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MIAMI (The Sports Xchange) — The Los Angeles Clippers, the second-best road team in the NBA this season, survived poor shooting early to defeat the Miami Heat 100-93 on Sunday afternoon at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who missed his first nine shots, rallied to score a game-high 22 points. He made a pair of three-pointers and a layup in the final two-plus minutes to break open a close game.
Also for the Clippers, guard Jamal Crawford had 20 points, and center DeAndre Jordan added nine points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. He made just 3 of 14 from the foul line.
Three Heat players scored 17 points – forward Chris Bosh and guards Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic. Forward Luol Deng added 15 points, and center Hassan Whiteside had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Clippers improved to 17-9 on the road, trailing only the Golden State Warriors (23-4). Overall, the Clippers are 34-17, ranking fourth in the Western Conference. Los Angeles has won 17 of their past 21 games, all without star forward Blake Griffin.
Miami (29-23) ranks fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles started slowly, missing 14 straight attempts in one first-quarter stretch that lasted nearly nine minutes. The Clippers shot 24 percent for the quarter. Miami, which shot 36 percent, led 19-15 after the opening period.
Los Angeles did get good news in the first quarter – backup point guard Pablo Prigioni, who took a shot to the jaw in Friday’s game at the Orlando Magic, returned to action off the bench.
Los Angeles led 46-45 at the end of an unusual first half. Miami trailed despite outrebounding Los Angeles 32-17. Bosh finally made a shot after missing his first eight.
The Clippers extended their lead to 73-65 after the third quarter. The quarter featured a four-point play by Deng after he was fouled by forward Paul Pierce on a three-point shot.
Fouls were the rule in the third quarter – there were nine called in less than three minutes. And Crawford was called for a technical. The Clippers, who lead the NBA in technical fouls, were fortunate that Bosh missed the free throw.
NOTES: Clippers G Austin Rivers, who got hurt Friday at the Orlando Magic, was diagnosed with a broken left hand and will be out 4-to-6 weeks. … With Rivers out, Clippers SGs Lance Stephenson and Jamal Crawford will see more time at backup point guard. … Rivers is the second Clippers’ player out with a broken hand. F Blake Griffin, injured on Jan. 23 in an off-the-court incident, is expected back in April. … Miami C Hassan Whiteside, who had been a starter until he got hurt and missed six games, came off the bench for the third straight time. Amar’e Stoudemire has replaced him as the starting center. … In eight games without Whiteside this season, Miami has allowed 99.5 points. With Whiteside in the rotation, Miami has allowed 95.0 points. … Clippers C DeAndre Jordan and Whiteside entered Sunday in the top two spots in the NBA in field-goal percentage, top four in blocked shots and top five in rebounds.
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