The Miami Heat made a valiant effort to fight back from a 19-point deficit early in the second half. Miami even trimmed the deficit all the way to one point several times in the third quarter.
The problem? The Heat never got over the hump.
According to the AP's Tim Reynolds, the Heat scored to cut the deficit to one or two points 11 times in the second half. But the Grizzlies always responded in a 103-95 decision, whether Miami bailed them out with an ill-advised foul or with a clutch Grizzlies basket.
Dwyane Wade made a running bank shot with 54 seconds left to get Miami within 95-93, but the Grizzlies ran a pick-and-roll to get Marc Gasol the ball right under the basket. Wade fouled Gasol to prevent an easy layup, and Gasol made both free throws. The Heat's franchise player missed a 3 on Miami's subsequent possession, forcing the team into a fouling mode the rest of the way.
Although the Heat failed to take the lead in the second half, Miami lost the game before intermission. Miami was down 27-16 after the first quarter, and the Grizzlies scored 57 points by halftime. Some of the Grizzlies' hot shooting came from crazy Mike Conley 3s despite a good contest -- including a deep 3 with 0.3 seconds left in the second quarter.
But the Heat also suffered defensive breakdowns and fouled too many times -- especially in the fourth quarter. On one possession midway through the fourth quarter, Marc Gasol missed two foul shots at the line. But the Grizzlies got the offensive board, and within seconds Mario Chalmers sent Beno Udrih to the foul line. Udrih, of course, sank both.
Still, Miami did a lot of things well to make a game competitive against a Western Conference powerhouse, even though it didn't have Zach Randolph. (In fairness to Miami, the Heat don't have Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts.) Wade was again spectacular, scoring 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists, four steals and two blocks. In order for the Heat to make it a close game, Wade also didn't lose his legs in the second half. For the most part, Wade played in control, making the right pass when necessary.
Danny Granger followed up on his clutch performance against the Cavaliers with a vintage 18-point night off the bench. Granger scored 12 points in the first half, preventing the Heat from falling even further behind. He shot 7-of-10 overall and moved well to come off screens for mid-range shots. If he continues to hit jump-shots consistently, he'll have a place in this rotation.
Miami other's hero from the Cleveland game, Luol Deng, scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. He was instrumental in Miami's third-quarter comeback, making big shots and coming up with key steals that fueled the Heat rally. For the second straight game, Deng played at least 39 minutes. He even played about 16 straight minutes of game time to open the second half. James Ennis played just five first-half minutes, and he should play more. Deng didn't sign up with the Heat to have Erik Spoelstra drive him into the ground playing 40 minutes a night like Tom Thibodeau did for so many years in Chicago.
Chris Andersen added 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field. Hassan Whiteside played a season-high 16 minutes, offering strong interior defense and grabbing seven boards. He is so big that he grabs rebounds that he seemingly shouldn't be able to make. On the other hand, Whiteside was abysmal on the offensive end. He air-balled a free throw (one of his four misses from the stripe) and had a point-blank layup blocked.
The Heat's point guards, Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole, shot a combined 5-for-20. And Shabazz Napier still couldn't get on the court.
Miami will try to end their home stand on a high note Monday night against Orlando at 7:30.