Five Takeaways: Clippers Hold Off Heat, 102-98
LOS ANGELES – A 16-point Clippers lead dwindled down to one in the final seconds Friday night, but the Clippers (20-7) managed to close out the Heat (9-18) and stretch their winning streak to four games with a 102-98 victory.
Here are five takeaways from the Clippers’ win against the Heat.
1) DeAndre Boardin’ – Whether or not Hassan Whiteside’s pre-game comments had anything to do with it, DeAndre Jordan looked energized Friday night. Reports came out before the game that Whiteside, when comparing the two centers, said all Jordan does is catch lobs. Whiteside later clarified that his comments were misinterpreted, tweeting that Jordan’s one of the top centers in the league. Regardless, all eyes were on the big men Friday night, and Jordan showed off every other parts of his game that got him named last year to the First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defensive Teams, sending one of his three blocks past half court and pulling down 19 rebounds, including a crucial one late. With the Clippers leading by two points and fewer than 10 seconds left, he cleaned up a missed Chris Paul free throw and put it back in, giving the Clippers a four-point win.
2) Another 20 – Blake Griffin recorded his third straight game with at least 20 points since returning from a sore knee, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Most of his work since his return has come from his jumper, on his way to a 9-for-14 shooting night in Orlando and a 9-for-15 night in Miami, including a buzzer-beating jumper to end the first half and get the Clippers to 60 points at the time.
3) Mr. 800 – Chris Paul took advantage of career game No. 800. And like a savvy veteran, he did what needed to be done to close out the Heat. Paul knew another foul for Miami meant free throws for the Clippers with a couple minutes remaining and the Clippers’ lead dwindling down to five. Stuck at 92 points for more than two minutes late in the game, Paul drew a foul on James Johnson, whose momentum carried him into Paul at half court. After hitting 1-of-2 free throws, the Clippers forced a turnover, and Paul came back down court and drilled a floater. Only John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson have tallied more assists than Paul through 800 games, and no player has matched Paul’s output in points, assists and steals through that many games.
4) Fond of free throws – The Clippers have shot better than 70 percent from the line every game this month, and Friday was no exception, going 79.3 percent from the line. With the lead dwindling late, they needed every one they could get. Griffin, Raymond Felton and Marreese Speights combined to go 10-for-10 from the line.
5) Strong second – A strong offensive start got the Clippers out to a 31-27 lead after one. But it was the second quarter that put the Clippers in control most of the night, with the reserves starting the quarter on a 7-2 run, before the rest of the team picked it up from there. By the end of the quarter, the Clippers had outscored the Heat by 10 to take a 14-point lead to the half, at which point Griffin led all scorers with 13 points and Jordan already had 11 rebounds and two blocks.
What’s Next? – The Clippers finish their three-game road trip Sunday in Washington.