The Los Clippers were given another early season test against the NBA’s elite and passed it with surprising ease.
Jamal Crawford scored 22 points off the bench, Chris Paul added 13 of his 16 in the pivotal third quarter and handed out 10 assists, helping the Clippers pull away to beat the visiting Miami Heat 107-100 on Wednesday night.
Blake Griffin had 20 points with 14 rebounds while Caron Butler netted 15 for the Clippers, who added the scalp of the defending NBA Champion Heat to already impressive victories over Western Conference powerhouses San Antonio and Memphis.
Trailing by two at halftime, the Clippers outscored the visitors 33-20 in the third quarter behind Paul. The speedy All-Star guard scored the final 13 points of the period, including back-to-back threes that gave the winners an 85-74 cushion entering the final frame.
Reserve Eric Bledsoe took over in the fourth frame, scoring the first eight points as the Clippers opened up a 93-76 en route to the win.
LeBron James scored 30 points but Dwyane Wade, playing with a sprained left foot, finished with just six as the Heat dropped to 2-2 on their six-game trip.
Elsewhere, Rudy Gay scored 28 points, Zach Randolph had 20 with 11 rebounds and the visiting Memphis Grizzlies extended their winning streak to six (107-100) while snapping the Oklahoma City Thunder’s five-game run.
OJ Mayo scored 25 points, Chris Kaman had 23 and the Dallas Mavericks snapped a three-game slide by dropping the visiting Washington Wizards to 0-7 on the season with a 107-101 win.
Kemba Walker scored 22 points, including the game-winning jumper with seven tenths of a second left, lifting the visiting Charlotte Bobcats over the short-handed Minnesota TimberWolves for their third straight win 89-87 after blowing a 16-point lead.
Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis scored 16 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks rolled the visiting Indiana Pacers 99-85 for their third win in four games. James Harden fired in 30 points as the Houston Rockets held off the visiting New Orleans Hornets 100-96.DPA