Clippers clash with LeBron, Heat
(SportsNetwork.com) - The high-scoring Los Angeles Clippers will face another stiff challenge when they resume a three-game road trip Thursday against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
The Clippers lead the NBA in scoring with 113.2 points per game, but suffered a 98-90 loss at Orlando on Wednesday. Blake Griffin turned in a solid performance with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Paul recorded 18 points and handed out 10 assists.
"A lot of credit goes to them. They executed all night, they made us guard and once again our defense failed us," Paul said.
J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford scored 17 and 14 points, respectively, for the Clippers, who made just 37.9 percent of their shots and only 3-of-19 from 3- point territory.
L.A. forward Matt Barnes missed the contest with a right thigh contusion and is considered day-to-day.
The Clippers, who had a three-game winning streak cut short, will close out the trip Saturday against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets, a team they defeated 137-118 on Monday.
Miami is averaging 104.8 ppg this season and the Clippers are last in opponents scoring at 109.6 ppg. The Heat will try to take advantage of that in the opener of a four-game homestand versus the Clippers, Boston, Milwaukee and Dallas.
The Heat won its second straight game after a two-game slide by posting a 104-95 triumph at Toronto on Tuesday, as LeBron James pumped in 35 points to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.
James became the fifth player in NBA history to score 10 or more points in 500 straight games. James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (787 and 508 games), Michael Jordan (866), Karl Malone (575) and Moses Malone (526) as the only other players to accomplish the feat.
"When I see a stat like that, I'm like 'Wow,' because I know the history of the game, I know the guys who paved the way for myself and my teammates," James said.
Dwyane Wade netted 20 points and Ray Allen chipped in 14 for Miami, which was without Chris Bosh for personal reasons. Bosh is probable Thursday and has shot at least 50 percent from the field in each of his four games to start the season.
Miami's Erik Spoelstra will coach his 400th regular season game Thursday and holds a 263-136 record in 399 career games. Miami has scored at least 100 points in each of its first five games to start the season, the longest streak to start a season in franchise history.
The Heat and Clippers split two meetings last season, while Los Angeles is winless in four straight trips to south Florida.
11/07 10:40:32 ET