An uninspiring final three quarters for the Miami Heat led to its demise Monday evening on the road against the Los Angeles Clippers, falling 121-104.
The Heat–without Jimmy Butler, Josh Richardson, Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith–jumped out to a quick 35-23 advantage after one quarter and 14 midway through the second.
But it failed to get stops in zone defensively against the Clippers’ three-headed monster in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and James Harden, who was acquired in early November. Los Angeles converted on 60.0 percent (39-65) of its field goal attempts over the final three quarters, including 14-of-19 at the rim, 23-of-33 inside the paint and 11-of-23 from 3-point range over that span.
Los Angeles outscored Miami 98-69 over the final 36 minutes, culminating in one of the worst Heat outputs this season. It finished shooting 58.8 percent and 14-of-29 from distance; Kawhi Leonard led with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting, while Paul George tallied 23 points on 7-of-14 from the floor–both making their impact felt against the Heat’s weaker defenders.
Norman Powell punctured Miami’s zone throughout, posting 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 4-of-5 from deep in 33 minutes off the bench; Harden tallied a 15-point, 10-assist double-double on eight shots.
Bam Adebayo tallied another double-double in Monday’s loss, adding 21 points, 15 rebounds and four assists; Tyler Herro had just 12 points and six assists while Jaime Jaquez had 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and four steals in a homecoming.
Another UCLA alum, Kevin Love, had one of his best games of the season and, frankly, was arguably the Heat’s best player off the bench. He tallied 17 points, four boards, three dimes with two blocks and converted on seven of his 11 field goal attempts. Duncan Robinson also had 15 points on 3-of-7 shooting off the bench.
The Clippers have won 12 of their last 14 games, improving to 20-12 while the Heat–who have dropped two straight–fall to 19-14. The Heat will play the fourth of their five-game road trip against the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, who have not found any sort of rhythm after winning the inaugural play-in tournament in early December.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.
To check out our other content, click here.
Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Twitter/X here!
Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Instagram here!