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Clippers halt the red-hot Heat, 111-105

It's a night to remember as L.A. stops Miami's 13-game road winning streak in creative, energetic style. Eric Gordon gets 26, Blake Griffin 24 and Baron Davis a season-high 20.

January 12, 2011|By Lisa Dillman

Eric Gordon dunked on the Heat. So did rookie Al-Farouq Aminu. And even that "old guy" Baron Davis elevated high and showed the kids he could still do it.

Stunningly absent from the roll call until it absolutely counted was the dunking machine, rookie Blake Griffin.

Griffin saved the weapon, a two-handed jam, until it was necessary, unveiling it late and giving the Clippers an eight-point lead with 4:15 remaining, and slowing the Heat's momentum.

Until then, never had the absence of a Griffin dunk meant so little. This was a night to remember for the Clippers as they ended the 13-game road winning streak of Miami, beating the Heat, 111-105, on Wednesday night.

This earned them a standing ovation from the Staples Center crowd before the game ended as the fans acknowledged the effort and the moment in the last minute and a half. They chanted, "Beat the Heat."

OK, so much for originality.

The Clippers (13-24) were far more creative on the court, led by Griffin, Davis and Gordon. Griffin had his 24th consecutive double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Davis and Gordon were especially inspired, in particular early on as the Clippers shot 77% in the opening quarter and scored 44 points.

It was the most they have scored in a quarter this season.

Davis had a season-high 20 points and added nine assists and Gordon led the Clippers with 26 points and picked up six assists. For the Heat, Dwyane Wade had the game high with 31 points, LeBron James had 27 and Chris Bosh 26.

"It was a great win," Griffin said. "Everybody played unbelievable. It gives us confidence. For us to get this win is huge."

Griffin said of James: "He's tough, fast powerful. But I thought Ryan Gomes did a good job on him."

So what if fans came to Staples Center to see Griffin dunk on James. Or James dunk on Griffin, for that matter.

It was far more than a Griffin-James showdown.

The Heat had won 21 of their last 22 games, and came within one victory of tying a franchise record for consecutive road victories.

"They've been playing some of the best basketball in the league, so I'm really proud of our team," said Griffin, who has also had 13 consecutive games of scoring at least 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Griffin said in his on-court TV interview that he had been bothered by back spasms the last couple of days. At one point, the Clippers trainers worked on him in the fourth quarter in the sideline, stretching him out.

It looked like a pit crew trying to get a car ready and back into the heat of action.

Speaking of heated emotions …

Things got tense between Griffin and the Heat's Mario Chalmers with about 41/2 minutes left, and they both earned technicals.

Davis told Griffin to chill, Griffin reported, telling him to calm down and move on.

Griffin endured his share of abuse, taking one across the face from Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the third quarter, earning Ilgauskas a flagrant foul one.

The win raises the question: Why do the Clippers play so well against the likes of Miami and Oklahoma City and struggle against the Minnesotas of the NBA?

"Man, if I knew the answer to that, we'd be in a lot better shape," said Griffin, drawing laughs.

And so, what exactly does this say about the Clippers? They have won eight of their last 11 games.

"We're not automatic wins for teams," Griffin said. "We're not going to give up. We don't care how much hype they have."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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