Heat Sweep Season Series From Grizzlies
Miami 94, Memphis 82
MIAMI, Jan. 24 (Ticker) -- The Memphis Grizzlies lost their shooting touch in the third quarter, when Dwyane Wade found his.
Wade scored 13 of his 25 points in the third period to lead the Miami Heat to a 94-82 victory over the Grizzlies, who have lost four of their last five games.
The Heat matched the Grizzlies in the first half, going 11-of-17 in the opening period before making just 5-of-17 in the second quarter. Wade proved to be the difference after the break.
"This was a good one for me as far as my consistency goes because that's a good team that doesn't beat itself," Wade said. "It was just a matter of pulling the trigger and making my shots."
The All-Star guard made 3-of-4 shots from the floor and all but one of his eight free throws. His ability to make shots and get to the line helped Miami turn a slim 48-47 halftime advantage into a 75-61 bulge entering the final 12 minutes.
"The third quarter was when the game turned around," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "I thought their interior defense made a big difference, and Dwyane really picked his game up in the third quarter."
Pau Gasol, who scored six of his 11 points in the third quarter, said the offensive woes over that 12-minute stretch weren't for lack of effort.
"They (the Heat) flood the lane a lot, so I was trying to distribute the ball and get my teammates involved," said Gasol, the Grizzlies' leading scorer and rebounder. "We were getting wide-open shots."
Miami coach Pat Riley said the second half was more about Miami's team play than any breakdown by Memphis.
"We played a lot better defensively," he said. "They tried to come at us with a lot of pick-and-rolls, but we shut them down."
The lead swelled to 79-61 when Alonzo Mourning connected on a free throw with 10:55 remaining.
Memphis got as close as 85-75 with 6:15 to play when Bobby Jackson, who scored a season-high 22 points, drilled a 3-pointer.
Shaquille O'Neal, who collected 20 points and 15 rebounds, did not allow the margin to get smaller as Miami swept the season series. The superstar center has three straight 20-point games for just the second time this season.
"(Riley) told me he needed 20 out of me again tonight and I got him 20," O'Neal said. "I'm coming around and getting better. It takes time, but my teammates depend on me and I'm stepping it up."
"He's been very aggressive posting up and around the hoop," Riley said. "He's taking those outlet passes and getting over people in traffic and becoming stronger inside."
Wade is also seeing a different O'Neal than when he first came back from the sprained ankle that kept him out of action for over a month.
"He's got his legs back and he's finishing his plays," Wade said. "He's more active getting deep and we're looking for him and finding him."