Despite being down four starters, Marcus Morris stepped up and led the Clippers to a surprising 125-118 win over the Miami Heat. Read on for a full Clippers vs Heat game recap.
Clippers vs Heat Game Summary
The Clippers suited up for Monday night’s match-up against the reigning Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat without Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley and Nicolas Batum. The squad was also on the back end of a back-to-back and their third game in four days. The team could have just thrown this towel for this match-up, but that is not in their DNA. Led by Marcus Morris Sr. and with impressive performances from Ivica Zubac and youngsters Terance Mann and Amir Coffey, the Clippers scrapped their way to victory, 125-118, and improve to 21-8.
Los Angeles started the game with the unusual combo of Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson and Lou Williams. Miami predictably hit the floor running, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after tip-off, exploiting Reggie Jackson’s inability to work through high screens. The Clippers settled in fairly quickly, however, with Marcus Morris Sr. leading the way.
Morris displayed unusual offensive flexibility in the first quarter, supplementing his three-point shooting with aggressive drives to the rim. Morris almost single-handedly keep the Clippers alive over the first 12 minutes, collecting 15 points on 5 for 7 shooting (including 3 from 3), three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Serge Ibaka also contributed in the frame, connecting for 7 points and snatching 4 rebounds.
It helped the Clippers significantly that two of the Heat’s starters got into foul trouble early. Duncan Robinson, who opened the game going 2 for 3 from long, was forced to the bench with over 8 minutes left in the opening period, with two. Kendrick Nunn was called for his second foul approximately two minutes later.
At the end of the first, the Clippers trailed by two, 35-33. Notably, 22 of the Heat’s 35 points were scored in the paint. The Clippers got absolutely hammered inside all game.
The second quarter started with Luke Kennard, Ivica Zubac, Amir Coffey, Patrick Patterson and Lou Williams on the floor. The Heat started on an uptick, extending their lead to seven on a another Robinson three. The Clippers bounced right back, however, going on a 7-0 run consisting of a Kennard layup, Coffey three and Zu flush. Coffey was the highlight of the quarter, sinking three from beyond the arc.
Reggie Jackson prompted a moment of concern with just under five minutes left in the half, injuring his shoulder and retreating to the locker room. (Jackson would return in the third quarter, but was in obvious pain when shooting – something to monitor.)
Morris continued his hot streak, connecting on three more long balls and logging a career high 26 points in the half.
At the end of two frames the Clippers were out in front by 5, 67-62. As a team the Clippers shot a solid 53.3 percent from the field and 55.6 from 3 point land. Miami continued to dominate in the paint (38 points), and also outscored the Clippers 10-0 in fast break points.
Clippers Halftime Stats
- Morris – 26 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 17 minutes.
- Coffey – 12 points (all from behind the arc), 2 rebounds, 1 assist.
- Zubac – 8 points, 5 rebounds
- Ibaka – 7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal.
- Williams – 6 points, 5 assists, 1 rebound.
- Mann – 6 points, 1assist, 2 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler was predictably best for Miami with 16 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 1 steal. Tyler Herro added 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block and Bam Adebayo 10 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block.
The second half was a teeter-totter shootout, with neither team playing terribly effective defense. The Clippers got solid performances out of nearly everyone, while Miami continued to eat in the paint and take advantage of mismatches involving Jimmy Butler.
The Clippers entered the final frame with a 92-91 advantage. Luke Kennard hit a couple of big buckets as part of a 12-2 scoring run, which was a welcomed sight. With just under 5 left on the clock the Clippers had extended their lead to 11. Despite solid performances from Butler, Adebayo and Herro down the stretch, Miami never recovered.
The Clippers ended the game with six players in double figures: Morris (32), Zubac (22), Williams (18), Mann (15), Coffey (15) and Kennard (10).
Miami was led by Butler (30), Adebayo (27) and Herro (27).
- Step Up: All In. This was an incredible and fun team win. As I noted in my preview for this game, the Clippers are, and will continue to be, an extremely difficult team to beat with their talent and depth. Tonight, every player that hit the floor (except perhaps Patrick Patterson), contributed solidly and believed 100% in themselves and in the franchise. Many had career or season highs:
- Marcus Morris Sr. finished with a game high 32 points. The 26 points he lodged in the first half was a career record. Mook really stepped up to be the leader on the court tonight; the go-to guy in the absence of Kawhi and PG. Love to see it.
- Amir Coffey had a stellar, well-rounded game, contributing 15 points (on 5 for 6 shooting from distance), three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Career high for the young fella.
- Terance Mann had a season-high 15 points and also grabbed 7 rebounds. Along with Coffey, Mann showed tremendous poise, confidence and good judgment on the floor tonight.
- Ivica Zubac had a season-high 22 points tonight, and came through meaningfully in the fourth quarter on both ends of the floor to ensure LA’s victory.
- Lou Williams had another solid game, connecting for 18 points and dishing out 10 assists. This is the second time in Williams’ career that he has had consecutive games with at least 10 assists. Lou’s confidence in his passing has just skyrocketed this season, and it has benefitted the team immensely.
- Sharing is Caring: Speaking of assists, this is the second time this season the Clippers have had consecutive games of at least 30 assists. The team had 31 assists Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and again tonight. Prior to this season, the Clippers haven’t had consecutive games with at least 30 assists since December of 2014.
- Next Up: Clippers host the Utah Jazz for the first of two match-ups this week. Wednesday February 17, 2021, 7 p.m.
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