LOS ANGELES -- Kawhi Leonard posted up Miami's Bam Adebayo early in the fourth quarter before turning, blowing by the Heat defender baseline and throwing down a one-handed reverse slam.

After a four-game absence because of a left hip contusion, Leonard returned and looked healthy, scoring 24 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals in the LA Clippers' 121-104 win over the shorthanded Heat at Crypto.com Arena.

Leonard, who played 33 minutes in his first game back, also reached 13,000 points for his career against a team that he has made a habit out of beating. Leonard has won 13 straight regular-season games against the Heat, who were without Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, Haywood Highsmith and Josh Richardson because of injuries.

"You see the performance," Clippers point guard James Harden said of Leonard. "Both ends of the ball, just elite. Shotmaking, defensively, just being active, creating opportunities in transition. We needed that, [for Leonard] to get well and get better. We missed him."

The Clippers (20-12) are surging. They won their third-straight game and have now won 12 of their last 14 games.

Leonard, who left without talking to reporters on Monday night, sat out the previous four games after being kneed in the hip near the end of a win at Dallas on Dec. 20.

But after practicing on Sunday, Leonard was back in the starting lineup. It took him about a quarter to get warmed up.

In his first game against Miami since Feb. 5, 2020, Leonard asserted himself in the second quarter, scoring 13 points and making 5-of-6 shots.

"It's great to have 2 back in the lineup," guard Paul George said. "He does all the little intangible stuff. It's just so reliable. But he missed I think a little over a week. It was going to take a little time for him to catch his rhythm, but I thought he did and looked like himself."

Leonard continued to make his presence felt in the second half when he had all of his steals while scoring 11 of his points.

"He's one of the winningest players in league history during the regular season," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Leonard before the game. "So if he's healthy, he's out there, he puts his team in a position to win... They've gotten their bleep together for the time being."