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James, Heat fend off Griffin, Clippers

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Feb 06 2014 12:55:38 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2014 01:36:22 AM CST
closeup of basketball seams, ball

Jason Antony/SXC

LOS ANGELES -

Forward LeBron James almost recorded a triple-double, sparking the Miami Heat to a 116-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Wednesday night.

James finished with 31 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. The Heat's win overshadowed a 43-point, 15-rebound, six-assist performance by Clippers forward Blake Griffin. Los Angeles guard Jamal Crawford finished with 31 points and six assists, and center DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers.

James, who also committed seven turnovers, led seven Heat players in double figures. He helped Miami (35-13) end a five-game losing streak to the Clippers (34-18) at Staples. Los Angeles lost its second straight overall.

The Clippers rallied in the fourth quarter after trailing by double figures for much of the game. Crawford hit a jumper to cut the margin to 109-107 with 1:04 remaining.

Miami guard Ray Allen, who finished with 15 points, sank a 3-pointer with 42.4 seconds left, and Crawford was called for a charging foul five seconds later. James hit three of four free throws in the closing seconds, and the Heat wrapped up their sixth win in seven games.

Turnovers hurt the Clippers, who gave the ball away 20 times on the night, leading to 25 Miami points. The Heat's 15 turnovers led to 18 points for Los Angeles.

The Heat bolted out to an early double-digit margin. The visitors hit 15 of their initial 18 field-goal attempts en route to a 36-24 advantage after one quarter.

Miami led by as much as 19 before settling for a 62-55 lead after Crawford nailed a 30-foot, 3-point basket to end the half. Los Angeles shot 5-for-13 on 3-pointers before intermission, with Crawford accounting for four of them.

On the night, the Clippers made seven of 25 3-point tries, while the Heat shot 13-for-31 from long distance.

Griffin (22 points) and Crawford (18) combined for 40 of the Clippers' points in the opening half. James had 14 points at the break.

The Clippers closed the gap to 65-60 in the opening minutes of the third, but an 8-0 Miami run pushed the lead to 73-60 after a 3-pointer by guard Mario Chalmers with about nine minutes left. Miami held an 89-75 lead at the end of the quarter.

In addition to being without point guard Chris Paul (shoulder), the Clippers were missing guard J.J. Redick, who sat out due to a sore right hip.

NOTES: Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he doesn't expect injured PG Chris Paul to be ready to return for Friday's contest against the Toronto Raptors, but he didn't rule it out. Paul has missed 17 games since separating his right shoulder Jan. 3 against the Dallas Mavericks. ... Clippers G Sasha Vujacic, a former Los Angeles Laker who was signed to a 10-day contract Monday, made his debut Wednesday. He played one scoreless minute. ... Wednesday's game was the start of a four-game road trip for the Heat before the NBA All-Star break. They visit the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday. ... In addition to the Toronto game, the Clippers will play two games at home before the All-Star break. They host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday and the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.

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