MEMPHIS - The sequence summed how things went for the Miami Heat.
With Ray Allen heading for a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter to trim the lead, Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless decided to intervene. He blocked Allen at the rim, sending him to the floor.
On the other end, Wayne Ellington continued a career night by hitting a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 12 and ended any chance of a comeback in the Grizzlies' 104-86 victory Sunday at FedEx Forum. The five-point swing was just the boost needed for Memphis to hold off a Heat bunch that looked flat on both ends of the floor.
"We did enough things well to put ourselves in a position to win this, but there were critical places where the game turned," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Like sloppy turnovers, missed shots or big baskets that couldn't get us over that hump."
After looking so impressive of late, this was hardly the team that cruised through the previous week. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 22 points and eight rebounds, while LeBron James was his usual self, finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Missing was guard Dwyane Wade, who struggled in his first action since missing Friday's game against the Atlanta Hawks because of an illness. Wade shot just 3 of 15 from the field on his way to an eight-point, eight-rebound effort.
"I missed some shots," Wade said. "It happens when it has been a long night. I have been shooting very well, high 50s [percent]. It says a lot. I had some great looks. It just didn't go down."
An effective Wade might not have mattered.
This just appeared to be the Grizzlies' night. They held the Heat to 38 percent shooting and made 14 of 24 from 3-point range. To further illustrate how things were going Memphis' way, guard Mike Conley Jr., swished a 30-foot, 3-pointer with the shot clock about to expire with 4:06 left.
The basket put Memphis ahead 101-77, giving the sellout crowd of 18,119 reason to cheer. The Grizzlies even emptied the bench early enough for fan favorite Hamed Haddadi to play the final two minutes.
"We didn't make shots and they made shots," James said. "They made 14 3s. The game plan coming into the game was to protect the paint. It's a great paint-scoring team. They are like close to last in 3-pointers made and 3-point attempts per game. We paid for it today, though."
The Grizzlies led the entire first half, thanks to a sluggish start by the Heat. After pulling to within 42-40 on a dunk by Bosh, the Heat lost control in the final 2 minutes, 38 seconds of the half.
A 3-pointer by Conley Jr., on the next possession started a 14-1 run.
"It really came down to two points in the game," Bosh said. "The run they had right before halftime. I think they went on a 14-1 run or something like that. And it was a period in the fourth quarter, we had a couple turnovers and they converted those to points."
Much of the damage was done by Ellington, who closed the first-half scoring with a layup to make it 56-41 at the half. Ellington scored 16 of his career-high 25 points in the first half.
The Grizzlies kept the pressure on in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 16 on a 3-pointer by Conley Jr., with 11:18 left. The Heat responded with the first of several mini-runs to keep things interesting. They scored 15 of the game's next 19 points.
A jumper by Bosh made it 63-58, but the Grizzlies once again had an answer. After a Conley layup slowed the spurt, Ellington hit another 3-pointer. A Conley Jr., technical foul shot, 3-pointer from Rudy Gay and dunk by Zach Randolph completed the quick 11-0 run.
Copyright © 2012, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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