With a potential blockbuster trade featuring the arrival of Andre Iguodala waiting in the wings, the Miami Heat’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers almost felt like an afterthought while the NBA waits on which players will be involved in the deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and potentially the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though the Heat led at halftime, a poor third quarter doomed them on their way to a 128-111 loss in a game that also saw Jimmy Butler leave in the second half with a strained right shoulder.
The Clippers made 23 3-pointers tonight, a franchise record for the team and the most ever for a Heat opponent, including 16 in the second half and yet somehow the Heat got to within six points with six minutes left in the game before Landry Shamet scored 12 points to ice the game for Los Angeles. The home team’s bench outscored Miami 63-47 as their depth wore them down, with Tyler Herro and Meyers Leonard out with injury and Dion Waiters and James Johnson being held up in the locker room as trade rumors swirl.
Miami was up 58-55 at the half but were outscored 37-22 in the third quarter, though Butler’s injury overshadowed any immediate concerns about how effective their zone defense was against the Clippers’ hot shooting. Bam Adebayo did fill up the box score with 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists but it still felt like he should have done more to lead the team in Butler’s absence as an All-Star should.
Derrick Jones Jr. enjoyed a career-high 25 points on a highly-efficient 10-12 shooting to lead the team, including 3-5 from beyond the arc, in addition to nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Heat two-way player Gabe Vincent quickly hit three of his first four 3-point attempts but cooled off significantly in the second half — though he wasn’t the only Heat player to be guilty of that.
With so many players out, Goran Dragic was the only other reserve with significant minutes and he finished with 13 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Miami falls to 12-12 on the road this season and will next face the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Who will actually be on the roster by then is anyone’s guess at this point.