The Miami Heat could very well win the 2012 NBA Title; however they are far from a perfect team. They have weaknesses at the point guard slot as well as a huge void in the middle with Joel Anthony as their starting center. If a team can exploit those match-ups they can slay the dragon from South Beach. Wednesday night the Los Angeles Clippers handed the Heat their second straight overtime loss in two consecutive nights as the Clippers won 95-89.
Chris Paul was the high scorer of the night as he recorded a double-double including 27 points while Blake Griffin also notched a double-double with 20 points in the victory. Even Los Angeles center DeAndre Jordan trounced his opponent without having a stellar game, as he scored just 8 points but grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 6 shots. Anthony ended the contest with 4 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal.
LeBron James led the way for the visitors as he recorded a double-double with 23 points while Mario Chalmers had a nice game with 18 points; but Paul would leave him in the dust. It is the first time in the still young campaign that Miami has lost two in a row as they had only one loss in their previous nine contests.
Although Anthony had a weak offensive game he would hit a three-foot shot with eight seconds left in the opening period and Miami would hold the upper hand 24-21 at the conclusion of the quarter. The Heat would sprint ahead early in the second, however with 2:25 left Chauncey Billups drained a 23 foot trey cutting his team’s deficit at 41-39. Miami would once again get momentum on their side down the stretch and at the half they led 48-43.
Los Angeles was behind for almost the entire third until CP-3 drove the lane with 55 seconds to play putting the rock through the rim and drawing the foul. After hitting his shot at the line his team was on top 68-67. Jordan drove the lane putting the ball up and in with 29 seconds to go and the Clippers had the advantage heading to the fourth at 70-69. Both teams tried to give the game to their opponent throughout the final 12 minutes of regulation as both club’s offense stalled. James split a critical pair at the stripe with five seconds on the clock and the game went to the extra period. The Heat would score their only points in the overtime with 1:24 in the extra period as Chalmers buried a trey. The Clippers were just good enough to end the game in one overtime.
Paul scored 27 points, dished off 11 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Griffin had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal. Caron Butler also scored 20, with 4 rebounds and 1 assist while Billups put up 12 points, 6 assists, 2 steals and a rebound.
James knocked down 23 points, 13 boards, 7 assists and 2 steals while Chalmers had 18 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Dwyane Wade scored 17 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals while Chris Bosh added 16 points, 11 rebounds, an assist and a block in the loss. Clippers are now 5-3 and take on their co-tenants the Lakers on Thursday while Miami will play on their third straight night in a third city as they face the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.