Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 1/16

Game 1: Friday, January 16th
Game 2: Friday, January 30th

Heat 87

(16-24, 5-18 away)

Clippers 85

(16-20, 12-10 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 16, 2004

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 20 19 25 2387
    LAC 18 22 20 2585

    Top Performers

    Mia: E. Jones 21 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    LAC: E. Brand 22 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 Blk

    Versus former team, Odom gets 11 points, 15 boards

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lamar Odom's defense and rebounding proved more valuable than his offense in his triumphant return to Los Angeles.

    Odom had 11 points and 15 rebounds and came up with a key defensive play in the final seconds to preserve the Miami Heat's 87-85 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

    "He's one of the better rebounders in the league now," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I mean, over the last month, month and a half, he's been right around 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.

    "He's been fabulous -- but we stay on him about it all the time. When he has a game like last night, when he only got five rebounds, we're on him pretty hard because we need him to rebound. For a slender guy in there battling with the big guys, he's taken that job on and done a very good job."

    Odom averaged 15.9 points and 7.3 rebounds during his checkered career with the Clippers, who made him the fourth overall pick in the 1999 draft.

    "It's a little different, coming in here and walking into this locker room. But it's just another game and you've got to approach it like that," said Odom, who was booed by the crowd of 14,233 every time he touched the ball or came into the game.

    "When you play somewhere for four years, you get used to being there. It's shocking when you're not, but you have to move on. I was comfortable here, but I guess it was time for a change."

    Odom played only 78 games during his final two seasons in Los Angeles, his playing time limited by wrist and ankle injuries -- and two suspensions totaling 13 games for violating the NBA's drug policy.

    "Sometimes a change of scenery is good for a guy," Van Gundy said. "I really don't know exactly what the situation was here, but I just know that he's been great with us. He's been very professional, his work ethic's been great, he's got himself into tremendous shape. He's carried a very heavy load for us and done it well."

    Odom insisted he held no grudges against the Clippers, and his ex-teammates had nothing negative to say about him, either.

    "It felt a little weird, having him on opposite sides after playing with him for two seasons and going to war with him," said Elton Brand, who led the Clippers with 22 points and 12 rebounds.

    Eddie Jones capped a 21-point effort with a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute, helping Miami end a four-game losing streak. Reserve Caron Butler scored 14 points for the Heat, who had lost their previous five road games and four straight against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

    Miami committed a season-low five turnovers. The Heat's previous low was seven, against Atlanta in a 97-79 win on Dec. 10. The Heat came in averaging 14.4 turnovers.

    Corey Maggette had 21 points for the Clippers, who played without Quentin Richardson for the third time in four games because of a sprained right wrist. Bobby Simmons left with 1:58 to go in the third quarter after spraining his left knee.

    Jones drained 3-pointers at both ends of a 15-4 run that turned Miami's one-point deficit into a 60-50 lead with 4:22 left in the third quarter. The Clippers, whose previous two games went to overtime, gradually reduced the margin before tying the score at 79 on a pair of free throws and a 21-footer by Eddie House with 4:48 remaining.

    But Udonis Haslem, who made all six of his free throws in the fourth quarter, put Miami ahead to stay with a pair from the foul line 24 seconds later, and Brian Grant added a 17-footer.

    Maggette's 23-footer put the Clippers within one, but Jones responded with an uncontested 3-pointer from the left corner with 45.8 seconds to play.

    Maggette's layup put the Clippers within a basket with 31 seconds left. Odom milked about 15 seconds off the clock, then lost the ball out of bounds while driving against Maggette. But Odom kept focused and prevented Maggette from getting off a potential game-tying shot before the final buzzer.

    "I was trying to do whatever I could," Maggette said. "They were sitting there waiting for me, so I just tried to bull my way through. Lamar played good defense on that last possession."

    Game notes

    Marko Jaric had a career-high 11 assists, becoming the first Clipper this season to record double digits in that category. ... Miami assistant coach Bob McAdoo holds the Clippers' franchise record of 246 blocked shots in a season. It was the 1973-74 campaign, when they were still the Buffalo Braves. ... The Clippers waived F Glenn Rice and activated F Melvin Ely, who missed 12 games because of influenza.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 87 85
    FGM-FGA 32-86 (.372) 31-72 (.431)
    3PM-3PA 5-20 (.250) 2-3 (.667)
    FTM-FTA 18-21 (.857) 21-30 (.700)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-47 10-40
    Assists 19 27
    Turnovers 5 13
    Steals 7 1
    Blocks 6 8
    Fast Break Points 2 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/1) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Eddie Jones Jones
    Points: 21
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 22
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 4