Zach Randolph was the latest player to return to the lineup for the Clippers, after Baron Davis and Marcus Camby did so three games ago. While Randolph played much better in his first game back than either Davis or Camby were able to, it wasn't enough to prevent the Clippers from suffering a lopsided loss at the hands of the Heat, 119-95.
Randolph came off the bench and played just 26 minutes, but he played well, and led the team in scoring with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Marcus Camby was back in the starting lineup, but was not yet back to putting up the kinds of numbers we're used to seeing from him. Camby played 26 minutes and finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Baron Davis is still coming off the bench, and is having a slow time working himself back into game shape. He played 25 minutes, but hit on just three of his 11 shot attempts to finish with nine points. He did dish out a team-high nine assists and ended up with four steals, so maybe his shot is just a little bit further behind than everything else.
The Clippers kept things close until early in the second quarter, before the Heat turned it on to open up an 11 point lead at the half. L.A. got as close as seven in the third, before Miami ended the quarter with a 13-3 run to push the lead to an insurmountable 17 points at the end of three.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 32 points and nine assists, and Michael Beasley chipped in 18 and seven.
Randolph felt good about his individual performance, and feels good about the team's chances if and when they ever get back to full strength.
"Once everybody gets back healthy, we're going to be OK," Randolph said.
The problem is, that might not be until the season's finished -- which, after losing 20 of their last 22 games, is pretty much already the case for the Clippers.