MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – The Memphis Grizzlies are getting used to winning in different ways and look to record their seventh straight victory when they host the struggling Miami Heat on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.
The Grizzlies won three in a row by blowout before outlasting the Philadelphia 76ers 104-99 in overtime on Wednesday after rallying from eight points down in the fourth quarter on the road.
“I keep saying the same thing. This team just finds a way,” Memphis coach David Fizdale, an assistant with Miami from 2008-16, told reporters. “They collectively, themselves, they gather themselves and they just find a way to grind games out. It’s the characteristics of a championship ball club.”
The Heat are going in the opposite direction with eight losses in their last 10 games after a demoralizing 107-84 setback at Detroit on Wednesday. Miami, which hosts Memphis on Saturday, is 28th in the league in both scoring offense (95.1) and field-goal percentage (42.0).
“Our offense is not where it needs to be,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters Wednesday after his team shot under 40 percent from the field for the second straight game.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN Southeast (Memphis)
ABOUT THE HEAT (4-10): Center Hassan Whiteside has been the most consistent and productive player, but even he had an off game Wednesday with just six points and eight rebounds against the Pistons. Whiteside (17.9 points, NBA-leading 15.4 rebounds, 2.57 blocks) and Goran Dragic (15.3 points, 5.6 assists) are the only two major threats on the offensive end for the Heat with Dwyane Wade gone and Chris Bosh unable to play. Guard Dion Waiters, who was brought in to provide offense, has been inconsistent while shooting 36.9 percent from the field.
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (10-5): Point guard Mike Conley is averaging a team-high 19.6 points after falling short of a triple-double by one rebound and one assist in the victory over Philadelphia. Marc Gasol, who is averaging 17.9 points, scored 27 on Wednesday after managing just 30 combined his previous three contests while guard Troy Daniels added six in his first start with Memphis. Forward James Ennis, who is averaging 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds after sitting out Wednesday’s game, is expected to miss about two weeks due to a strained right calf.
1. The Grizzlies have won four of the last five meetings after splitting a pair last season.
2. Miami G Justise Winslow has missed five straight games with a wrist injury and is considered day-to-day.
3. Memphis G Vince Carter is scoring 9.7 per game – better than both of the last two seasons – and is 41 made 3-pointers from 2,000 for his career.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 101, Heat 92
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