Memphis Grizzlies at Miami HEAT Game Preview
Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon
The Miami HEAT host the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Get your tickets now! The HEAT defeated the Grizzlies 107-82 in their last meeting on Dec. 11. Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM. Television coverage on FOX Sports Sun begins at 7:00 PM. You can also listen to the action live on 790 The Ticket.
1: What was your major takeaway from Miami’s overtime loss in New Orleans last night?
Couper Moorhead: That Anthony Davis is incredible. Nobody will be happy about the loss, Miami’s league-leading forty-second clutch game, but appreciate for a moment what Davis was able to do. He posted 45 points, 17 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 blocks in 41 minutes. You know who the last player to post those numbers was, since blocks were a recorded statistic? There wasn’t one. That’s a first-ever box-score, and we can tip our collective caps to that.
Joe Beguiristain: Like Erik Spoelstra stated after the game, I believe the HEAT are close to getting over the hump. Although Miami made some big shots late in its franchise-record 17th straight game decided by single-digits, Anthony Davis proved to be too much in the end.
Still, Goran Dragić, Dwyane Wade and James Johnson put on some gutsy performances in the overtime period. In particular, Wade and Johnson flipped the script after getting off to a slow start against New Orleans. While it ultimately wasn’t enough, the effort was certainly there.
2: Despite the game being over two months ago, is there any major point you remember from the last time Miami played Memphis?
Couper: Aside from Miami shooting a somewhat aberrational, though still impressive, 14-of-27 from three, this game is still in the running for one of the HEAT’s most dominant of the season. Whether or not their shots actually fell, the HEAT had a balanced scoring attack with seven players in double figures, 24 assists and, most importantly, by far their best Shot Quality mark of the season – an expected effective field-goal percentage of 55.8. They beat Memphis’ starters, they beat Memphis’ bench and led by as many as 27 points. Both teams playing on a back-to-back will change things tonight, but Memphis has continued to struggle all season without the stewardship of Mike Conley on the court.
Joe: That last matchup was one of the HEAT’s most complete games of the season, as they locked-in on both ends of the floor from beginning to end. In addition to dominating offensively like Coup mentioned above, Miami also held Memphis to just 38.9 percent shooting on the night.
Naturally, Bam Adebayo shined defensively against multiple guys, including Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green and Chandler Parsons. Additionally, both Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson did a nice job of defending Tyreke Evans throughout the contest.
Speaking of Evans, the 28-year-old’s status for Saturday remains to be seen since he sustained a right rib injury against the Cavaliers on Friday night. We’ll see if he’ll be able to give it a go against the HEAT.
3: What is the best defense of Marc Gasol?
Couper: As talented as Gasol is, the HEAT had the right idea last time out with Conley unavailable to engage in Memphis’ deadly two-man game. The HEAT simply defended him one-on-one as much as possible, forcing him to create offense for himself rather than use his exceptional passing ability to find open teammates. Gasol, shooting a career-low 41 percent from the field – his first time below 45 percent ever – shot 5-of-14 last time against the HEAT. With Tyreke Evans also shooting 5-of-17, the Grizzlies just weren’t able to generate enough offense to keep up with Miami’s shooting. That’s not to say you just let Gasol get his catches wherever he wants, either. You contest the passing lanes and push his post-ups out to mid-range and beyond. Then, you trust your defenders.
Joe: Whenever you face someone as multifaceted as Gasol, you really have to pick and choose your spots. I’d assume that Miami will do what it did in that last meeting and match up with the Spaniard one-on-one. As I mentioned previously, Adebayo fared quite well against the veteran and forced him into some tough looks.
By going this route, the HEAT have a greater chance of limiting the production from others around Gasol and make things more of a one-man show for the Grizzlies. That said, Miami should be wary of Andrew Harrison, especially if Evans ends up not playing. The 23-year-old Harrison is averaging 14.1 points and 4.0 assists per game on 48.6 percent shooting over his last 10 outings.
INJURY UPDATE: Evans has been ruled out of Saturday night's game.
- The HEAT are 30-29 on the season.
- The Grizzlies have dropped 11 of 13 and enter the contest at 18-39.
- Miami has played in a franchise-record 17 straight single-digit games.
- Marc Gasol leads Memphis in rebounds (8.4) and blocks (1.5) per game.
- HEAT Offense: 103.1 (24)
- HEAT Defense: 104.4 (8)
- Grizzlies Offense: 102.3 (27)
- Grizzlies Defense: 106.8 (20)