Five Takeaways: Clippers Win Fourth Straight, Beating Heat At Home
LOS ANGELES – The Clippers’ (26-14) defensive effort and record continued to trend the right direction Sunday afternoon, beating the Heat (11-28) for their fourth straight win to start January.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 98-86 win.
1) Rivers sick, Felton starts – Austin Rivers has been on fire, scoring at least 24 points in back-to-back games, but it was his internal heat that kept him out of the lineup Sunday afternoon. Head coach Doc Rivers said Austin has the flu and played through a 101-degree fever against Sacramento. “Then it got worse,” Doc said. To make up for the loss, the Clippers put Raymond Felton in the starting lineup and stuck with the three-guard look. Felton finished with seven points, seven rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes.
2) Defense digs in again – Before the start of January, the Clippers hadn’t held an opponent to worse than 40 percent shooting since Nov. 9. They’ve now done it twice this month. After holding their first three opponents of the month to 38.2 percent, 43.2 percent and 41.4 percent shooting, the Clippers built off those strong defensive performances with their best one of the month Sunday afternoon against the Heat, limiting Miami to 36.9 percent shooting – tied for the third lowest shooting performance against the Clippers this season.
3) Redick keeps rolling – After going 5-for-9 from long distance in Sacramento, J.J. Redick followed that up with a team-high 25 points Sunday afternoon, going 4-for-7 from deep and 8-for-16 from the floor. Redick’s now averaging 3.5 3-pointers per game in January and has at least 19 points in every game this month. Redick’s hot start might’ve caused some frustration for the Heat. Miami was whistled for multiple technicals and lost Dion Waiters to an ejection, as Walters delivered an elbow to the back of the head of Redick, who was boxing him out.
4) Chris Paul puts ribbon on win – Paul said he thought he’d have more confidence in his second game back from injury, and it certainly looked that way on his way to 19 points, 18 assists and six rebounds and just one turnover. Paul already had a double-double at the half, and after the Clippers surged into the fourth quarter off a Brandon Bass dunk, steal and J.J. Redick buzzer-beating layup finish, it was Paul making sure the lead stayed at a comfortable margin early in the fourth quarter. Paul wrapped a pass around a defender for a Bass dunk, then found Marreese Speights for a 3-pointer, made a shot, then weaved a pass into Speights for a finish inside on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions.
5) Bass and Buckets – Bass scored 10 points off the bench, providing a boost off the bench with dunk after dunk, but it was Marreese Speights leading the bench effort. “Mo Buckets” went 6-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-5 from deep on his way to 19 points in 15 minutes before fouling out, giving Speights his first double-digit scoring effort of January and his 17th of the season.
What’s Next? – The Clippers host the Magic on Wednesday.