Heat fall to Clippers at home, Kawhi Leonard posts 1st career triple-double
MIAMI (AP) — Kawhi Leonard got his first career triple-double and scored 33 points, Landry Shamet added 22 and the Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off an early 15-point deficit before hanging on to beat the Miami Heat 122-117 Friday night.
Leonard finished with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was first credited with the triple-double in the third quarter — briefly, because one of his rebounds was taken away after a stat review. He then officially got it on a rebound with 3:55 left.
Lou Williams scored 16 points, Montrezl Harrell had 15 and JaMychal Green added 14 for the Clippers.
Jimmy Butler led Miami with 20 points. Butler left midway through the fourth after appearing to turn his right ankle for the second time in the game, capping a night when he also got inadvertently popped in the eye during the first half.
Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro scored 19 points each, Bam Adebayo had 18 and Duncan Robinson added 16 for Miami. The Heat fell to 20-2 at home — 0-2 against teams from Los Angeles. Their only other home loss was to the Lakers.
Miami was down by 18 with 8:34 left, then went on a 24-9 run and got within three on a 3-pointer by Dion Waiters with 34 seconds remaining. But they got no closer, and Leonard sealed it by going 4 for 4 from the foul line in the final moments.
Leonard flirted with a triple-double on two other occasions this season, missing it by two rebounds on Oct. 26 at Phoenix and by one assist on Nov. 11 against Toronto.
The Clippers were without Paul George (left hamstring) for the eighth consecutive game and Patrick Beverley (right groin) for the second straight game, though Beverley tried lobbying his way into the lineup.
Miami was without two point guards — Kendrick Nunn missed the game with left Achilles soreness and Goran Dragic was out with a sore left calf, something that flared up after he got kicked in Wednesday night’s overtime win against Washington.
So, down to 10 available players, Miami had no choice: Dion Waiters played for the first time this season.
Waiters, who had been suspended three times for various issues since October and embarrassed himself and the organization when he ingested at least one cannabis-infused edible and needed medical attention when the team charter plane wrapped up a Phoenix-to-Los Angeles flight in November, played 18 minutes and scored 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting, 4 for 9 from 3-point range.
Miami ran out to a 24-9 lead after seven minutes. The Clippers were within eight by the time the first quarter was done, and 65-63 at halftime. Then they outscored Miami 38-20 in the third to take total control.
Clippers: Leonard now has a career-best streak of seven 30-point games. World B. Free and Bob McAdoo have the Clippers’ record with 11 such consecutive games. Leonard also had six assists in the first half, tying his career high for a half. He had that many in a 24-minute span on three other occasions. … Patrick Patterson scored 12 for the Clippers.
Heat: Adebayo has played in 131 consecutive games, one shy of Grant Long for the fifth-longest streak in franchise history and three away from matching Issac Austin’s fourth-best such streak. … Miami has now played all 29 other teams at least once this season. The Heat have finished the season series with Houston, Memphis, San Antonio and the Lakers. … Robinson has made multiple 3-pointers in 15 consecutive games, breaking his own team record set earlier this season.
Both teams had new starting lineups. The Clippers used their 21st different one of the season, the most in the NBA and seven more than they used in the entire 2018-19 regular season. Miami used its sixth different lineup, with Nunn — who had started all 44 games before Friday — out for the first time.
It was the first time Clippers guard Rodney McGruder played against the Heat, the team with whom he spent his first three NBA seasons. “It’s nice. It’s weird,” McGruder said of facing Miami and many of his friends. He was waived by the Heat late last season in a luxury-tax-related move, and picked up by the Clippers — who signed him to a three-year deal this past summer. “He’ll have a lifetime recommendation from us. He earned it,” coach Eric Spoelstra said.
Clippers: Visit Orlando on Sunday.
Heat: Host Orlando on Monday.