Heat expect LeBron to return vs. Grizzlies
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat will try to get back in the win column on Friday night when they welcome the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies to AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat had a two-game winning streak come to an end Wednesday night with a 101-96 road loss to the Boston Celtics. Four-time MVP LeBron James sat out with back spasms, but he is listed as probable for Friday night.
Rajon Rondo nearly recorded a triple-double for the Celtics and the Heat are still in something of a tailspin. Miami is 3-6 in its last nine and three behind the Indiana Pacers for Eastern Conference supremacy.
With James shelved, Dwyane Wade led the way for the Heat with 17 points. Chris Andersen scored 16 points with eight rebounds off the bench and Udonis Haslem and Ray Allen contributed 14 points each for Miami.
Jeff Green broke a 92-92 tie with a 3-pointer before Rondo made a runner to push the lead to five with 1:44 remaining. Wade made a putback layup for Miami at the other end, but another Rondo jumper with 18.7 seconds left sealed it for the hosts.
"They (Celtics) started to get on a roll in that second half and get some open jump shots on their pick and roll game," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. "Our execution down the stretch was not where it has been, particularly the last four minutes."
The Grizzlies have won two in a row and six of their last seven to surge up the Western Conference standings. They are tied for the seventh seed with the Dallas Mavericks and both teams are 1 1/2 ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
Memphis' second consecutive victory came Wednesday night with a 96-86 home win over the Utah Jazz.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 41 points and 21 rebounds. Randolph had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Gasol went for 20 and 10 for the Grizzlies, while Mike Conley added 18.
The Jazz, after trailing by as many as 18 in the second quarter, tied the score at 84-84 on Burks' layup in the fourth. But they only scored one more time in the last 5:38 -- on an Enes Kanter dunk.
"We lacked focus coming out of halftime and they were very aggressive," said Memphis coach Dave Joerger. "We made a little change in our coverages and did a good job of getting up on shooters."
The Grizzlies, who are 27-10 since Jan. 1, have won three of their last four on the road and are 19-13 as the visitor this season. Things don't get easier for Memphis when it returns home to host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.
Memphis and Miami split last season's two matchups with the home team prevailing. Memphis has lost three of its last five visits to South Beach.
03/21 10:21:53 ET