« Heat practice report: Monday | Main | NBA GM survey: What they're saying about the Heat and more... »

Heat 102, Grizzlies 85 (Beyond the Box Score)

The Heat's small lineup was effective agains the hapless Memphis Grizzlies. The Griz were without leading scorer Rudy Gay (staph infection). Memphis' O.J. Mayo was the star of all the rookies and had a spectacular performance, scoring 28 points in 38 minutes and adding five assists and five rebounds. Big picture the Heat needed to win this game to re-affirm that all the hard work being done in practice is translating to success in games. The Heat got its first preseason win since 2006. The experimenting may continue as Spoelstra finds which combos are most effective but this was a step.

Player of the game: Udonis Haslem--There were many bright spots for the Heat but Haslem had a second straight double-double. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds and showed no lingering effects of the foot injury that sidelined him earlier in training camp. Haslem was effective at center and in 38 minutes gave the Heat the kind of performance it will need from him this season. No one is expecting him to play 38 minutes a game at center, and he didn't Tuesdya. He showed that he could be effective against Memphis' frontcourt of seven-footers. Dwyane Wade had another solid night, scoring a team-high 25 points, and had six assists and five rebounds. Also Mario Chalmers had his best performance so far at point guard, but as Spoelstra noted afterward it may be one step forward, another backward for Chalmers as he develops this season.

Surprise, surprise: Michael Beasley--The rookie got his first start. He started at power forward. Haslem was at center, Shawn Marion was at small forward, with Wade and Chris Quinn at the guard spots. Spoelstra said not to read into starting Beasley. Spoelstra has been pleased with Beasley's play but this seemed to be as much about seeing Beasley with the small lineup to start a game as Beasley earning the time. Beasley picked up two quick fouls within the first four minutes, limiting his playing time in the first half. Beasley had no rebounds, and said it was a career-first but said it was mostly because he was guarding players on the perimeter. Beasley is a natural offensively and had nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

Tough night: Reserve Yakhouba Diawara played 16 minutes and went 0 for 4, including 0 for 2 from beyond the arc and had three rebounds and one steal. The Heat will need more from him. But in all fairness he's a solid defender so he did contribute. Diawara does not look the answer from beyond the arc with James Jones (wrist) sidelined.

Next up: The Heat faces New Orleans on Thursday in Mobile, Ala. at 7:30 p.m.




Powered by TypePad