LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: Clippers beat the Heat, 111-105
Blake Griffin scored to open the fourth, then left the game and was getting stretching treatment on the sideline. With Griffin on his back, Ike Diogu scored after a scramble under the Clippers' basket to make it 94-82, leading to a Miami timeout with 8:38 to play.
The crowd of 19,803, the team's fourth sellout of the season, sensed something special. Of course, there was plenty of time left for all sorts of things to happen, and they did. Griffin returned to the game off the timeout.
LeBron James' turnaround cut L.A.'s lead to eight and Dwyane Wade's pullup jumper after a Griffin miss made it six. Griffin turned it over again, trapped under the hoop. James made another shot from the corner to make it 94-92, but James began limping after the shot. Wade was also shaken up on the play. The Clippers, fading quickly, called timeout with 6:35 to play. James and Wade returned to play after the timeout.
After the teams traded threes, Griffin drove the left side for a bank shot and a four-point lead, then Baron Davisdrove the length of the court to push it to six, 101-95. Lawler's Law?
With 4:16 to play, Davis drove the lane again, lost the ball, then recovered and shoveled it to Griffin, who thundered down a dunk for a 103-95 lead and a Miami timeout. All 19,803 stood through the timeout.
James' putback after another scramble reduced the lead to six.
Davis' running jumper made it 107-99. A minute remained.
James brought the ball down court, drove, was swarmed and passed out to Chris Bosh, who missed. Griffin corraled his 14th rebound and Miami was reduced to fouling, as the Clippers called timeout with 38 seconds to play.
The crowd chanted "Beat the Heat, Beat the Heat," and the Clippers called another timeout before inbounding the ball. No one said it would be easy.
Randy Foye went to the line after a quick Miami foul and made one of two, 108-99, Miami timeout. Davis to the line with 26.9 left, and missed both.
James then went end-to-end and was fouled on his made layup, made it and it was a six-point game. Then Eric Gordon to the line with 14.2 left. He missed the first but made the second to make it a three-possession game. Bosh made a quick three and Gordon returned to the line, making both with 9.9 to go. When James missed from the top of the key, it was over, 111-105.
Griffin: 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists.
Wade led all scorers with 31 and Bosh had 26. Gordon had 24 and Davis 20 for the Clippers.
Top photo: Blake Griffin slam dunks against the Miami Heat during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, California, January 12, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Second photo: Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat wait to shoot a free throw during a 111-105 Los Angeles Clippers win at the Staples Center on January 12, 2011. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images