BEIJING - Reigning NBA champions Miami Heat dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers 94-80 yesterday thanks to 20 points from superstar LeBron James in a pre-season exhibition before a raucous Beijing crowd.
The sell-out audience was on its feet as soon as the Heat took the court with James and teammate Dwyane Wade waving to fans in the Wukesong arena where the pair won the 2008 Olympic gold medal for Team USA.
The Heat went to work from the start, with James scoring his team's first six points and delighting the crowd with a series of dunks and jumpers to put the champs up 29-18 at the end of the first quarter.
The Clippers closed to 60-47 following six straight points by explosive power forward Blake Griffin midway through the third quarter, but two three-pointers by Miami's newly acquired Ray Allen doused the Clippers hopes of a comeback.
Wade, who signed a lucrative shoe contract with China's Li Ning brand on Wednesday, scored five points in 23 minutes, despite earlier announcing he would not play due to injury.