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The Heat shoots, and it's lights out for Clippers in 111-89 loss

Clippers' defense is shredded by the defending NBA champs, who shoot 15 for 27 from three-point range and 52.9% overall. LeBron James has 30 points for Miami.

February 08, 2013|By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times

MIAMI — Now that the Clippers are back at full strength, maybe they can go out and find a defense that can stop somebody.

Now that the team is whole with its full 13-man roster available for the first time all season, perhaps it's time to stop talking about playing defense and start actually doing it.

The Clippers got run out of AmericanAirlines Arena by the Miami Heat, 111-89, Friday night and lost some composure in the process of getting their defense ripped apart.

It was a good sign for the Clippers to get starters Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap), Chauncey Billups (tendinitis in his left foot) and Blake Griffin (strained left hamstring) back in the lineup. They also welcomed back super-sub Jamal Crawford, who's had a sore right shoulder and broken nose.

But the Clippers' defense was nowhere to be found, allowing the Heat to make 52.9% of its shots, 55.6% of its three-point attempts.

Griffin, who missed two games, wasn't buying into the notion that the Clippers still are working out the kinks.

"Naw, I wish I could," said Griffin, who had 13 points in 24 minutes. "They beat us pretty badly. We need a better effort and I think you just can't kind of write this off to, 'We got everybody back and we're a little rusty.' We've got to be better."

Right now, the Clippers aren't very good. They have lost four of five and are 2-4 on their eight-game trip, with stops in New York and Philadelphia left. They have lost eight of their last 11 games.

In the midst of the Heat's building a 32-point lead in the third quarter, the largest deficit of the season for the Clippers, Paul and Griffin were assessed technical fouls.

Paul, who had missed 12 of the previous 14 games, scored a season-low three points on one-for-five shooting in a little more than 19 minutes.

"Those guys shot the lights out of the ball," said Paul, who also mentioned that he "surprisingly felt pretty good" in his first game back. "We never really made any kind of impact defensively."

Miami didn't have starting center Chris Bosh and key reserve Ray Allen because of illness.

But with LeBron James scoring 30 points on nine-for-11 shooting, with five rebounds and six assists, while playing only three quarters, and Dwyane Wade scoring 20 points and handing out seven assists in 32 minutes, it didn't matter to the Heat.

Miami had 62 points in the first half, which matched the most by a Clippers opponent this season.

The Clippers have the sixth-worst three-point defense in the NBA, with opponents making 37.2%, and the Heat is the fifth-best three-point shooting team in the league, making 38.1%.

So it didn't come as a surprise that the Heat made 15 three-pointers, matching the most the Clippers have allowed this season.

"We didn't guard the three-ball at all tonight," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I didn't think they felt us tonight physically. We gave them way too much space, too much respect."

brodreick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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