Up by 16 points in the second half and with the Miami Heat looking as disjointed as they have the past week, the visiting Memphis Grizzlies appeared to be on their way to their fourth straight road victory.
With the Heat slowly chipping away at the deficit in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies suddenly went ice cold at 0-6 from the field and didn't score again after Mike Conley scored with just under three minutes left in the game to give his team a 97-89 lead.
Gerald Green would score five straight points, including three free throws after getting fouled in the corner, and Dwyane Wade followed with two baskets to give Miami their first lead since the first quarter. Memphis had more than 21 seconds left to respond but chose to run down the clock and go for the win with the last shot. Instead, they committed a costly turnover after a bad pass by Conley to Marc Gasol. Two free throws by Justise Winslow produced the final score and the end to their three-game losing skid.
"That was our best frustrating win of the season," said a depleted Erik Spoelstra afterwards. "That's what it felt like for large parts of the game, at least 40 minutes of the game it just felt frustrating."
The coach then pointed out that even with most of the game played at a below average level, the Heat still gave themselves a chance to stay in the game with some timely plays.
"That showed a little more resolve," he said. "(That's) we've been looking for in the last few games."
Chris Bosh led the Heat with 22 points, Green had 16 off the bench and Luol Deng had his best game since returning from injury with 15 points and seven rebounds. The starting backcourt struggled for most of the night with Wade finishing with 14 points in 30 minutes while Goran Dragic had eight points, eight assists and five turnovers.
With the Grizzlies and the Heat near the bottom of the league in scoring, both teams traded baskets to start the game but the Grizzlies raced out to a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter with a 17-2 run. Green managed to hit two 3-pointers but the Heat mostly looked out of sorts on offense with Dragic struggling with his ball handling and decision making, particularly around the rim. Beno Udrih, who came to the Heat in the Mario Chalmers trade with Memphis, was able to stabilize the offense in the second quarter alongside Winslow, Green and Udonis Haslem that allowed the Heat to tie the game but they were unable to grab the lead and instead fell behind again.
Memphis continued to increase their lead in the third quarter and used a 10-2 run to give them their biggest lead at 70-54 midway through the quarter. The Heat came right back, scoring eight straight to cut it to six points at the end of the quarter and set up a thrilling final 12 minutes where they outscored their opponent 29-19.
In his first game back at the AmericanAirlines Arena since he was traded, Chalmers enjoyed a tribute video that was played in the first quarter and finished with 12 points on 4-7 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench.