James’ dominance of the game seemed to inspire his teammates. In the first half, the Heat shot 67.6 percent (23 of 34) from the field and 57.1 percent (8 of 14) from three-point range. James was 6 of 6 overall and 1 of 1 from three-point range in the first half.
While James did his best work from the outside in the second half, he began his big night by punishing the Clippers inside. Like an NFL running back, James busted through an arm tackle by Blake Griffin inside the paint to set up a three-point play with 2:20 left in the first half. On the Heat’s next possession, James turned in a devastating spin move inside the paint to give Miami a 60-43 lead.
The Heat (33-14 overall) is now 17-5 against teams from the Western Conference. The Clippers defeated the Heat 99-90 in the first game of the season series. Los Angeles has now lost eight of its past 11 games.
Paul finished with just three points in his first game since bruising his right kneecap in January. He played 19 minutes and picked up a technical foul for arguing a foul call on James with 4:58 left. Moments later, Griffin was hit with his own technical foul for arguing. James and Mario Chalmers hit a series of free throws to give the Heat an 89-57 lead.
Wade scored a lively 20 points, going 8 of 16 from the field to go along with seven assists and six rebounds. His dunk after James’ back-to-back three-pointers in the third quarter sent the arena into a frenzy.
Chalmers had 18 points, shooting 5 of 9 from the field and 5 of 8 from three-point range while showing up the Clippers’ dynamic guards in the process. Chris Bosh and Ray Allen missed the game with flu-like symptoms, but Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis combined to go 7 of 12 from three-point range for 22 points to offset the loss of offense.