7:30 PM ET, February 2, 2009
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
MIAMI -- Erik Spoelstra took no joy from adding to the woes of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Miami Heat coach remembers what it was like a year ago, when his team was ravaged by injuries and was the worst in the NBA. And now it's the Clippers living that nightmare, which continued Monday night in a 119-95 loss to the Heat.
• The Heat had lost four of its last five games against the Clippers, including two straight.
• Miami has 26 wins in 47 games this season, surpassing its win total from last season (15).
• Los Angeles has lost 10 straight on the road.
-- ESPN research
"They're going through a rough stretch and we know how that goes," Spoelstra said. "We went through that last year. It's tough and it wears on you. But from our standpoint, you still have to take care of business."
Which the Heat did with ease.
Mario Chalmers scored 15 points, Udonis Haslem added 13 and Shawn Marion -- in his first game back after missing five straight with a strained left groin -- finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for the Heat, who improved to 15-3 when scoring more than 100 points this season.
"My first time in 10 years coming off the bench," said Marion, who entered a game as a reserve for the first time since March 10, 2000, as a rookie for Phoenix against Utah. "It was good."
Zach Randolph, back after missing 19 games with a sore left knee, scored 21 points for the Clippers, who've lost six straight and 20 of 22. Marcus Camby and Eric Gordon each added 12 for the Clippers, who had beaten Miami by a single point in each of their last two meetings.
But Miami controlled this one nearly start to finish, never trailing by more than three points in the early going and holding the lead for the game's final 33:33.
"We made too many poor plays tonight, turnovers," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We had some guys in the game who hadn't played in a while, like Zach. And we had some matchups and coverages that we made mistakes on and gave them too many open looks."
Although the Clippers are tied with Washington for the league's worst record -- both teams are now 10-38 -- this game had significance for Miami.
The Heat were coming off losses to Indiana and Dallas. And with a road trip to Eastern Conference rivals Detroit and Philadelphia starting Wednesday, it's not the ideal time for a midseason swoon, particularly with five teams already jostling for the No. 4 playoff seed.
So Wade and Chalmers went to work early, setting the tone. They combined for 16 points in the first quarter as Miami built a six-point lead, and the Heat -- buoyed by 56 percent shooting in the half and a 10-point second quarter from Beasley -- eased into the break with a 58-47 edge.
"We know we can score," Wade said. "Guys can shoot the ball on this team. ... We've got a pretty deep team, and we're going to need it."
It got dicey, though, late in the third.
The Clippers held Miami to only two field goals in a four-minute span, and suddenly found themselves down just 77-70 with 3:08 left in the quarter after a pair of free throws from Baron Davis.
Right on cue, Wade took over, leading a 13-3 run that ended the quarter.
He hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points in all during the spurt, and after Haslem hit a jumper with two seconds left, the Heat carried a 90-73 lead into the fourth.
"Once everybody gets back healthy, we're going to be OK," Randolph said.
Miami (26-21) moved into fifth in the East standings Monday, one game behind No. 4 Atlanta, a half-game ahead of the idle Pistons and now 2½ games clear of the 76ers, who host Boston on Tuesday.
Technically, Marion was listed as a reserve in one game last season for Miami, when he played the final 52 seconds in Atlanta -- the game that started Dec. 19, 2007. By order of the NBA, the last 52 seconds were replayed March 8, after Marion was traded to Miami. ... It was stat night for the Heat. Wade got his 500th career dunk in the second quarter, became the franchise's all-time leader in free throws made and moved into second place on the Heat all-time field-goals-attempted list. Center Jamaal Magloire grabbed his 4,000th rebound as well. ... Rapper Lil' Wayne was in attendance. ... The Clippers expect center Chris Kaman back after the All-Star break. Kaman, who resuming a shooting regimen, has battled a foot injury much of the season.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||35-81 (.432)||45-81 (.556)|
|3PM-3PA||6-22 (.273)||9-16 (.563)|
|FTM-FTA||19-20 (.950)||20-26 (.769)|
|Fast Break Points||21||16|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||17 (0/0)|