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LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: 2nd quarter heats up. Clippers lead, 68-58

January 12, 2011 |  8:47 pm

Lebron1 Blake Griffin's drive and basket pushed the Clippers' lead to 20 points, 51-31, early in the third, but this game has largely featured the other Clippers, who have been doing most of the scoring. All eight Clippers who played in the first quarter scored. Dwyane Wade is carrying the Heat with 14 points after five minutes of the second.

LeBron James sat for the first five minutes of the quarter and returned to the game to a prolonged boo from the crowd, with the Clippers leading, 55-38. The Clippers have done a good job of sealing off the lane when James has tried to drive.

Griffin's runaway-train drive on the baseline and reverse layup failed to go down, but he made both free throws after being fouled. The Times' NBA guru Mark Heisler, who has seen, oh, 5,000 NBA games, said, "I think he's the most exciting player I've ever seen."

Shortly after that, Griffin canned a 12-foot banker from the left side.

James' three-pointer with four minutes left cut the Clippers' lead to 62-48. You didn't think the Clippers were going to run away from this team, did you?

Griffin responded with a driving bank shot and a free throw for a three-point play, then a rebound off a Miami miss when his elbow was a foot over the rim. The Clippers have been playing with an intensity not often seen from this club, with Baron Davis diving for loose balls in front of a loud, packed Staples Center.

James scored inside with 2:30 left then fed Mario Chalmers for a three-pointer when his route down the lane was blocked. With a minute left, James' three-pointer cut the Clippers' lead to 10, where it ended. Clippers' lead, 68-58.

Griffin: 15 points, six rebounds, four assists.

James: 15 points, four rebounds, three assists.

Wade leads all scorers with 20. Davis and Gordon have 12 each for the Clippers, who are shooting 58% after shooting 77% in the first quarter.


LeBron James gets a rise out of opposing fans

Clippers have a slam-dunk success in Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin backs up LeBron's decision to leave Cleveland

--Mike James

Photo: LeBron James. Credit: Mike Nelson / U.S. Presswire