It's nice to be able to say again that the Miami Heat are coming off of a victory heading into their matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies this afternoon at the AAA. This is the 4th game in the Heat's 6-game homestand, the final 5 of which are against teams from the Western Conference. Following Memphis today the Heat will welcome the San Antonio Spurs on Monday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday to close out their run of consecutive home games.
As nice as it was for Miami to break their losing streak on Thursday against the Lakers, it's almost equally important for them to keep things rolling and get another win today against Memphis. If the Heat drops this game then it'll be like taking a step backwards, where winning would keep the momentum going in Miami's favor. With just 17 games remaining until the playoffs, this is when the Heat players really need to think about why they all came to Miami.
Getting back to the task at hand, Memphis comes to town holding on to the 8th and final playoff spot out West, sitting a game and a half behind 7th place New Orleans and a game and a half ahead of 9th place Phoenix. Since late January the Gizz has been a team on the rise and they are looking to keep the ball rolling as the playoffs get closer. They are 17-7 in their last 24 games, with the most recent losses coming against the Lakers, Nuggets, Spurs, Hornets and Knicks.
Memphis is a much different team now then they were back in November when the 4-9 Grizzlies hosted Miami. The Heat were still in the midst of their early season struggles, and their buzzer-beating loss to Memphis is one that I'm sure hasn't been forgotten. Miami trailed by 5 in the final 30 seconds and came back to tie the game just to see Rudy Gay nail a shot over LeBron James as time expired.
There will be a couple of big differences between today's game and the last time they played; the Heat will have Dwyane Wade in the lineup after he missed the first game with a left wrist injury, but Memphis will be without Rudy Gay, who suffered a separated right shoulder a few weeks ago. There is a chance he could miss the rest of the season but the Grizzlies are hopeful that he can return in time for the playoffs.
- The Heat has lost 5 of their last 7 games against Memphis.
- Grizzlies youngster Sam Young has started their last 27 games and scored in double figures in 13 of 20.
- Miami is 20-3 when the Big 3 combine to score at least 75 points.
- Memphis has gone 6-6 without Rudy Gay this season.
- Grizz forward Zach Randolph is one of just 4 players in the league that averages 20 points and 10 rebounds.
- Udonis Haslem (foot) and Dexter Pittman (knee) are out for the Heat.
- As for Memphis, Rudy Gay (shoulder) and Xavier Henry (knee) are out. Jason Williams (back) is listed as day-to-day.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 3:30. If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there. Click here to see what's available.