The Miami Heat took their successful road show to Los Angeles on Wednesday night but the Clippers closed the curtain on it.
Blake Griffin had 24 points with 14 rebounds and the Clippers snapped the Heat’s 13-0 road run with a 111-105 victory.
The young Clippers were looking at the match-up as a measuring stick. And they stuck it to the mighty Heat, who had won nine in a row and 21 of their last 22 games.
“This shows we can play with the best,” Griffin said. “They’re very talented and have so many weapons. They’ve been playing some of the best basketball in the league right now. But we stuck to our game plan and made some big shots.” Eric Gordon scored 26 points, Baron Davis chipped in with 20 and nine assists as the Clippers (13-24) led by as many as 21 to win for the eighth time in the last 11 games in front of a wildly cheering sell-out crowd at the Staples Centre.
“This was one of the games you always remember,” Gordon said.
“This means a lot. It shows our fans what kind of team we can be.
We’ve been playing well together, we’re connected and hopefully this keeps on carrying on.” Dwyane Wade scored 31 points, LeBron James had 27 and Chris Bosh finished with 26 and 13 boards for the Heat (30-10), who lost on the road for the first time since November 27.
“We need to come out with more energy,” Bosh said. “We dug ourselves a hole, and the Clippers had a lot of confidence after the first quarter.” The Clippers shredded the league’s stingiest defence for a whopping 44 points to take an 18-point cushion after the opening quarter, and led 68-58 at halftime.
The Heat began to dig out of the hole and pulled to 94-89 on Wade’s three-pointer. James, who turned his left ankle on the previous play, buried a triple and the visitors were within 94-92 with 6:36 remaining.
But the Clippers went on a 9-3 run capped by Griffin’s ferocious two-handed slam to open up a 103-95 advantage with 4:16 left which sealed the Clippers’ biggest win of the season.
“That was too much for us to overcome,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They obviously blitzed us to start the game. It was too big of a hole.” Elsewhere: San Antonio Spurs 91, Milwaukee Bucks 84 Argentine ace Manu Ginobili scored 23 points, Matt Bonner had all 17 of his in the second half, and the NBA-best Spurs (33-6) won their fourth in a row. Australian Andrew Bogut led hosts Milwaukee (14-22) with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
LA Lakers 115, Golden State Warriors 110 Kobe Bryant scored 17 of his 39 points in the final six minutes as and visiting Lakers (29-11) stormed past the Warriors for their sixth straight win. Monta Ellis scored 38 for Golden State (15-23).
Indiana Pacers 102, Dallas Mavericks 89 Brandon Rush scored 20 points and the Pacers (16-20) beat the short-handed Mavericks, playing without their injured top scorer Dirk Nowitzki for the eighth straight game.
Charlotte Bobcats 96, Chicago Bulls 91 DJ Augustin had 22 points and 12 assists as the Bobcats (15-21) moved to 6-2 since interim head coach Paul replaced fired Larry Brown. Carlos Boozer led Chicago (25-13) with 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Memphis Grizzlies 107, Detroit Pistons 99 Zach Randolph had 34 points and 17 rebounds, leading the visiting Grizzlies (18-21) their second straight victory.
Boston Celtics 119, Sacramento Kings 95 Paul Pierce scored 25 points and the Celtics (29-9) sent the Kings (8-28) to their 12th consecutive road loss.
Atlanta Hawks 104, Toronto Raptors 101 Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 26 points and Mike Bibby hit the go-ahead three with 8.2 seconds, helping the Hawks (26-14) to their fifth straight win. Brazil’s Leandro Barbosa and Italy’s Andrea Bargnani topped hosts Toronto (13-25) with 26 points apiece.
New Orleans Hornets 92, Orlando Bobcats 89 (OT) Marcus Thornton scored four of his 22 points in the final minute of overtime, and the Hornets (23-16) ended the Magic’s nine-game winning streak. Dwight Howard topped Orlando (25-13) with 29 points and 20 rebounds.
Oklahoma City Thunder 118, Houston Rockets 112 Kevin Durant scored 30 points, Russell Westbrook had 23 with 13 assists, and the Thunder (26-13) snapped an 11-game drought in Houston. Argentine Luis Scola topped Houston (17-22) with 31 points.
Utah Jazz 131, New York Knicks 125 Deron Williams and C.J. Miles scored 24 points apiece, and the hosting Jazz (26-13) withstood 14 threes to beat the visiting Knicks.
Shawne Williams paced New York (22-16) with 25 points, hitting 7-of-8 from behind the arc.
Phoenix Suns 118, New Jersey Nets 109 (OT) Steve Nash scored 10 of his 23 points in overtime along with 16 assists and the Suns (16-21) rallied from 15 down in the fourth quarter to send the Nets to 3-18 on the road.