The Miami Heat will put a three-game winning streak on the line Friday night when they host the road-weary and injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers.
Friday will be the third game of a five-game homestand for the Heat, who took the first two in gutty fashion. The Charlotte Bobcats gave Miami all it could handle in a 99-94 win on Monday, then the Heat held off the Houston Rockets 114-108 on Wednesday.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both went for 30-plus on Wednesday with James scoring 32 points and Wade 31. The Heat were without the services of Chris Bosh, who missed the game with the flu.
"We understand we have to pick up the load," said James, who notched his third straight 30-plus scoring game. "We just know. You don't need to talk about it, you just do it."
James tallied his 5,000th point as a member of the Heat on Wednesday, becoming the ninth Heat player to hit that milestone number.
The Heat have won five straight at home and ran their record in AmericanAirlines Arena to 20-3, which equals the Indiana Pacers for best home record in the East.
Miami will have revenge on its mind Friday night. The Heat fell to the Clippers, 107-100, on Nov. 14 at the Staples Center when Blake Griffin had 20 points and 14 rebounds and Chris Paul netted 16 with 10 assists.
Both of L.A.'s All Stars have been out of action recently. Paul has missed 12 of the last 14 games with a bruised right kneecap and Griffin has sat out the last two with a hamstring injury. Their availability for Friday night is undetermined.
With both of those players out, as well as second-leading scorer Jamal Crawford, who sat with a sore shoulder, the Clippers ended a three-game losing streak against the lowly Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
Eric Bledsoe, who starts in place of Paul, went off for a career-high 27 points and Ryan Hollins and D'Andre Jordan tallied 13 apiece in the Clips' 86-76 win.
Los Angeles trailed in the first half, but held the Magic, who were without three of their leading scorers as well, to 34 points in the second half.
The Clippers are on their annual Grammy road trip and have gone 2-3 on the odyssey so far. They have two more games after Friday, a Sunday afternoon tilt in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, and a Monday night battle with the 76ers in Philly.
"I think fortunately we took care of business earlier in the year, so we have a little bit of a cushion," said Grant Hill. "But all of sudden you lose a couple of games and you could go from first to fourth in the West. It is tough, these dog days, you're on the road, banged up, sick, hurt. You've just got to find a way."
The Clippers haven't won in Miami since March 10, 2008.