Thursday, July 9, 2015

Recap: Heat 87, Clippers 85

It was hard to imagine that Miami's sensational summer league could get any better, but that's exactly what happened on Wednesday.
Willie Reed continued his torrid Southwest Airlines Orlando Pro Summer League pace by notching 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots, including a pivotal rejection with 5.9 seconds left and Shabazz Napier took care of the rest by drilling the game-winning free throws with 3.2 ticks remaining in the Heat's thrilling 87-85 victory over the Clippers.
"I was just happy for him," Heat Summer League coach Dan Craig said. "He's put a lot of time in, not just since we've been in Orlando, but in the five weeks leading up to summer league, I thought that was just the karma of the game."
In his first appearance since undergoing hernia surgery on April 1, Napier showed no signs of rust. The point guard commanded the floor with high energy and tallied 14 points, six assists and four boards in just 17 minutes of action.
Despite it being his first on-the-court competitive action since the surgery, Napier calmly stepped to the line and drained the go-ahead freebies to help Miami improve to 4-0 in summer league action.
"He didn't look like he skipped a beat," Craig added.
While the Heat have to be happy with Napier's return, they also have to be equally as excited that they may have found another D-League diamond in the rough and coincidentally from the same squad where Miami center Hassan Whiteside was once featured.
Reed, who spent the 2014-15 D-League campaign with the Iowa Energy, was once again a force to be reckoned with. The 6'11" big man has been a presence on both ends of the floor in Miami's four contests, averaging 13.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.75 blocks per game.
"He's been our one constant," Craig said. "He gives us great minutes and he was our leading rebounder again tonight, against a very good rebounding team."
Miami also received a spark from James Ennis, who poured in 14 points. It was reminiscent of his outings in both Orlando and Las Vegas last year, which helped him earn a spot on the Heat's roster.
Journeyman Diante Garrett led the Clippers with a game-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds.
Branden Dawson continued to make a case that he was a valuable selection with the No. 56 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by notching 15 points and 11 boards, increasing his averages to 12.8 and 10.3 during his summer league stint.
He also showcased his defensive capabilities once again, with a wicked rejection on Reed with 5:56 left in the second quarter.
"He's part of the Lob City too I think," Garrett said of his teammate. "He gets up and down the court, he's freakishly athletic, I think he'll be a good fit."
D.J. Newbill, an undrafted guard out of Penn State, added to Los Angeles' offensive output by firing off 18 points.
Both Miami and Los Angeles have Thursday off before returning to action on Friday's Championship Day. That schedule has yet to be determined.

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