7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2001
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Brand had 23 points and 17 rebounds, Richardson added 19 points and Michael Olowokandi blocked a season-high six shots as the Clippers dealt the Heat their 12th straight loss with an 87-83 victory Tuesday night.
In eight of their nine losses, the Clippers had a lead during the fourth quarter. But this time they hung on with some critical defensive stops down the stretch and improved to 9-9. It's the Clippers' best start since 1992-93, when they were 11-7.
"We blew a lot of fourth-quarter leads, at home and on the road. So to pull this one out in front of our fans was great, especially against a team that had their backs against the wall," Brand said. "They wanted to win and they pulled out all the stops. They were fighting hard and banging, but we won the game."
This is the third-longest losing streak ever for the Heat, who entered the league in 1988-89. They lost their first 17 games in their inaugural season before ending the drought against the Clippers in Los Angeles. The following season, Miami dropped 13 straight.
"Ten of the 12 games have been close games. Some of them have gone right down to the wire, and it's been a make-or-miss situation," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "We need people to step up. We need to win a game, get off the schneid and move on."
The losing streak is the longest for Riley in 20 seasons as an NBA head coach, and he is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time.
"I've got to get the ball to the right people, I've got to have them in their right sets and I have to make them more productive," Riley said. "I picked them, I coach them, and it's my responsibility to get them to become more diligent. But right now I'm not getting them to do that."
Alonzo Mourning scored 21 points for the Heat, one of three teams without a road victory (0-6), along with the Clippers and Chicago. Eddie Jones, Miami's leading scorer, did not play after bruising his right knee toward the end of Monday's practice.
Jim Jackson made his season debut after signing with Miami as a free agent on Sunday, playing 41 minutes and scoring all 14 of his points in the first three quarters. He shot 6-for-14 and missed a seven-foot jumper that would have tied the score with six seconds left.
"I've been watching this team play, and this was the place I wanted to go," Jackson said. "I wanted to be in a disciplined system with a coach who is known to push his players. I felt it would benefit me in the long run."
After trailing throughout the fourth quarter, the Clippers tied it for the second time at 80-all when Lamar Odom slammed home a missed layup by Jeff Mcinnis with 2:43 to play.
The Clippers took the lead for good with 2:07 left, as McInnis fed Odom for a three-point play that gave Los Angeles an 83-80 lead. LaPhonso Ellis fouled out on the play.
Rod Strickland pulled Miami even with a pair of free throws, but Brand found Richardson cutting down the lane for a slam dunk that gave the Clippers an 85-82 edge with 53 seconds left.
Mourning made one of two free throws after Clippers center Michael Olowokandi fouled out for the first time this season with 41 seconds on the clock. Odom missed a 20-footer at the other end, but Jackson missed his chance to tie the score and Brand's two free throws sealed it with five seconds remaining.
"It was a good play. I knew they didn't play the pick-and-roll well, so I knew I could get around to the basket," Jackson said. "It rolled in and rolled out. I think somebody was shaking the basket back there."
The loss dropped Miami's record to 2-14, the worst in the NBA. They had won their previous nine against the Clippers.
Olowokandi, still under investigation on three felony counts involving an argument with his ex-girlfriend, said he will not sue anyone for false arrest if the charges are dropped by the district attorney's office. "My most important thing right now is to focus on the team. And filing a false arrest might prolong this thing and turn the exposure from basketball onto other things," Olowokandi said. "I don't want to bring any more undue attention to the team." ... Clippers coach Alvin Gentry was an assistant coach at Miami for four seasons and interim head coach for the final 36 games of the 1994-95 campaign (15-21) before Pat Riley took over. ... Miami was the sixth team to have a winning streak of eight or more games against the Clippers end since Gentry became coach last season. The others were the Lakers (16), Phoenix (12), Chicago and Cleveland (nine each) and Detroit (eight). ... Miami is Jackson's eighth team in six seasons. He joined a squad that includes four of his former teammates -- Grant, Ellis, Gatling and injured Kendall Gill.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||29-81 (.358)||33-74 (.446)|
|3PM-3PA||4-10 (.400)||3-14 (.214)|
|FTM-FTA||21-33 (.636)||18-23 (.783)|
|Fast Break Points||6||14|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||23 (0/0)||27 (0/0)|