Summer League Recap: Game 4 | 7/8/15
The Clippers’ furious comeback attempt fell just short Wednesday.
Guard Diante Garrett scored 20 points in his first Summer League start and the Clippers (1-3) erased a 13-point fourth quarter deficit, but a tie game with 42 seconds remaining tilted in favor of the Heat (4-0) in an 87-85 loss.
“The effort was great,” said head coach Brendan O’Connor. “It’s hard to win a game when a team makes more free throws than you attempt. We showed up in the first quarter and the fourth, but we slipped a little in the middle.”
C.J. Wilcox hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 85, giving the Clippers a chance late. Garrett drove through the lane with fewer than 10 seconds remaining, but his shot attempt was met by Miami’s Willie Reed, who finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
After the block, the Heat’s Shabazz Napier hit two free throws and the Clippers couldn’t get a shot up on their final possession as the buzzer sounded.
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Garrett, who was starting for the injured Nate Wolters and had six rebounds, three assists and three steals to go with his 20 points, said the performance would’ve felt better with a win.
“Personally, I think I could play a whole lot better,” Garrett said. “But I’ve just been bringing that energy and helping the team out with whatever it was. Today, coach (O’Connor) wanted me to be aggressive and look to score, and I think I did pretty good on that.”
O’Connor had preached the importance of getting off to better starts, and that was executed for the second straight game Wednesday. All five starters had at least four points by the end of the first quarter. Garrett had six points, an assist and a steal in the first quarter, while Dawson stayed hot by ending the opening quarter 4-of-5 from the floor with eight points, five rebounds, a block and an assist.
The Clippers went on a 16-3 run late in the first quarter, turning a three-point deficit into a 10-point lead, sparked by Garrett and Dawson.
But things started to unravel late in the second quarter. The Clippers led, 33-25, when the Heat went on a 16-6 run to end the half. The Clippers missed their last seven shots of the second quarter, allowing Miami to creep back in, mostly from the free-throw line. The Heat went 34-of-41 from the line in the game.
The scoreless skid continued for the Clippers into the second half. An 8-0 Heat run at the end of the first half stretched to an 18-0 run early in the third quarter, which finally came to an end on a jumper from D.J. Newbill, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and snapped a six-minute scoring skid for the Clippers.
“I feel like there was a stretch there where we kind of had a drop off, but it’s a learning experience,” Newbill said. “We just have to find a way to keep that intensity rolling all throughout the game.”
The Clippers cut the double-digit deficit down to six with a 6-0 run, but the Heat closed the quarter on an 8-2 run to win the quarter and take a 13-point lead into the fourth.
Still, the Clippers made things interesting down the stretch, outscoring Miami by 11 points in the fourth quarter to give themselves a chance to beat the undefeated Heat.
“We had to step up when one of our troops went down, and I think everyone responded really good,” Garrett said. “It just would have been better if we won.”