Odom has 25 points, 14 boards vs. former team

MIAMI (AP) -- Lamar Odom got the best of his old Los Angeles
Clippers teammates.

Odom had 25 points and 14 rebounds in the Miami Heat's 97-88
victory over the Clippers on Friday night.

"I was put in a situation where I had to prove myself this
year," said Odom, who played his first four seasons with the
Clippers. "Nobody thought that I was any good. It's not personal,
but I guess I'm a little more mentally focused."

"His effort is very high when he plays them," Heat coach Stan
Van Gundy said. "He has done it with all the things that the
people have questioned about his game."

Odom scored eight points in the final quarter to help the Heat
sweep the season series.

"He played excellent tonight," Clippers forward Elton Brand
said. "I played with him, so I know he's capable of that. It's not
a surprise to me."

Rafer Alston hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to put Miami
ahead 91-83, and the Heat took their first double-digit lead of the
game 32 seconds later when Malik Allen hit a baseline jumper.

Brand had 23 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers in the
first game of a nine-game road trip.

After leading 78-77 with 6:05 left, Miami stretched its lead to
83-77 on three free throws by Odom and two by Allen.

"We put a lot of effort and energy in this game," Heat forward
Caron Butler said. "It felt great."

Miami rebounded to beat the Clippers after blowing a late lead
Wednesday night in a one-point loss in Cleveland.

"I think we hurt ourselves against Cleveland and tonight we
came out in the second half and took a step forward," Miami guard
Eddie Jones said. "When we play defense like that, good things
happen for our offense."
^Notes:@ Los Angeles won't return home until after the All-Star
break. ... Miami swept the season series after losing its previous
four games to the Clippers. ... Brand and Odom each have 23
double-doubles this season.

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