Did you survive Winter Storm Nemo? Of course you did. Well, while we were in the midst of another over-hyped snowpocalypse, it was another busy Friday night in the NBA with 24 teams in action. Let’s take a look at what happened in a couple of the biggest of those games, including Heat-Clippers and Rockets-Blazers.
Heat demolish Clippers in potential Finals preview
The Los Angeles Clippers got all of their major players back from injury Friday night, but they didn’t have near enough time to shake off the rust as the full-strength Miami Heat rolled over them 111-89.
LeBron James led Miami with 30 points on just 9-11 shooting, giving him 37 makes in his last 47 attempts. The rest of Miami was just as hot as James, shooting .529 from the floor, including 15 three-pointers, helping the Heat to a 25-point lead through three quarters.
The Clippers, who finally got Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Chauncey Billups back from injuries that have kept the trio out the last several games, were led by Deandre Jordan with 17 points in 22 minutes. With so many key players still playing themselves back into game form post-injury, though, there isn’t much to hang their heads about here.
One other statistic of note is that although Miami out-shot the Clippers .529 to .442, LA still managed to grab just one fewer rebound than the Heat (36 total rebounds for Miami, 35 for LA) as the Clipper big men outrebounded the Heat’s 23 to 19. Not an incredible margin, but certainly more evidence of the lack of size that continues to make Miami vulnerable in games where they aren’t shooting lights-out against a team that hasn’t played together in a couple weeks. Food for thought.
Rockets edge Blazers in battle for eighth seed in the West
Maybe it’s too early to really call it a battle, but the eighth seed does look to come down to either Houston, Portland, or Utah this season (sorry, Lakers and Mavericks). Houston entered the night holding the spot and left with it still in their grasps, defeating Portland 118-103.
In a repeat of Miami-LA, Houston was simply on fire, shooting .595 from the floor with 12 three-pointers, while Portland shot a normal .455 from the field. The Rockets’ starters combined for 96 points on 38-60 shooting, led by James Harden with 35 points on 13-16 shooting. Harden also chipped in 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Portland was led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 31 points and 11 rebounds and Nic Batum with 24 points, but it wasn’t enough as Houston added to their lead after every quarter en route to a 15-point victory.
With the win, Houston is now two games ahead of Portland for the eighth seed and, after Utah’s loss to Chicago last night, sits just half a game from the seventh seed.
All statistics via ESPN.com