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Game of the night: Where even the Heat have to be asking “What happened?”

Nov 21, 2010, 10:21 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies

When I say this, please realize that I very badly simply want to credit the Grizzlies with a terrific win.

I have no idea what just happened.

The Grizzlies beat the Heat in front of what is likely their biggest or second biggest crowd of the season on a Rudy Gay buzzer-beater fadeway baseline jumpshot over LeBron James. This was after Gay dribbled lazily around a screen, lost his dribble, had the ball stolen, and gave up a tying breakaway dunk after having  a two-point lead only seconds before. It was such a typical Grizzlies series of events. A timeout leads to a poorly conceived possession resulting in an ISO situation with a lead, bereft of ball movement or coordination, resulting in the one thing that cannot be allowed, a transition breakaway score to tie the game, then a similar sequence resulting in an impossible shot over one of the best players in the league that lands in the bucket and brings home a win for the home team. Bizarre, yet fitting. Your 2010-2011 Grizzlies. And the same would be true had they lost the game as well.

All this came on a night where Lionel Hollins benched O.J. Mao and Zach Randolph for being late for shootaround as a disciplinary measure. Dwyane Wade missed the game with a sprained wrist, and Udonis Haslem injured his foot. There was just some weird stuff going around Beale Street tonight.

Weirdest of all was the rearing of this Heat team. You know the one. The feckless, passionless, headless thing that can’t seem to understand what it needs to do. The biggest reason the Grizzlies walked away with this win? Miami didn’t close out. Repeatedly the Heat stacked the paint to cut off penetration, which is what you want, but they allowed too many rhythm jump shots. That’s a matter of effort. The other reason, though, was one that isn’t about effort. It’s about personnel.

The Grizzlies’ biggest asset is their ability to produce in the paint in non-post up situations. They have great entry passers that you must deny because once they get the ball and turn, your defense will rotate and they will pass to the man you just left. That’s how Zach Randolph, Darrel Arthur and Marc Gasol combined for 46 points. Throw in some clutch play from Mike Conley, and that’s your ball game.

So once again, the Heat were beat by a talented point guard producing (despite what some hyper-reactive columnists might say, Conley really is playing well), and by the team setting the tone in the paint. There’s a pattern in play and if the Heat don’t resolve a solution, the losses will continue to pile up against teams that have anything go their way.

It was a bizarre game, with a bizarre ending, and one that shows that Rudy Gay is becoming the kind of player you can count on in the clutch, after you cannot count on him in the clutch.

  1. david8726 - Nov 21, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    Meh, as a Heat fan it was really easy to see what happened. We got dominated in the paint in that fourth quarter.

    Z-Bo’s big ass was in full effect against Bosh’s skinny legs. Bosh is a really good player, but he just has a tough time when confronted with someone with Randolph’s girth. Gasol also got timely tipins and rebounds.

    Also – At the end of the game, I felt like the Heat used way too much Iso ball with LeBron. Bosh didn’t see the rock for the last three minutes of the game. As much as Z-Bo is an unfavorable matchup for Bosh on defense, bosh’s advantage is just as big on offense due to his quickness and height. Not sure why we didn’t opt to use that at the end of the game.

    Losing Haslem is a huge blow for this team. We couldn’t afford to lose ANY bigmen and we just lost arguably the second best one on the team.

  2. zblott - Nov 22, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    The Heat have taken another hit in the Power Rankings:

    http://www.hoopskarma.com/hk/2010/11/21/hoops-karma-power-rankings-13.html

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