Heat 102, Clippers 97

MIAMI -- Miami guard Dwyane Wade scored 29 points to lead the Heat to a 102-97 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat trailed throughout the first half before taking control in the third quarter, mostly on the defensive end.

Wade made 13 of 22 shots and also had 7 assists, although he did have a game-high seven turnovers. Still, it was the first time this season that Wade led the Heat in scoring.

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Heat forward LeBron James had 18 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.

Miami (4-2) improved its home record this season to 3-0. The Heat also won five straight games against the Clippers in Miami.

Los Angeles (3-3) now lost three of its four road games this season.

The Clippers were led by forward Blake Griffin, who had 25 points and 14 rebounds. Center DeAndre Jordan also had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Chris Paul, the Clippers' star point guard, had 12 assists but was held to 9 points.

Miami, trailing after each of the first two quarters, went up 76-73 after three periods. The Heat did it by clamping down defensively. A good example of that was Heat forward Shane Battier, who drew charging calls on two consecutive plays.


Los Angeles went cold in the third, scoring just 17 points on 37.5 percent shooting.

The Clippers closed the first half leading 56-52, despite allowing the Heat to shoot 60 percent.

But the Clippers also shot well at 52.6 percent and got extra possessions by winning the rebound battle (plus-8) and the turnover stat (three fewer).

There were six tie scores in the first half, and neither team could build a double-digit lead. The Heat's largest lead was only two points while the Clippers were up by as many as eight.

The Clippers won each quarter -- by three points in the first and by one in the second. Their defense got slightly better in the second quarter, holding the Heat to 56 percent shooting as opposed to 63 percent in the opening period.


Miami got a lift off the bench from guard Ray Allen, who scored eight points on four-of-four shooting from the floor.

But the game's biggest stars -- Paul of the Clippers and James of the Heat -- were fairly quiet in the first half. Paul had five points on one-of-four shooting, although he did have nine assists.

James, meanwhile, was held to eight points on three-of-seven shooting.

NOTES: Clippers PG Chris Paul entered Thursday leading the NBA in assists (12.6). He was also sixth in scoring (24.8). ... Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Paul an MVP candidate. "He's a brilliant player," Spoelstra said. ... The Clippers and Heat split two games last season. ... F Chris Bosh returned to action after missing the Heat's previous game to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter. ... Clippers F Matt Barnes missed his second straight game because of a bruised right thigh. ... The Clippers' three-game road trip ends Saturday at Houston. ... Miami's four-game homestand hits the halfway point on Saturday with a visit from Boston.