Clippers cool heat with stunning win
LOS ANGELES - Reuters
Jamal Crawford (L) puts up a shot while being defended by Heat’s Chris Bosh. AP photoChris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers embraced their biggest test of the season in triumphant style on Nov. 14, exploding in the second half to stun the NBA champion Miami Heat 107-100.
Trailing 54-52 at the game’s midway point, the home team rocked LeBron James and his ‘Big Three’ team mates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, building a 20-point lead before fending off a late Miami rally to complete their fourth straight win.
Paul marshalled the Clippers superbly with 16 points and 10 assists in front of a sellout crowd of 19,000 while forward Blake Griffin added 20 points and Jamal Crawford 22 off the bench.
James was a tower of strength for the Heat with a game-high 30 points and seven assists while veteran guard Ray Allen contributed 14 points and Bosh 11 but the visitors were restricted to 45.5 percent shooting from the field.
James and Griffin treated the crowd to a sizzling display of dunks and jump shots before a late burst of scoring by Crawford put the Clippers ahead 25-24 after a tight first quarter.
Roared on by the home crowd, the Clippers upped the tempo and forward Caron Butler sank a three-pointer midway through the third quarter to give his team a welcome 67-60 lead.
Though the Heat briefly closed the gap to one, Paul lifted Los Angeles spirits with back-to-back three-pointers to put them ahead 80-72 as chants of ‘CP3’ echoed around the Staples Center.
A Crawford jump shot gave Los Angeles their biggest lead of the night at 104-84 and Miami were unable to close the gap, despite a furious late rally.