NBA: Clippers handle Heat in overtime, 95-89
LOS ANGELS—Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers survived their biggest test of the season with a 95-89 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, proving the home team can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the NBA.
Paul recorded 27 points and 11 assists to upstage LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as the new-look Clippers prevailed in an engrossing battle to hand the Heat a second overtime loss in as many days.
"It's a good team we just beat. That's a good win for our team," said Paul, whose arrival in the off-season has helped turn the team into contenders. "Hopefully this gives us a little momentum. We have a tough stretch coming up."
Miami were held to just one field goal in the extra session, a Mario Chalmers three-pointer that pulled them to 90-89, but Los Angeles scored the final five points to seal the victory.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was ejected in the final seconds for arguing a non-call as the frustration continued for Miami (8-3), who also lost to Golden State in OT on Tuesday.
James finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and Wade added 17 points but both teams struggled to find their shooting touch.
James made just 7-of-19 shots, along with 9-of-17 free throws, and Miami failed to make a field goal in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter, staying in touch by getting to the foul line where the team shot 58 percent.
"I put a lot of the free throws on me," James said. "It's kind of a rhythm. I need to concentrate a little more at the free throw line and knock them down and we'll be fine."
After the Clippers nudged ahead 86-84 on three free throws from Chauncey Billups in the final half-minute of regulation, James split four free throw attempts to tie the game and send it into overtime after Paul missed a shot at the buzzer.
Blake Griffin and Caron Butler had 20 points for Los Angeles (5-3), who remain second behind their city rivals, the Lakers, in the Pacific division.
The Clippers kept close but trailed for most of the game before ending the third quarter with a 10-4 run that gave the home team a one-point edge heading into a spirited fourth. — Reuters
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