The Miami Heat had victory in sight for the second night in a rare back-to-back set with the Memphis Grizzlies but Mike Conley was unstoppable down the stretch in a disappointing 110-107 home loss Saturday night.
Miami wasn’t as sharp as they were last night in Memphis but had several chances to pull out a critical victory to get back on track at the AmericanAirlines Arena but the Grizz were simply the better team tonight. Marc Gasol certainly got back on track after a dismal performance in their first matchup with the Heat but was instrumental to their victory this time around with a season-high 28 points. Paired with Conley, who had no minutes restriction after coming off the bench in Memphis and scored 11 points in crunch time, the duo had answer every time for the Heat’s repeated comeback attempts in the second half.
Not to be outdone, Dion Waiters led the charge for Miami with his own season-high of 28 points and all five starters along with two reserves reached double-figures in points for a balanced attack. Luke Babbitt again struggled with his shooting off the bench, but just about everyone else that stepped on the court for the Heat had their moments throughout the game, with Derrick Williams getting it going at times and Rodney McGruder making solid plays.
Josh Richardson (15 points) and Tyler Johnson (12 points) also provided big buckets at crucial times, as did Hassan Whiteside (15 points, 12 rebounds), but had one of them broken out with just a few more baskets, or free throws, in support of Waiters it would would have been the difference for a crucial win instead of yet another frustrating loss.
Miami was again without Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow and Willie Reed as well as Wayne Ellington (and Chris Bosh). Zach Randolph, James Ennis and Chandler Parsons were out for Memphis.
The Heat (5-11) will next host the Boston Celtics on Monday night at 7:30pm.