In the team’s first game without DeAndre Jordan since March 23, 2011, they responded by battling through first half adversity and walking out the other side as winners. Leading the way for the Los Angeles Clippers was backup center Cole Aldrich. The hulking man in the middle delivered hook shot after hook shot as if he was attempting to recreate the magnificence of Joe Frazier. And he did just that, as he helped the Clippers knock off the Miami Heat, 104-90. He wasn’t alone, though. Aldrich had help, and it was glorious.
The Clippers shook off a 39.2 percent shooting first half to overcome a 7-point halftime deficit. Cole Aldrich scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the third quarter, and he also chipped in with 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Pablo Prigioni was a major part of the win, as he finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists, but racked up 8 steals. He pestered Miami all night, and they had no answer for his sneaky ways. Chris Paul finished with 15 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. He was fantastic at controlling the tempo and the offense, as you would expect.
Paul Pierce had 15 points and 9 rebounds, J.J. Redick had 12 points, and Jamal Crawford finished with 15 points despite a dismal 4-of-15 shooting night. Luc Mbah a Moute had 2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assists, and 2 blocks as he started at small forward for the umpteenth time in a row. Josh Smith was dusted off the bench tonight due to the lack of big men. He finished with 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and 1 block. His offense looked shaky, as it has all year, but he did a quite a few quality things. Wesley Johnson chipped in with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block while Austin Rivers had 8 points and 3 assists. Lance Stephenson and C.J. Wilcox got minutes towards the end of the blowout.
Miami was missing point guard Goran Dragic tonight, but it didn’t seem to affect them early as they put together a nice run to end the first quarter with an 8-point lead. It all went downhill after that, though. They scored just 38 points in the second half, a mark that can’t sit well with head coach Erik Spoelstra. Gerald Green led the way with a team-high 19 points, and Dwyane Wade poured in 16 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists. He did have 7 turnovers, though. There just wasn’t enough punch from Miami offensively as the game rolled along.
Chris Bosh had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists, but he shot just 3-of-11 from the floor. Beno Udrih started in place of Dragic, and he finished with 8 points, but a game-worst -27 in the plus-minus department. Hassan Whiteside came off the bench to record a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in 26:47, but he also had 5 turnovers and 4 fouls. Luol Deng had 7 points and 7 rebounds, rookie Justise Winslow had just 4 points, and Tyler Johnson had 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Veteran big man Udonis Haslem had 2 points, and fellow vet Chris Andersen actually hit a three for his only points. To round out Miami’s scoring, Josh Richardson had 2 points.
This was the Clippers’ tenth win in a row, and now the team will wait until Saturday to play as that’s when the Sacramento Kings come to town. This was the team’s ninth straight win without Blake Griffin, and it was probably their best win of the season considering who they were missing in totality. Heck of a job done by the team in the second half as they outscored the Heat by 21 points. It was a real fine win. For now, just have to hope DeAndre's pneumonia doesn’t get any worse. The team is now 26-13, and still just one game back in the loss column of the Oklahoma City Thunder.