The Los Angeles Clippers found just enough juice in the second half to scrape past the Miami Heat 103-95 in the Kaseya Center Sunday evening.
The Clippers led 69-67 entering the final period. The Heat took the lead 46 seconds into the period courtesy of a Jaime Jaquez Jr. wing triple. The two teams jostled over the following two possessions, but a 15-4 Clippers outburst from the 9:11 to the 5:19 mark–a 3:52 span–made the ultimate difference. The sequence was spearheaded by James Harden–who knocked down two stepback jumpers, including one that was a four-point play (he missed the free-throw)–Norman Powell, Paul George and Mason Plumlee.
Miami eventually trimmed the lead to four points–99-95–with 13 seconds left, but the effort was too little, too late.
Sunday’s loss snaps its two-game win streak, while extending the Clippers’ win streak to three games. Los Angeles has now won eight of their last nine and 11 of their last 13. The Heat, on the other hand, have won just two of their last 10.
As a result of the Pacers and Magic wins on Sunday, the Heat dipped to No. 8 in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Heat shot 41.8 percent from the floor, but shot just 8-of-30 from 3-point range. Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Terry Rozier was arguably Miami’s best player Sunday, tallying 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals on 7-of-17 shooting. Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson posted 14 points apiece, while Adebayo hauled in 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Kawhi Leonard led the CLippers with 25 points and 11 rebounds on 8-of-16 shooting, snapping his 30-plus point streak (three games). He also had a pair of blocks and steals. James Harden tallied a near triple-double, tallying 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds on 7-of-13 shooting and 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Paul George posted 15 rebounds, seven rebounds and four assists. Norman Powell was the team’s only other double-figure scorer with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 28 minutes off the bench.
Tyler Herro was a very late scratch from Sunday’s game because it was deemed he had a headache. Duncan Robinson was the only Heat regular rotation player ruled out because of a concussion. Without two of their most productive offensive players, Butler and Adebayo did not carry the requisite intent needed–especially down the stretch–against one of the league’s deepest rosters in the Clippers.
The Heat look to get back on the right track Tuesday against the Orlando Magic, who they now trail by one game in the East standings. What were your takeaways from the game? Let us know in the comments!
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