Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 4/6/12
In the midst of the busiest portion of their schedule, the Memphis Grizzlies seemed to tire down the stretch in their third game in as many nights. They won't get much respite with a visit to Miami. Coming off an impressive victory over the top team in the Western Conference, the Heat look to match a team record with their 18th straight home win Friday night when they face the Grizzlies. After clinching a playoff berth with a 99-93 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday in the opener a five-game homestand, Miami (39-14) rallied from an 11-point, second-quarter deficit to defeat Oklahoma City 98-93 the following night. Dwyane Wade returned after sitting out against the 76ers with a sore left knee and scored 19, and LeBron James outplayed Kevin Durant in a matchup of MVP candidates. James finished with 34 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Durant's 30-point performance was mired by a career-worst nine turnovers - due in part to James' defense against him. "I think he's the best two-way player in this league," coach Erik Spoelstra said of James. "He does it in a night-in, night-out basis and he does it in a way where most teams would not ask a player to shoulder that type of responsibility. But the fact remains: He must play at an MVP level at both ends of the court for us." James was coming off a 41-point effort against Philadelphia after averaging 21.8 in his previous five. Miami lost three of those contests. "We know what we're capable of," Spoelstra said. "We've all been disappointed with how we've been playing, but we know that we have an incredibly high ceiling." By avenging last week's road loss to the Thunder on Wednesday, Miami extended the longest home winning streak in the NBA this season to 17. The franchise mark of 18 was set Jan. 23-April 5, 2005. Defense has played a large part in that run, with the Heat allowing an average of 87.8 points while forcing an average of 17.7 turnovers in the last nine home contests. They'll now try to shut down a Grizzlies team that could be a little fatigued. Memphis (30-23) concluded a stretch of five games in six days by facing Dallas in the finale of a back-to-back-to-back set Wednesday. The Grizzlies had won three in a row heading into the matchup with the defending champs, but not surprisingly sputtered late and fell 95-85. They were outscored 29-17 in the fourth quarter while shooting 28.6 percent (6 of 21). "We ran out of gas," guard Mike Conley said. "In the fourth quarter, we couldn't score, shots weren't falling for us, and they got too many easy looks in transition." Memphis, which continues this demanding stretch with a home game against the Mavericks on Saturday, now has the difficult task of keeping up with a Miami team known for pushing the ball up the court. The Grizzlies had no luck slowing down the Heat in their lone trip to Miami last season, suffering a 118-85 loss. James had 27 points in 32 minutes and is averaging 30.3 points in his last four games against Memphis. Though the Heat are considered to be weak inside, the Grizzlies might not be able to take advantage with their top interior players struggling. Center Marc Gasol is averaging 12.0 points and 38.5 percent shooting in the last four games, while power forward Zach Randolph has totaled 10 points in the last two.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Report: 49ers could talk trade for QB at the NFL Scouting Combine

Best of YB: The state of the NBA following the trade deadline

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker