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HEAT 100 - Clippers 107

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(Photo Credit: Noah Graham)

The Miami HEAT dropped their third game of the season 107-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night. The HEAT travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets Thursday night. Here's a quick game recap:

Impact Performance of the Night: LeBron James in a losing effort. James led all scorers with 30 points. He added seven assists and five rebounds. James carried the scoring load for the HEAT all game and was able to make the game interesting long after many thought the game to be over. James was very proficient in the post, scoring on any defender stuck defending him on the block.

The Deciding Run: At the 2:41 mark of the third quarter the HEAT trailed the Clippers 74-72. Chris Paul hit back-to-back threes from way beyond the arc and sparked an 11-2 run to close the quarter. The HEAT were never able to truly recover.

Play of the Game: Chris Paul’s three late in the shot clock to start the Clippers’ run. Paul pulled up from 32 feet and drilled the jumper, which was the beginning of the end for the HEAT.

Efficiency Rating: Offensive Efficiency: 102.3; Defensive Efficiency: 111.4

Trend to Watch: The HEAT have steadied themselves on the glass. Up next, the HEAT will likely focus on their perimeter rotations and defending three-point shots. On the road trip, HEAT opponents are shooting 43 percent from deep. Normal regression will bring this down, but so will the HEAT getting valuable practice time in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the progress as the HEAT approach the end of the calendar year.

The Takeaway: Last season the HEAT dropped three straight games on the west coast, including a back-to-back against the Clippers and Nuggets. It’s a tough road swing, and while the loss to the Clippers may have been frustrating, it doesn’t mean much in the long run. Like the Memphis game, accept the loss and move on.

Notes: Rashard Lewis scored 11 points in 14 minutes. Ray Allen finished with 14 points and five steals. Dexter Pittman and Josh Harrellson were inactive. The HEAT play in Denver on Thursday night. Tip is set for 10:30.

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Thanks for the breakdown Danny. I only got to listen to part of the game so I didn't know what happened. I'm confident everyone will get on the same page soon. Go Heat!!!

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Seems as if LEBRON was the only starter to show up.LEWIS/ALLEN was solid coming off the bench,but MIAMI needs more from it's starters.Maybe MIAMI will bounce back and get this HEAT machine rolling for a nice win streak.Ten games in a row should ease HEAT nation's worries...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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Score was alot closer than it should've been.

I hope Joel gets some burn next game. I know his offensive game sucks but what we really need right now is someone who can protect the rim and slow down quick guards off the PnR.

Joel has proved numerous times he is good at both so lets get him back into the rotation even if it means cutting into UD's/Lewis/Battier minutes.

