Plenty at stake as Heat visit Grizzlies
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat are in a battle for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Memphis Grizzlies are in a fight for the No. 8 spot out West.
Something will have to give when the two teams collide Wednesday night at FedExForum.
The Heat are just a half-game ahead of the Indiana Pacers for Eastern Conference supremacy after a home loss Tuesday night to the Brooklyn Nets, 88-87.
Miami fell to 0-4 against the Nets this season, the only team the Heat failed to beat at least once. It was the first time in 11 seasons the Nets swept the series and it was the third time Brooklyn got past Miami by a point. The other victory came in double overtime.
LeBron James had the ball in his hands, but was unable to muscle past Mason Plumlee at the rim Tuesday. The rookie forward roared exuberantly, while James watched in disbelief looking for a foul.
"It was a foul from my vantage point, but what can you do," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "There were a lot of plays to be made in that fourth quarter. For whatever reason, they made more plays. Three one-point games, we just haven't found a way to get over that hump."
James provided 29 points, 10 boards and six assists for Miami, which is set for a huge matchup with the Pacers on Friday. Chris Bosh finished with 12 and Norris Cole added 10 off the bench.
Dwyane Wade missed another game Tuesday with various minor ailments. His availability for Wednesday, along with the availability of Greg Oden (back) and Udonis Haslem (virus), is unknown.
The Grizzlies are fighting for a postseason berth. They trail the Phoenix Suns by a game for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix is in New Orleans on Wednesday night.
Memphis has dropped four of its last six, but only one of its last seven has been at home. The Grizzlies have won 11 straight as the host, but did lose to the Heat in South Beach on March 21.
Last time out, the Grizzlies fell in San Antonio to the Spurs, 112-92 on Sunday.
James Johnson netted 20 points off the bench and Mike Conley finished with 18 points and six assists for Memphis. They were the only double-figure scorers for the Grizzlies, who made the Western Conference Finals one year ago.
"We've had to work very hard to get back to where we are right now, to even be in this position," Conley said. "You're going to hit that wall here and there. We have to fight through it just like every other team."
Memphis will host Philadelphia, then visit the Los Angeles Lakers before closing out the season in Phoenix and at home against the Dallas Mavericks, their two closest competitors for a playoff spot.
The Heat have lost seven of their last 10 in Memphis.
04/09 10:00:08 ET