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Heat collapse in fourth quarter, lose to Clippers 111-99

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Despite keeping things close for the majority of the game, the Heat would fall apart in the fourth quarter and lose to the Clippers.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

1st Quarter:

Miami drew first blood with Josh Richardson finding Justise Winslow for an easy bucket. Hassan would follow up with two big buckets as well (one great one off a behind the back pass from Tyler Johnson).

The Heat got out to an early lead, but the Clippers weren’t far behind, sinking open jumpers with ease.

Both defenses were porous as both teams traded buckets on nearly every possession in the opening minutes.

One thing that was very noticeable was how well Miami worked to share the ball. Nobody settled for average jump shots, instead Miami pushed through to find the best look. While it wasn’t always effective (there is such a thing as per passing) when it worked, it worked extremely well.

Finding himself in the starting lineup, Tyler would make the most of his opportunity as he took multiple charges on the defensive ends and converted on some good looks on offense.

Tobias Harris carried the Clippers as he tore through the Miami defense scoring an effortless 9 points in the quarter.

Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters would check in and provide an immediate scoring punch towards the end of the quarter. Miami led by four going into the 2nd.

2nd Quarter

Dwyane Wade opened the second quarter with a beautiful And-one in the post off an assist from Dion.

The Clippers once again struggled with Miami’s zone defense, and their missed shot attempts turned into multiple Heat buckets.

Lou Williams found some success from beyond the arc, as did other Clippers but it wasn’t enough to completely dismantle the Heat defense.

Derrick Jones Jr. continued his strong play, finding his way to the free throw line and working hard to create offensive opportunities for himself. While sometimes he gets in over his head, DJJ has the right idea the majority of the time. He’s going to get better, and he’s already shown a significant improvement.

Miami continued their exceptional ball sharing, extending their lead off buckets from James Johnson, and Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow.

Tobias Harris was relentless, doing everything he could to keep the Clippers within striking distance. His success was contagious as the Clippers began to pick up steam with buckets from Gortat, and Avery Bradley. They’d go on a 13-3 scoring to take a short lived lead, as Miami tied things up at 50.

Wade, Richardson, and Hassan would all contribute in the final minute, but things would remain tied 54-54 headed into the second half.

3rd Quarter

The Clippers controlled things to start the third, but Miami would ease back in to keep things tied. Both teams went quiet on offense for a little while, a testament to the defense of both squads. Still for Miami, it was Hassan leading the charge scoring the only buckets (6 points) of the first four minutes.

With Miami’s offense stagnated, the Clippers took advantage taking a five point lead.

Miami would break out of their scoring drought off a three and huge slam by J-Rich.

The Clippers wouldn’t slow down with Tobias Harris continuing to lead the charge. The Heat had their chances and converted on some,but the Clippers would control the end of the period and take a five point lead into the final quarter.

4th Quarter:

The Clippers controlled things to start the fourth, with Miami continuing to struggle on the offensive end. Bam did his best to keep Miami in, but the great shots Miami found in the first half just weren’t there.

This forced Miami to settle for bad shots and fail to dig out of the hole they found themselves in.

While Miami struggled, the Clippers continued to press on putting together an 11-2 scoring run.

Bam’s fouls would force Hassan Whiteside into some fourth quarter action. With less than 7 minutes remaining the Heat reverted back to their zone defense in a desperation move.

The Heat defense looked completely disorganized as the Clippers continued their offensive assault. After keeping things close the entire game and leading for long stretches, Miami looked to just accept defeat.

Tyler Johnson tried to get things going with less than 4 minutes left, but it was too little too late. The Heat showed some positives down the stretch, but the fourth was a largely embarrassing effort.

As we approach the trade deadline, the Heat front office has some decisions to make.