Preview: Miami At L.A. Clippers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The winning streak is at nine straight for the Los Angeles Clippers, who are still not at full strength and don’t plan to have star forward Blake Griffin back very soon. The Clippers will try to push the winning streak to double figures when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
Griffin (quad) only recently started shooting free throws and has missed the last eight games, during which Los Angeles is averaging 110.5 points. None of those wins have come against teams currently owning winning records, and the Clippers will get a chance to test themselves against the Heat and have a five-game road trip looming next week. Miami gave the NBA-best Golden State Warriors a battle before falling 111-103 on Monday, and slipped to 1-2 on the six-game road trip. The Heat are in the midst of their toughest stretch and began a run of 14 of 16 on the road with a win in Phoenix before falling at Utah and Golden State.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Sun (Miami), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE HEAT (22-16): Miami outplayed Golden State’s starters but could not keep pace with the bench during a decisive stretch at the beginning of the fourth quarter. “We have to have the concentration, the mental effort, the hustle we had (Monday) every night,” forward Chris Bosh told reporters. Bosh (15 points, 12 rebounds), Luol Deng (14 and 10) and Dwyane Wade (20 points, 11 assists) each posted a double-double in the loss.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (25-13): Los Angeles nearly had the winning streak come to an end on Sunday, when it survived a 114-111 overtime battle with the New Orleans Pelicans. “We can win in games we don’t play well,” Clippers center DeAndre Jordan told reporters. “We played (poorly Sunday), I thought, especially down the stretch. Our offense was OK, but down the stretch we didn’t play well. We know that. But some games, you have to grind it out.” Helping grind out those wins has been point guard Chris Paul, who was recently named Western Conference Player of the Week and is averaging 23.7 points and 12.3 assists in the last three games.
1. Clippers SF Paul Pierce is 3-of-16 from the field in the last two games.
2. Heat C Hassan Whiteside (knee) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.
3. The road team has taken the last three in the series, with Miami winning its last two trips to Los Angeles.
PREDICTION: Clippers 96, Heat 95