The Grizzlies made the NBA champions suffer through a very ugly game. Memphis dictated the pace, imposed their defensive will on the Heat and did the seemingly impossible – contained LeBron James.
When you finish with 18 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds, and you are considered to have had an off night, you know that you are special. That is exactly the stat line that James finished with last night, while not looking like himself for the majority of the game. With the amount of excellent performances that LeBron has been stringing together, he was due for a tough shooting night.
At one point in the game, James was 1-9 from the field. He still managed to have an impact on the defensive end and essentially put the game away by connecting on a three-point shot with 24 seconds remaining, making it a two-possession game.
Despite James’ shooting struggles, the Heat kept the score close throughout the game, proving just how versatile the team is. When Miami goes up against teams that are willing to push the pace, they are more than happy to comply. Yesterday the Heat also showed that when they go up against defensive powerhouses such as the Grizzlies, they can still find ways to win.
After the game, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged just how much this victory means to the team:
“That’s a unique team down there. Very good, playoff tested. So from that regard this was a gratifying win. I thought this was one of our better wins of the season.” – Erik Spoelstra
Spoelstra is completely right in saying that this game carried significant importance. Not only did Miami return the favor for the beating they received back in November, but the team also proved a point by overcoming the difficulties and walking out of last night’s contest with yet another victory.
Vytis covers the Miami Heat and NBA for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis