Monday, May 23

Miami tries to warm up against Clippers

The Miami Heat continue a seven-game season-long road trip on Monday, visiting the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Miami opened its Western Conference tour on Thursday with a 101-94 win at Houston, then the Heat lost 112-94 to NBA leaders Utah on Saturday. The win snapped a four-game winning streak for the reigning Eastern Conference champions, who are trying to shake off a slow start to the 2020-21 campaign.

The Heat are four games below .500 on the season, but two games above that mark with Jimmy Butler in the lineup. Butler has missed 12 games, returning from a long absence on January 30.

Miami is also looking to involve Duncan Robinson more in scoring opportunities, according to the Sun Sentinel. Robinson shot nearly 44.6 percent from 3-point range in 2019-20, but is down 40 percent this season.

“[Opposing defenses] they’re trying to get duncan out [of] the game, “Bam Adebayo said in his post-game teleconference on February 13.” What we were doing with Duncan last year, we can’t do this year. “

Finding a more consistent offense is a priority for Miami, which ranks near the bottom of the NBA with 106.2 points scored per game. As a team, the Heat are shooting 35.7 percent from 3-point range to rank in the bottom third of the league.

The Clippers, meanwhile, enter Monday’s showdown with one of the NBA’s most prolific scoring offenses and the No. 1 3-point offense overall.

In their third straight win, a 128-111 thrashing over Cleveland on Sunday, the Clippers shot 43.3 percent from long range. Los Angeles played without the season’s top scorers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but Lou Williams took over with 30 points and 10 assists.

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“When he sets the table, he opens his offense,” Los Angeles coach Ty Lue said of Williams in his postgame teleconference.

Marcus Morris Sr. and Patrick Beverley shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range to continue the Clippers on their league-leading pace of more than 42 percent for the season. Throughout its current winning streak, Los Angeles has scored at least 119 points in all three games, although Lue said the Clippers still “have a long way to go.”

Los Angeles’ three-point shots should be front and center against Miami. The Heat’s defense, one of the tightest in the NBA at 109.6 points allowed per game, allows opponents to shoot more 3s per game, 40.8, than all other teams except one.

That is by design. Miami’s opponents are averaging just 47 2-point field goal attempts per game, for 24, the league’s lowest.

Leonard, whose 26.7 points per game lead Los Angeles, attempts more than twice as many 2-point field goals as the rest of the Clippers roster except George. Leonard’s status for Monday is uncertain.

Lue said that after the first part of the consecutive Presidents’ Day weekend, he wasn’t sure when Leonard suffered the concussion to his leg “or when he will return.”

George’s status for Monday is also unclear. Sunday marked his fifth straight game lost due to a foot injury.

Miami arrives in Los Angeles without Avery Bradley due to a calf injury, while the status of Goran Dragic (ankle) and Chris Silva (hip) is uncertain.

–Field level media

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