(The Sports Xchange) - The surging Los Angeles Clippers shrugged off the absence of forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan by easing to a 104-90 victory over the Miami Heat at Staples Center on Wednesday.
Backup center Cole Aldrich, who started in place of Jordan, scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while point guard Chris Paul had 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, sparking the Clippers to their 10th consecutive victory.
Forward Paul Pierce and guard Jamal Crawford scored 15 points apiece for Los Angeles (26-13) with the former also collecting nine rebounds.
Griffin missed his ninth contest with a partially torn left quad tendon but Jordan’s absence was a surprise before the game when it was revealed he had pneumonia.
His withdrawal ended Jordan’s NBA-leading consecutive games streak at 360.
Guard Gerald Green scored 19 points to lead the Heat, who lost their third in a row. Dwyane Wade finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while forward Chris Bosh had 11 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Miami (22-17).
Heat guard Goran Dragic missed the contest with a calf injury.
Initially, Miami did not seem to miss a beat without Dragic, leading by as much as 16 in the first half before Los Angeles cut the deficit to single digits.
A 9-3 run to close the half allowed the Clippers to pull within 52-45 at the break. Los Angeles rallied despite shooting only 39.2 percent to 52.5 percent for the Heat.
However, 11 turnovers by the Heat to only three for the Clippers in the first half did not help their cause.
Overall, the Clippers shot 42.6 percent to 44.3 percent for Miami. Los Angeles drained 11-of-25 (44 percent) from three-point range to 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) for the Heat.
In the third quarter, the Clippers opened with a 24-5 spurt, which included a 13-0 run, for a 69-57 advantage after an Aldrich hook shot with 6:11 left.
Los Angeles led 79-69 heading into the final period after they out-scored the Heat 34-17 in the third.
A 10-2 run to kick off the fourth quarter blew the game open for the Clippers.
Editing by John O'Brien