Kawhi Leonard scores 25, Clippers top Heat for 25th win in last 30 games

Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the LA Clippers, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) drives to the basket as LA Clippers center Mason Plumlee (44) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) defends Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

LA Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) aims a three point basket as Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin (16) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

LA Clippers forward Paul George (13) aims to score asMiami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) dribbles around LA Clippers center Mason Plumlee (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) and guard Terry Rozier (2) defend LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

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By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI — Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and the Los Angeles Clippers remained red-hot by topping the sliding Miami Heat 103-95 on Sunday night.

Harden flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 11 assists and eight assists. Norman Powell scored 16 points and Paul George added 11 for the Clippers. They are 25-5 since the start of December — by far the best record in the NBA over that span.

Jimmy Butler scored 21 points and Terry Rozier finished with 17 for the Heat. They have lost eight of their last 10.

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Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson each had 14 points for the Heat. Adebayo grabbed 13 rebounds and Caleb Martin scored 11 points for Miami, which played without its two best 3-point shooters. Duncan Robinson remains in the NBA’s concussion protocols and Tyler Herro was slated to start Sunday, then was a very late scratch after being diagnosed with a migraine.

Miami was held under 100 points for the 12th time this season. The Heat are 2-10 in those games; only Portland and Charlotte have more such games this season.

The Clippers improved to 5-1 in their seven-game, 11-day trip necessitated because the arena where they and the Los Angeles Lakers play their home games was taken over by Sunday night’s Grammy Awards. The trip ends Monday in Atlanta, and then the Clippers get a three-game homestand before going to Golden State in their finale before the All-Star break.

The Clippers had seven points through seven minutes — matching their second-slowest start of the season — and the Heat still couldn’t take advantage. Miami briefly led by 11 in the opening quarter before the teams went into halftime tied 43-43.

The teams combined for seven first-half fouls, the fewest in any NBA game this season. The 43 points was a season-low for the Clippers and tied the third-fewest by halftime for the Heat. And the 86 combined points by the break was the sixth-fewest out of more than 700 games played so far this season.

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