2nd quarter, the Clippers bench outplayed a Miami bench that was without one Johnson and saw the other Johnson in James in early foul trouble. The Clippers would lead 60-46 by halftime.
With sound defense and some shotmaking from the aforementioned James Johnson, the Heat would outscore the Clippers 52-42 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to pull away with the victory. The last minute of the 4th quarter featured your standard foul shooting chicanery, but thanks to a couple of Clippers miscues, Miami got as close as two points. However, with a chance to corral a Chris Paul miss on the line, DeAndre Jordan snagged the board and quickly put it back up to give the Clippers the 4 point cushion they needed to exhale.
The Clippers were fairly balanced with eight different players scoring six or more points. Blake Griffin lead the way with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists while Chris Paul had a muted (by his standards) 17-5-6 line.
Goran Dragic arguably outplayed the “Point God” Paul by leading the team in scoring with 21 while also snagging 6 boards and dishing out 11 assists with only 1 turnover. Justise Winslow had a nice game off the bench with 15 points and James Johsnon flashed his moves on his way towards 12 points, though he was 0-5 from three on a night where Miami as a team shot a poor 6-27 from beyond the arc.
One of the stories was the battle of the big men between Jordan and Whiteside. Jordan got the last laugh with his big play and the win (Whiteside was not on the floor for DeAndre’s putback), but both giants played each other to a relative draw. Jordan had 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocks while Whiteside finished with 11 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and a block of his own in 30 minutes.
Poor shooting in the 2nd quarter and struggles at the foul line hurt Miami, but this is likely the toughest game they will play during this six game homestand. They will get ready to play Boston on Sunday. Tipoff is at 6:00.