Miami, FL – For the first time in more than two months, the Los Angeles Clippers had their entire core together when they took on the court Friday against the Miami Heat.
Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Blake Griffin were all in the starting lineup for their showdown with the defending world champions, though their return couldn't prevent the Clippers from being dealt a 111-89 defeat.
Paul, back from a nine-game absence due to a bone bruise on his right kneecap, managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting in 20 minutes of action. The All- Star point guard had sat out 12 of Los Angeles' previous 14 contests, having initially hurt the knee on Jan. 12 before returning to action and appearing in two games before aggravating the injury at Golden State on Jan. 21.
Billups appeared in only his fourth game of the season and first since Dec. 3, having missed time because of an inflamed tendon in his left foot and offseason Achilles surgery. The veteran guard finished with seven points and four assists while playing 16 minutes.
Griffin had started 197 consecutive games prior to missing the last two with a strained left hamstring, an injury the 2009 No. 1 overall pick sustained during pregame warmups before the Clippers' tilt at Washington on Monday. He ended with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.