Kawhi Leonard scored 17 of his game-high 33 points in the crucial third quarter and had his first career triple-double as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the host Miami Heat 122-117 on Friday night.
Los Angeles went from down six points to up 15 in the game-changing third quarter. The Clippers had trailed by 15 in the first period.
The Heat, who entered the game with the NBA's best home record at 20-1, were led by Jimmy Butler, who had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists before going out with a right-ankle injury in the fourth quarter. The Heat's only home losses this season have come against Los Angeles teams -- they lost to the Lakers on Dec. 13.
Leonard, who rested in Los Angeles' previous game, also had 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was named an All-Star starter for the fourth time on Thursday and now has seven straight 30-point-plus games.
Clippers shooting guard Landry Shamet had 22 points.
Miami was without three rotation players: guard Goran Dragic (calf injury), Kendrick Nunn (foot) and Justise Winslow (back).
Due to those injuries, Heat guard Dion Waiters made his season debut. Waiters, who was unhappy with his lack of playing time in the preseason and was suspended three times during the year, scored 14 points in 18 minutes.
Heat rookie guard Tyler Herro, who started in place of Nunn, had 19 points.
Los Angeles was without two injured starters: point guard Patrick Beverley (groin) and forward Paul George (hamstring).
Los Angeles struggled early, falling behind 24-9. Waiters entered with 1:38 left in the first quarter and almost immediately launching an errant 3-pointer.
Miami led 30-22 after the first quarter. The Clippers, thanks in part to 16 first-half points by Shamet, cut their deficit to 65-63 at the break. The Clippers survived Leonard's 2-of-11 shooting in the first half.
Los Angeles took its first lead with 5:43 left in the third quarter on a Leonard jumper. The Clippers finished the quarter with a 15-0 run, taking a 101-85 lead into the fourth.
Miami cut its deficit to 118-115 on a Waiters 3-pointer with 34 seconds left, but Leonard went 4-of-4 on free throws in the next half-minute to clinch the decision.
--Field Level Media