Kawhi Leonard helps Clippers cool Heat

League: NBA

Posted on: 05 Feb, 2024 at 02:33 AM

Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 103-95 win over the host Miami Heat on Sunday night.

James Harden also had a double-double -- 21 points and a game-high 11 assists -- as the Clippers improved to 29-1 when leading after three quarters, including 14-0 on the road.

The Clippers also got 16 points off the bench from Norman Powell. Los Angeles survived a poor-shooting night by standout Paul George, who made just 3 of 13 shots, finishing with 15 points.

Both teams shot below 45 percent from the floor. But the Clippers made 16 of 39 3-pointers (41.0 percent), while Miami made just 8 of 29 (27.6 percent).

Miami was led by Bam Adebayo's double-double -- 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Jimmy Butler led Miami in scoring with 21 points.

Due to a headache experienced during warm-ups, Miami was without Tyler Herro, who is averaging 21.0 points and 4.3 assists. Josh Richardson replaced Herro in the starting lineup and scored 14 points.

Miami never trailed in the first quarter, leading by as many as 11 points. The Clippers made just 34.8-percent of their shots, including 1 for 8 on 3-pointers, as the Heat held a 22-19 edge on the scoreboard.

Los Angeles took its first lead of the game on a Powell 3-pointer with 8:39 left in the second quarter, putting the Clippers up, 28-27.

By halftime, the score was tied at 43, as the Clippers got back in the game by shooting 6 of 13 on second-quarter 3-pointers.

Miami called timeout with 6:43 left in the third as a 6-0 Clippers run put Los Angeles up 59-51 -- its largest lead of the game to that point. By the end of the quarter, the Clippers' lead was down to 69-67, and Leonard was the top third-period scorer with 10 points.

With 9:52 left in the fourth, Harden made a spectacular four-point play. While double-covered at the right elbow, Harden made a 3-pointer as he fell out of bounds. A foul was called on Haywood Highsmith, and Harden made the free throw.

Harden nearly had another four-point play later in the quarter, but he missed his free throw. That ended a 16-4 Clippers run, putting them ahead, 91-78, with 5:20 left.

The Clippers held on from there, and Miami fell to 2-10 when held under 100 points.

--Field Level Media