MIAMI — Dwyane Wade scored 29 points, 11 in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Heat held off the Los Angeles Clippers 102-97 on Thursday night.
LeBron James added 18 points for the Heat (4-2), who won their third straight and extended their club record by scoring at least 100 points in a sixth consecutive game to start the season. Chris Bosh, playing for the first time since his wife delivered a baby earlier this week, finished with 12 points for Miami.
Blake Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers (3-3). His dunk with 31 seconds left got the Clippers within four, but Griffin allowed about 15 seconds to run off the clock without fouling James on the ensuing possession.
James made one free throw to push Miami’s lead to five, and that closed the scoring.
J.J. Redick scored 15 points, Jamal Crawford added 14, Chris Paul finished with 11 points and 12 assists, and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers.
Ray Allen scored 12 points for Miami, which got 10 from Chris Andersen.
Including playoffs, the Heat have won 51 of their last 57 games when Wade scores at least 20 points, going back to June 2012. It’s also the first time since last March that Wade has scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games, this streak immediately following him sitting out the second game of the season for rest.
Wade either scored or assisted on Miami’s first six field goals of the fourth quarter, including a three-point play while getting fouled on a jumper by Redick. About a minute later, Wade set up Shane Battier for a 3-pointer that put Miami up 91-80, and the 2006 NBA Finals MVP punctuated it all with a fist pump.
The Heat held on from there, improving to 50-7 at home since the start of last season, including playoffs.
For the sixth time in as many games this season, the Heat found themselves in a quick deficit — and for the fourth time, it was exactly 9-2, just as it was against Chicago, Washington and Toronto. The Heat trailed Brooklyn 11-3 early, and fell behind at Philadelphia on the season’s second night by scores of 19-0 and 26-4.
It didn’t last long, as Miami tied it on three occasions later in the opening quarter, then took its first lead on a baseline jumper by Andersen with 8:58 left in the half. The Clippers used a 12-5 spurt to take a seven-point lead later in the half, then settled for a 56-52 halftime lead even with Paul being held to five points, his low for a first half this season.
Griffin opened the second half with a 3-pointer, but the Heat chipped away and three hustle plays by Battier late in the third helped Miami finish the period on a 12-5 run to take a 76-73 lead.
Battier drew two charges — one against Griffin, the other against Paul — in a two-possession span, and after missing two free throws with 1:04 left, he ran down his own offensive rebound and got fouled again on the putback and made both free throws.
Battier took yet another charge, this one against Jordan, with 8:33 left in the fourth to preserve an 88-80 lead.