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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein
      The Miami HEAT face the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night at STAPLES Center. The HEAT fell to the Lakers 131-113 in their last meeting on March 1. Tip-off is set for 10:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 10:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
      1: What was your main takeaway from Miami’s road loss in Sacramento?
      Couper Moorhead: It just wasn’t their finest defense effort, and it was clear from the postgame interviews that everyone knew it. Sacramento didn’t have any one player really go off despite 20-plus point nights from Zach Randolph, it was just a little bit from everyone as the Kings were able to pound the paint during what was a rough shooting night for them until the final minutes. The HEAT were able to hang around thanks to the individual scoring of Goran Dragić and some hot shooting, eventually making a late run after being down 16 in the final period when they just about couldn’t miss a three if they tried, but it was allowing 67 points between the second and third quarters, then another 12 in the five-minute overtime, that wound up being the story of the game. Yes, the HEAT were missing Josh Richardson, Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade, but defense is something the team counts on no matter who is available.
      Joe Beguiristain: Although the HEAT were missing a number of key contributors, it was still a tough loss to take. For most of the contest, Sacramento seemed to have a little more energy and played looser as a result. In particular, De'Aaron Fox really fed off the home crowd and hit some big buckets late to finish with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. While Miami’s defense could have been a lot better overall, Fox actually shot a perfect 7-of-7 on contested field goal attempts on Wednesday night. Sometimes crazy things like that happen in this league.
      On the bright side, the HEAT showed a lot of grit and turned a 16-point deficit into a four-point lead with 1:23 left in the fourth. It ultimately wasn’t enough in the end, but it was good to see Goran Dragić and Wayne Ellington lay it all on the line.
      2: What did we learn from the last matchup with the Lakers?
      Couper: This Lakers team is really starting to put something together. Yes, they’re young, not yet a playoff team and will have the growing pains that always accompany youth, but extremely hot shooting aside (16-of-29 from three) they earned their dominant victory when they visited Miami. Until a late flurry of contested threes from Isaiah Thomas, the Lakers were earning one open three after another but also pushing the ball ahead in transition at every opportunity with rookie Lonzo Ball always seeming to find the open man and Julius Randle relentlessly pushing in the open court. The Lakers might be without Kyle Kuzma Friday night, which further shortens a short rotation after the Lakers played just eight for most of the game in Miami, but it’s clear that Luke Walton is molding an consistent identity out of his team, one that includes being a better defensive group than you might think.
      Joe: We learned that the Lakers are very strong on the offensive end, as they shot 59.5 percent from the field and had six guys score in double-figures in that last matchup.  
      After Julius Randle set the tone early on, Brandon Ingram and Isaiah Thomas caught fire in the second half and hit some tough shots from the perimeter. Dwyane Wade did all he could to try and get Miami back in it, but Los Angeles responded time and time again.
      Since that last meeting on the first of the month, the Lakers have continued to light up the scoreboard. While they push tempo often for easy buckets in transition, they’ve also taken a ton of above the break threes recently. Even though Los Angeles hasn’t converted those looks at a very efficient rate, Miami still needs to be wary of that tendency and remember what happened a few weeks ago.
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      Couper: As the HEAT just dealt with in the form of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in a loss on Monday night in Portland, Isaiah Thomas is yet another quick guard capable of hitting the dribble three in pick-and-roll that’s increasingly becoming the toughest shot in the league to defend. Thomas had been having an uneven season returning from injury but he looked closer to his old self than ever in scoring 29 against Miami, including 6-of-11 from three. And there’s no perfect answer for defending him when that tough shot is falling. You can’t overplay in pick-and-roll because Thomas is quick enough to burn the big defender and get to the rim, and if you sit back he has plenty of space to take whatever shot he wants. There’s a ton of pressure on the guard to fight over the screen and get a hand in Thomas’ way, but you can’t depend on defenders to perfectly navigate every pick in front of them so it falls on the big man to manage the space between Thomas and the rim as best as possible until the defense recovers. All that said, Thomas is still only shooting 51.1 percent at the rim this season so it might be best to force him to drive rather than conceding the quick jumper.
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      March 1 – Lakers at HEAT
      Game Notes:
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      Efficiencies (Rank):
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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Rocky Widner
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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Jordan Johnson
      The Miami HEAT face the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center. The HEAT fell to the Kings 89-88 in their last meeting on Jan. 25. Tip-off is set for 10:00 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 9:30 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
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      Joe Beguiristain: Definitely. 
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      Jan. 25 – Kings at HEAT
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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Sam Forencich
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    • By Joe B.

      Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
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      Joe Beguiristain: It was a workman-like shellacking from beginning to end, as the HEAT took advantage of a Wizards team that had played the night prior. In the first half, Miami’s ball handlers routinely got into the paint and did plenty of damage off the dribble to keep Washington on its heels. As such, the HEAT scored 42 points in the paint through the first two quarters, which is a shade under their season average for an entire game.
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      Joe: Few teams are as hot as the Trail Blazers are right now, as they’ve tallied a 10.9 net rating over their past nine games.
      As Coup mentioned above, Portland’s commitment to the defensive end has really propelled the team of late. In addition to Jusuf Nurkić, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu and even C.J. McCollum have gotten the job done defensively.
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      3: How were the Blazers able to pull out a victory on their visit to Miami earlier this season?
      Couper: That game, back in mid-December before Dion Waiters went down with his injury, feels a bit like ancient history at this point. Nurkić was out for Portland so they started Zach Collins, who is playing better of late, and Evan Turner was in the starting lineup. Now, Nurkić is back and Harkless starts, allowing Turner to run some bench offense alongside former Heat draft pick Shabazz Napier.
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      Just as Miami just faced a Wizards team on a back-to-back a few days after playing in Washington on zero rest themselves, the Blazers traveled cross-country to Miami right after playing the Warriors in California. Now Miami has to travel from Florida to Oregon for this side of the matchup. All’s fair in travel and rest, it seems.
      Joe: Even though the HEAT fell short in that last matchup, they actually did a solid job against the dynamic backcourt duo of Lillard and McCollum.  In particular, Lillard shot just 5-of-14 on the night thanks to some solid defense from both Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters.
      That said, the 27-year-old Lillard was able to get some breathing room in the fourth and helped turn a nine-point deficit entering the period into a seven-point victory.
      Also of note in the final quarter was Portland’s defense, which kept Miami in check and enabled the comeback. As Coup and I mentioned previously, the Trail Blazers have become even better on that end of late.
      In all, the HEAT will definitely have their hands full with a Portland team surging much like they are.
      This should be a fun one.

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      Game Notes:
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      Efficiencies (Rank):
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