Heat-Clippers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 14, 2012
LeBron James' lowest scoring average is against the Los Angeles Clippers. James struggled to score in last season's lone meeting against the Clippers heading into Wednesday night's matchup at Staples Center for the Miami Heat. The three-time league MVP is averaging 23.1 points in 17 lifetime games versus Los Angeles (5-2). He missed 12 of 19 shots for 23 points in last season's 95-89 overtime loss. James, however, had 13 rebounds and seven assists in that contest. The Clippers know his game is not based solely on scoring. "You just have to make him work," Los Angeles forward Matt Barnes said. "He's such a talented player, the scoring numbers aren't always how he benefits his team the most. He controls the game through passing, through rebounding, through playing defense as well." James was off to a slow start by his standards, averaging 21.9 points through his first seven games. He broke out with a season-high 38 - 32 after halftime - in Monday's 113-110 victory at Houston. "It's the zone you hear about,'' James said. "Certain players talk about getting into the zone. I wish I could get into it more. But when you're in it, you know how it feels, you know everything you put up and how you're going is pretty good.'' Miami (6-2) bounced back from a 104-86 loss at Memphis the night before. James only scored 20 in that contest before he turned in one of the most brilliant displays of the early season. "I expected him to make every single shot he threw up," Chris Bosh said Monday. "I guess, after 30 points, you think everything is going in.'' Bosh continued his strong play this season with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He's averaging 20.9 points - his highest in two-plus seasons since joining the Heat in 2010 after averaging at least 22.3 his last five seasons with Toronto. "He's Mr. consistent," teammate Dwyane Wade said of Bosh. "He is a guy who does what he has to do and obviously on the offensive end he is multi-talented." James is good friends with Clippers guard Chris Paul, a teammate at the London Olympics. They have split 12 meetings, with James averaging 25.0 points and 7.6 assists in those games and Paul 17.1 and 9.7, respectively, in those categories. Paul is second in the league with 10.3 assists per game for a Clippers team that continues to showcase tremendous depth. Reserve guard Jamal Crawford leads the club with his 20.1 average. Crawford is in a similar role as Heat veteran Ray Allen, who has been limited to 13 points over his last two games. "This is a tough team you know with their Big 3 and then having Ray Allen coming off the bench," Barnes said. "They are a very talented and deep team. So we just have to stay focused and locked into the game plan and try to create the tempo we want to play at the defensive end." Los Angeles won its third straight, 89-76 at home over Atlanta on Sunday. Blake Griffin led six Clippers in double figures with 16 points. The Clippers' 9-2 home record against the Heat since 2001-02 is their second-best against any opponent. Miami, which is 2-1 on its current six-game road swing, has lost four straight on the road in this series.
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