NBA News Wire

Heat 91, Grizzlies 86

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MIAMI — The stifling Memphis Grizzlies defense held each of the Miami Heat’s Big 3 under 20 points, but the Heat were able overcome that with a late run.

With Grizzlies center Marc Gasol making an early exit because of a sprained ankle, the smaller Miami Heat took advantage and pulled out a 91-86 win Friday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Forward LeBron James connected on a jumper from the top of the key with 24.8 seconds remaining to cap an 11-0 run and give Miami four-point advantage, 88-84.

After a driving layup by Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, Memphis gave Heat guard Ray Allen an open lane to the basket that resulted in an Allen dunk with 14.1 seconds remaining. Conley then missed a 3-pointer that sealed Memphis’ fate.

The Heat had taken the lead with 1:04 remaining on a pair of Dwyane Wade free throws.

James finished with 15 points, while Wade had 14 and forward Chris Bosh had 11. Allen was Miami’s leading scorer, with 18.

Forward Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds. Gasol left with 14 points and six rebounds.

The departure of Gasol, last season’s Defensive Player of the Year, in the third quarter sparked a Heat run to get them back in the game.

After trailing by as many as 12 in the third, Miami finished the quarter on a 12-4 run with guards Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers and Allen all hitting 3-point attempts and center Chris Andersen scoring on a put-back as time expired in the period.

Memphis went on two separate 8-0 runs in the third quarter to regain control after losing an early advantage near halftime. Gasol and Randolph did most of the work inside while also opening things up for a pair of 3-pointers by Courtney Lee.

The Grizzlies led by as many as nine early, but a 9-0 run late in the first half had the Heat leading 45-43 at halftime. Memphis used its size advantage to score in the paint and get the Heat big men in foul trouble.

NOTES: Memphis F Mike Miller returned to Miami for the first time since spending the previous three seasons with the Heat, winning two NBA titles. He was given his 2013 championship ring pregame. There was a video presentation honoring him, and the entire Heat team came out to midcourt to greet him. Miller was waived by the Heat under the amnesty clause on July 17, 2013, allowing Memphis to sign him for the league minimum … F LeBron James and C Greg Oden started for the Heat Friday after sitting out Wednesday’s game in Boston … The Grizzlies began a back-to-back against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. On Saturday Memphis returns home to host the Indiana Pacers, the East’s No. 1 seed … Friday’s game featured the NBA’s top two players in games started since the 2003-04 season – James (828) and F Tayshaun Prince (827).