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Heat overcome off night from LeBron to beat Grizzlies for 13th straight win

Mar 2, 2013, 12:05 AM EDT

Miami Heat's James dribbles against Memphis Grizzlies' Pondexter in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida

One streak was going to come to an end in Miami on Friday, with the Grizzlies having won eight in a row and the Heat riding a 12-game winning streak of their own.

It wasn’t surprising that the Heat were the ones that left victorious by pulling away late for a 98-91 victory, the team’s 13th straight. But the way that it happened, with LeBron James struggling mightily offensively and Memphis getting the tempo it wanted for most of the night, made it a struggle for Miami to get this one into the win column until the game’s final minutes.

James, fresh off his fourth consecutive Conference Player of the Month award, couldn’t get much of anything to go his way on the offensive end of the floor in this one. Credit the Grizzlies’ defense to a certain extent, of course, but a lot of the shots James missed are ones we’ve seen him make time and again.

Take a look at LeBron’s shot chart from Friday, via NBA.com/stats.

source:

James went 1-4 from the field in the first quarter, connecting only on a three-pointer from the top of the arc. He didn’t attempt a shot the rest of the half, but did get to the line for two free throws, though he sank just one. He went 0-3 from the field in the third and didn’t score in the period, leaving him just 1-7 through three with four points, with his team clinging to a one-point lead.

In the fourth, due to the tightness of the contest, James began to force the issue, though the results were mostly the same. He managed to go just 3-7 from the field, but his aggressiveness got him to the free throw line for 10 attempts, of which he hit seven. Despite the poor shooting night overall, with the game on the line James came through when his team needed him the most. He drained a dagger of a three-pointer from straight away to give his team the two-possession lead at 93-89 with 24 seconds remaining.

LeBron finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the final period, so even on a night where he didn’t have it offensively, he found a way to get the job done. Miami got solid games from Dwyane Wade (22 points) and Shane Battier (14 points on 4-5 shooting from three-point distance), and James ended up with 18 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists.

The size advantage the Grizzlies have over the Heat and the way they defend inside was a concern for Miami coming in, and it proved to be a legitimate one. Chris Bosh had a very pedestrian game trying to battle the likes of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph down low, and Memphis almost was able to come away with the win.

All things considered, on a night where the Grizzlies shot 42.9 percent from the field and slowed LeBron defensively for three quarters, they came about as close as could be expected.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Wait your whole life for a team like this. And it only happens once. Loving it!

    • savvybynature - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:56 AM

      Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Battier and Allen is easily a top-15, 5-man roster of all time imo.

      They are all such good all-around basketball players, they would easily beat any of the old-school teams, and I’m not a Heat fan.

      • davidly - Mar 2, 2013 at 5:32 AM

        This team is hard not to like, with a roster that is coming together around its supremes in a way that not all-too many thought was possible, but was inevitable given patience and time (each are pros, after all).

        But before I’ll say they would easily beat any of “the old-school teams”, they’re gonna hafta beat all of the current ones consistently.

        The hyperbole in your claim, if not for mere dialectical effect, warrants the replacement of the first third of your nome de plume, indeed, adds new layer of meaning to the word pseudonym, for which you deserve congrats, I suppose.

  2. progress2011 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    OK,

    On one of LBJ’s worst shooting nights of the season, dude still ended up only 2 boards away from a Triple Dip !

    That’s an example of what I mean when I say “FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND” !

    A player that can do more than just chunk bricks at the rim.

    • davidly - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:05 AM

      Well, that’s what makes him great, doesn’t it: He isn’t known for chucking bricks at the rim. On a night when he missed 10 shots, he made up for it with 10 assists and only 1 turnover.

      This is why I think the comparisons to Jordan are a waste of effort: they are both so fundamentally great, and outstanding beyond that, that anyone who grew up watching the one or the other is going to insist that he is the greatest of all time.

      In twenty years, there’s gonna be someone else garnering such comparisons– and fair or unfair– people will look at Jordan & Chicago’s six titles from the 90s the same way people currently look at Russell & Boston’s from the 50s and 60s, ie., just some two-dimensional numbers and stats.

      Likewise, two decades from now there will be 40- & 50-something hoops fans doing their futile best to school the younguns, saying stuff like, “You guys apparently didn’t see LeBron play.”

  3. musician0785 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    the kobe hate is real…… allude to him and its a lebron story…..smh

  4. savvybynature - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Great victory for the Heat, but not a bigger story than Parker being out for maybe a month, which happened earlier and still hasn’t been reported by this site.

    • eventhorizon04 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:33 AM

      That’s a fair point.

      Parker has been putting up MVP-type numbers this season.

      The Spurs are the type of team that flies under the radar during the regular season, but an injury like that deserves a story ASAP.

  5. thekingdave - Mar 2, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    @savvybynature

    The greatest physical specimen to ever wear an NBA uniform, the second best 2 guard, a top 5 PF, a defensive specialist, and one of the greatest 3 pt shooters ever cracks your top 15 5 men rotations ever?Wow. Way to go out on a limb.

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    Can i send a shout out to Chris Andersen please? He has been an absolute God-send. We all love Joel Anthony, of course, and Joel has been a contributor; but he is sooooo limited offensively that his being on the court can hurt us (yes, us) as much as it helps us.

    Andersen does all the things Joel can do, but he does it bigger, more athletically, and he can score. Plus, he’s fit right in on a team that could be one of the most professional AND fun of all time. Notice who led things off on the Harlem Shake video? Not Lebron. Not DWade. Not even Battier. BirdMan!

    Once again, Pat Riley makes the move he needed to make. Top to bottom, it’s a Dream Organization.

  7. rodge1 - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    @1972wasalongtimeago

    Great point about Anderson. Feels great as a Heat fan to finally have a big-man come off the bench that can make lay-ups.

  8. tigershark49 - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    The Heat are easy favorites to repeat, and i’m not a Heat fan.

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