Grizzlies-Heat Preview

The Miami Heat have stumbled at home recently. Hosting the

Memphis Grizzlies could stop their longest losing streak there in

more than a year.

The Heat continue a six-game homestand Sunday when they take on

the Grizzlies, trying to avoid a fourth straight loss at the

American Airlines Center.

Miami (11-10) opened the season 6-1, but has dropped five of

seven. After splitting a four-game road trip, the Heat lost their

third in a row at home Friday, falling 106-93 to Dallas.

Miami didn’t lose three consecutive games at the American

Airlines Center all of last season, when it went 28-13 at home. In

2007-08, the Heat went 9-32 at home en route to a franchise-tying

67-loss season.

They’ve averaged 88.7 points over the last six home games.

Dwyane Wade had 28 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth

double-double in five games, but he was unable to rally the Heat

from a 12-point deficit after one quarter. He also wound up using a

brace to protect his right hand after a hard fall.

“We came out flat,” said Wade, who shot 8 of 24. “We got some

shots and we didn’t make them. We just came out flat offensively.

It’s not desperate times when you got 61 games left in the

season.”

Wade is averaging 29.8 points and 7.0 assists in his last four

home games against the Grizzlies.

While scoring has been a problem at home recently, Miami is also

trying to get its struggling defense back on track. The Heat have

surrendered 100 or more points in five straight games and are

giving up 97.7 per game overall.

Miami could get a boost from the return of center Jermaine

O’Neal, who missed the last two game following the death of his

uncle. O’Neal is averaging 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds.

The Grizzlies (9-13) had a three-game winning streak snapped by

a 102-94 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday, but they have split their

last six road games after losing their first six outside

Memphis.

Memphis rallied from a 17-point deficit to lead 70-66 entering

the fourth quarter, but 10 missed free throws plagued its comeback

as Mike Conley scored 20 points and Zach Randolph added 19 and a

season-high 20 rebounds.

“You’ve got to make free throws,” coach Lionel Hollins said. “We

lost by eight and missed 10 free throws. If we make eight, we’re

tied and into overtime. If we make nine, we win the game.”

Friday was only the second time in the last six regulation games

that the Grizzlies gave up 100 points.

Randolph has recorded four straight double-doubles, averaging

23.8 points and 14.8 rebounds. However, he went 8 of 21 on Friday

after shooting better than 50 percent in the previous two

games.

Randolph is averaging 22.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in his last

three games against Miami.