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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 14, 2018
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee  Attendance: 16,313

Heat-Grizzlies Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Miami has won its last two road games against the Grizzlies. Since the Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001-02, the Heat have never won three straight road games against the Grizzlies.
  2. Miami has struggled to shoot the ball this year, ranking last in the NBA with a .433 field-goal percentage. The only time the Heat have ever finished a season last in the NBA in that category was in 1988-89, their first season in the league.
  3. Josh Richardson leads the team in points, assists, three-pointers made and free throws made this season. The only Heat player ever to lead the team in all four categories over a full season was LeBron James in 2013-14.
  4. Memphis is coming off of a 92-83 victory over Portland. It marked the sixth time this season the Grizzlies have held an opponent under 90 points, most in the NBA.
  5. Marc Gasol is averaging at least 4.0 assists per game for the third straight season. In NBA history, the only 7-footers to average 4.0+ assists in three or more consecutive seasons are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.
  6. Gasol (42 blocks) and Jaren Jackson Jr. (49) are the only teammate duo in the NBA with 40+ blocks apiece this season.

MEMPHIS -- Two teams that hope to bring the better defense to the floor clash Friday night when the Miami Heat visits the Memphis Grizzlies.

The clubs are meeting for the first time this season, after the Heat swept last year's season series by holding the Grizzlies to 82 and 89 points in the two games.

This time around, Miami will have to deal with a Memphis squad that ranks second in the NBA in points allowed and is coming off a brilliant defensive effort in a 92-83 home win over Portland on Wednesday.

It was the 24th time in 27 games this season that the Grizzlies have held their opponent under its scoring average. This time, it was 13 fewer points than the Trail Blazers had scored in any previous game this season.

Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff couldn't stop talking afterward about an effort that limited the Trail Blazers to 36.8 percent shooting and just six 3-pointers.

"Our defense tonight, they got after it," he gushed. "That's an impressive defensive effort out of our crew."

The Heat was on the other end of that type of performance in its 111-84 loss at Utah on Wednesday, totaling six fewer points than in any previous contest.

Despite the fact his team was playing its fourth straight on the road, this one without point guard Goran Dragic and center Hassan Whiteside, Miami coach Eric Spoelstra labeled the performance "our worst game of the year" and "not acceptable."

Heat veteran Dwyane Wade isn't concerned about a potential carryover effect, especially with his team having already won twice on the trip.

"Just ball this one up and throw this one out," he instructed reporters after Wednesday's game. "When you're on a six-game road trip, all you're trying to do go is go 3-3. And if you go 4-2, it's an amazing trip.

"So we got two on this trip already. Tonight, they whipped our butt. But we don't harp on it. We've got to get ready for the next game."

Miami caps its six-game trip Sunday at New Orleans.

The Heat expects Whiteside back in the lineup at Memphis after he missed the first four games of the trip to witness the birth of his son.

Dragic remains a question mark with a sore knee.

The presence of the defensive-minded Whiteside could be critical against the Grizzlies given the Heat's dominance in last year's two meetings.

Miami held the Grizzlies to 38.9 percent shooting in its 107-82 win at Memphis last December, before Whiteside contributed three blocks, a steal and eight rebounds to an equally suffocating 115-89 home win in February.

Thanks to a healthy Mike Conley and better depth, the Grizzlies are an improved offensive team this season. They've gone from 99.3 points per game last season, the second-fewest in the league, to 102.9 this year (28th), while rising from 27th in the league in field goal percentage a year ago (44.7) to 16th this season (45.4).

Conley missed both meetings last season with an Achilles injury. He has returned to play all 27 games this year, scoring in double figures in 24 of them.

He had 23 in the win over Portland on Wednesday.

Updated December 13, 2018

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