The Memphis Grizzlies are off to the best start in franchise history as they won their fifth straight game to move to 5-1 with a 104-86 rout of the defending champion Miami Heat. It was also the 14th straight win at home for the Grizzlies dating back to last season. Memphis has beaten Miami 3 of the last 4 times they have played dating back to 2010.
Memphis took a narrow 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Grizzlies exploded for 34 points in the second led by 16 points off the bench from guard Wayne Ellington. Ellington hit 7 3 pointers in the game and led the Grizzlies with 25 points. The Grizzlies went on a 14-1 run to close out the second and were up 56-41 at the half. Miami cut into the lead by outscoring Memphis 25-20 in the third quarter. The Heat never got closer than 63-58. Memphis pulled away in the fourth to complete the 104-86 rout.
Miami had a cold shooting night. The Heat shot 38% from the field including 4/15 on 3 pointers. Miami came into the game as the 2nd best free throw shooting team in the league but made only 22 of 36 Sunday night. The Heat had 43 rebounds, 18 assists, 8 steals, 6 blocks and 13 turnovers. Miami had 23 fast break points and 42 points in the paint.
Miami center Chris Bosh had 22 points and 8 rebounds. LeBron James was the only other Miami player in double digit scoring with 20 points. He also added 10 rebounds, 6 assists, two steals and a block. Dwyane Wade added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Norris Cole added 7 points off the bench but six other Heat players scored 4 or 5 points.
Memphis shot 44.2% from the field including a blistering 14 of 24 from 3 point range. Miami had said that their game plan was to protect the paint as Memphis came into the game near of the bottom of the league in three pointers attempted and made. The Grizzlies made them pay for that strategy. The Grizzlies made 14 of 16 free throws. Memphis had 43 rebounds, 26 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks, and 14 turnovers. Memphis had 16 fast break points and 40 points in the paint.
Forward Rudy Gay had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. Zach Randolph had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Point guard Mike Conley had 18 points, 9 assists, and 3 rebounds. Center Marc Gasol scored only 2 points, but he did have 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Ellington shot 7 of 11 from 3 point range.
The Grizzlies had one of their best shooting performances of the season so far. It was a total team effort and a huge win over one of the best teams in basketball. It doesn’t get any easier for Memphis as they travel to Oklahoma City Wednesday to take on the Thunder, and then host the New York Knicks on Friday. Both of those games will be nationally televised on ESPN.