Strong 3-point shooting bolsters Miami Heat past Memphis Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 11: Josh Richardson
MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 11: Josh Richardson /

The Miami Heat outscored the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, 107-82

The Miami Heat have experienced a bumpy ride to begin the 2017-18 season, one that has included many highs and lows. Coming into Monday night losers of two of their last three, the trajectory of the track shifted upward for the Heat as they took on the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.

Goran Dragic scored 19 points and dished out five assists in three quarters, Josh Richardson tallied 17 points on nine shots and rookie Bam Adebayo had 14 points and two blocks, as Miami throttled the Grizzlies, 107-82. Tyler Johnson had 14 off the bench for the Heat, who as a unit, shot 56 percent (and knocked down 52 percent from 3).

Despite being without center Hassan Whiteside, who continues to sit with a knee injury, Miami was able to exploit Memphis’s defensive woes without their maximum earner.

Although the Grizzlies jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead, the Heat were able to withstand the early onslaught, taking their first lead of the night during the game’s seventh minute. Adebayo’s team-high eight points in the quarter pulled Miami within two heading into the second, but a quick 7-2 spurt gave Memphis a 30-23 lead with 8:55 remaining in the period.

That’s when the Heat made their run, capped off by a Richardson dunk that gave them a 32-30 advantage, despite struggling to put the ball in the basket early. Miami would take a 45-42 lead heading into the intermission, with both sides relying heavily on their defense to keep them afloat.

The two teams would continue trading blowup in the third, but the Heat would use a 10-0 run in the waning minutes of the quarter, to claim a ten-point lead heading into the final period.

From that point on, Memphis never sniffed a lead, as Miami used a 37-point fourth quarter to put away a Grizzlies team that has struggled to find its way since parting ways with head coach David Fizdale.

Overall, the Heat shot 65 percent in the second half, and finished the day 14-for-27 on 3-pointers.

The Heat (13-13) now finds itself back at .500 again, still without its franchise player and badly in need of consistency on the offensive side of the ball.

There is no doubt this group can defend. Even without Whiteside, they still put up a fight on that end. But in today’s NBA, offense is a crucial ingredient, and the Heat have struggled in that department far too often.

Seven Miami players scored in double figures on Monday, and head coach Erik Spoelstra is now one win away from tying Pat Riley’s franchise record of 454 victories, earning his 453th victory after another gritty defensive effort from his team.

Through 26 games, this team hasn’t exactly resembled a contender and with the calendar ever-so-quickly rolling by, the Heat are approaching the danger zone as the season nears its midpoint.

With a favorable schedule ahead that includes matchups with the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets, Miami is in prime position to surge ahead before heading to Boston to take on the Celtics on December 20.

Next: What's it going to take for the Miami Heat to earn a W versus the Grizzlies?

Their next matchup will take place on Wednesday, December 13 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET.