The former New York Knicks forward had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and helped fuel a pivotal fourth-quarter run with eight consecutive points, leading the Clippers to a 97-96 victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday night.
Al Thornton also had 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Los Angeles snap a four-game losing streak.
“Our guys did a good job getting Zach Randolph involved in our offense,” coach Mike Dunleavy said. “They battled till the end of the game, keeping balls alive, doing things we needed to do to win the ballgame.”
Baron Davis, playing despite a stomach virus, had 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Rookie point guard Eric Gordon, making his third straight start after scoring 25 and 24 points in the previous two games, left because of a sore right hamstring with 1:41 left in the third quarter. He finished with five points in a foul-plagued 29 minutes.
The Clippers (3-13) played without center Chris Kaman, who has a strained arch in his left foot and probably won’t accompany the team on a four-game trip that begins Tuesday night at Dallas. Reserve guard Ricky Davis also sat out because of sore left knee.
Dwyane Wade had 26 points, 11 assists and six rebounds for Miami, but the NBA scoring leader missed a desperation a 3-pointer as time expired.
Miami forward Michael Beasley, the second overall pick in the draft, came off the bench for the second straight game after starting the first 15. He scored 24 points after playing 13 1/2 scoreless minutes and going 0-for-5 Friday night in a win at Phoenix.
“He was obviously very efficient offensively,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He had the hot hand from the outside, but he was also able to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.”
Wade went to the free-throw line for the only time in the game with 6:23 left in the game and missed both with the Heat clinging to an 86-80 lead. The Clippers then ran off 13 straight points to grab a 93-86 lead with 3 minutes to play.
“Tonight we played like a team that was hungry,” Thornton said. “This win is very important to the team. We stepped it up on defense in the fourth quarter and had everyone playing together.”
Randolph scored eight of them in a 1:24 span, starting with a putback of Thornton’s missed layup. He came back with a three-point play and then hit a 3-pointer from the right sideline before Thornton capped the rally with a three-point play.
“Al was great and played with a lot of energy,” Dunleavy said. “He made a ton of key plays on defense. Al rebounded the ball and was involved in a lot of contact down the stretch.”
Davis hit a pair of 18-footers 33 seconds apart, giving Los Angeles a 97-89 margin with 1:24 to play. Wade gave Miami a chance with a layup and a 3-pointer 26 seconds apart, and Udonis Haslem followed with a 17-footer that cut it to one with 7.6 seconds left.
The Clippers called a timeout to get the ball to midcourt. Davis’ inbounds pass was stolen by Wade, who fell out of bounds and collided with referee Courtney Kirkland just as he passed upcourt to Haslem. Kirkland huddled with referees Ron Olesiak and Greg Willard, and Miami was awarded possession with 7.2 seconds on the clock on the inadvertent whistle by Kirkland.
“We were breaking to the basket. I don’t even know why the whistle was blown,” Haslem said. “Yeah, it’s tough, but there are a lot of things that we could have done differently before the last play to win the game.”
Wade was fouled by rookie Mike Taylor giving the Heat one more inbounds play with 2.9 seconds left. The Heat called a 20-second timeout and Mario Chalmers inbounded to Wade, who was way short from 27 feet with Marcus Camby’s hand in his face. Camby had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“We all have to play together and come out and play harder,” Randolph said. “Being aggressive should be our key to more wins. We recognize that this season has been difficult for this team, but nothing is easy.”
Shaun Livingston, who spent his first three NBA seasons with Los Angeles and missed 183 games because of injuries during that stretch, returned to Staples Center for the first time since signing a two-year contract with Miami as an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 3—less than three months after the Clippers decided not to give him a $5.8 million qualifying offer this summer and renounced their rights to him.
The crowd of 16,245 was disappointed to learn that Livingston was on the inactive list for the second straight game. But a full comeback from the three hours of reconstructive surgery he underwent two weeks after his career-threatening knee injury on Feb. 26, 2007 will take time. The 23-year-old point guard has played in only three games with his new team, totaling 29 minutes and is playing at about 80 percent.
Livingston did not sit on the Miami bench during the game because he didn’t have a sport jacket with him. Being there would have violated the team’s dress code. … Kaman’s injury leaves Thornton as the only Clippers player to start all 16 games. The only season in which Kaman played all 82 games was 2003-04, when he was a rookie.