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NBA AT ANAHEIM CA
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- MIAMI 33 20 19 17 89 LA CLIPPERS 22 23 9 26 80 FINAL
Alonzo Mourning scored eight of his 26 points during a third-quarter run and P.J. Brown grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds, leading the Miami Heat to their fourth straight victory, 89-80 over the reeling Los Angeles Clippers.
Tim Hardaway added 16 points and Voshon Lenard contributed 12 for the Heat, who have won eight of their last nine games. Miami has won five in a row against the Clippers overall and nine of its last 11 visits to Los Angeles.
"We are shorthanded right now," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "Until we get guys healthy and get some guys back everybody has to step up. I was happy with our team's performance tonight. We moved the ball very well and did not force shots."
Miami entered the second half with a 53-45 lead before using a 15-4 run over the first 8:03 of the third quarter for a 68-49 lead. Hardaway ignited the burst with a layup and Lenard nailed a three-pointer, giving the Heat a 58-45 advantage with 10:11 to play in the quarter.
Mourning, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, sank two free throws at the 8:49 mark and, after Maurice Taylor hit a jumper, threw down consecutive dunks to make it 64-47 with 7:47 to play. Mourning had a tip-in with 4:40 remaining and Hardaway capped the surge with a 22-foot jumper.
The Clippers were held to a season-low nine points in the third quarter on 4-for-20 shooting (20 percent) from the field.
"Basically Alonzo and P.J. Brown kicked out butts everywhere," Piatkowski said. "I don't care how much smaller we are, there's simply no excuse for our performance."
Taylor finished with 17 points, Eric Piatkowksi added 16 and Lamond Murray collected 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost five straight and 13 of their last 14 games.
"Stats lie when you look at 47 and 47 rebounds. The game wasn't even won on the boards," Clippers coach Bill Fitch said. "In the fourth quarter they kicked our butts on put backs. Look at the first four shots in the second half. You figure you should make two of those with your eyes closed. It was all downhill from there."
Prior to the game, the teams pulled off a trade with one another as Miami sent center Ike Austin, guard Charles Smith and a 1998 first-round draft pick to the Clippers in exchange for guard Brent Barry. Neither Austin nor Barry played for their new teams.
"We had a couple of distractions before the game tonight but we stayed focused and got the win," Mourning said. "It's a very cruel business but you have to deal with change in this business. Ike is going to be missed."
"Before the game a lot of the players were talking about the trade," Clippers center Lorenzen Wright said. "I think we all agree that he'll (Austin) give us some needed size and strength."
A tip-in by Keith Askins with 47 seconds left in the third gave the Heat a 72-54 lead. Brown capped a 5-0 run with a dunk, extending the advantage to 77-57 with 9:55 left. The Clippers scored the game's final eight points to make it close.
The Heat scored 10 unanswered points, five each from Brown and Askins, to turn an 18-16 edge into a 28-16 lead with 1:49 to play in the first quarter. Mourning had 13 points to help Miami to a 33-22 lead after one quarter.
The Clippers responded with a 15-6 run to open the second quarter, including six points from Murray, to pull within 39-37 with 5:30 remaining in the half. Hardaway's three-pointer gave Miami a 45-39 lead with 3:28 to go.
Eric Murdock scored 10 points off the bench and Brown finished with nine for the Heat, who shot 42 percent (36-for-83) from the field and 42 percent (8-for-19) from three-point range.
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