Grizzlies 86 - Heat 91
Zach Randolph : (A-) 37 MIN | 25 PTS | 12-20 FG | 14 REB | 4 AST | 5 TO | +2
Made the Heat pay for not doubling down on him most of the game, scored in a multitude of ways and was an absolute force on the offensive boards. He would have sorely missed Gasol during the 4th quarter as the Heat absolutely crowded the paint and simply did not allow Zbo to beat them. Gasol would have drawn a lot more attention away from Zach with his own threat on offense and his playmaking ability. It's easy to observe that Zbo was mauled during crunch time without foul calls, but he was already stripped of the ball before getting hit on the head on one possession, and he initiated all the contact on the other. Needs to stay calm during these frustrating possessions as often times he looses his cool and does something silly straight after. The best players remain composed at all times.
Tayshaun Prince : (C) 31 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-2 FG | 5 REB | -2
On the one hand, he did a great job containing the best player in the world, turning LeBron into a hesitant, passive player that looked like a shell of himself for most of the game. On the other hand, being a complete non-threat on the offensive end isn't going to do the Grizzlies much good either, as the Heat were able to do some serious sagging on defense. During crunch time LeBron still found ways to win the game for the Heat, so ultimately this turned out to be a bit of a "mirage" game for Prince. You'd think he had an impact, but his other glaring deficiencies ended up his undoing.
Marc Gasol : (A-) 24 MIN | 14 PTS | 6-11 FG | 6 REB | 1 AST | 2 TO | +1
As expected, Chris Bosh had no clue on how to guard an "immovable-object-yet-super-nifty-player-with-range" that is Marc Gasol. Big Spain dominated with his back to the basket and also on screen and rolls. His unfortunate ankle injury really gave the Heat a huge advantage as they were able to start doubling Zach without much consequence. There were also big gaping holes in the paint during crunch time as Prince was our second biggest player on the court during the 2-14 stretch to end the game. More on this later.
Courtney Lee : (C) 32 MIN | 12 PTS | 4-14 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | +3
He was an absolute thorn on Wade's backside as Lee's on-the-ball defense made Wade extremely uncomfortable all night. However, playing this type of aggressive defense really affected his long range shooting as his rhythm seemed way off. Fatigue was also a key factor on Ray Allen killing the Grizzlies as Lee was unable keep up with Allen's constant movement without the ball. The missed assignment on an Allen 3-pointer with the Grizzlies up 84-77 was just painful to watch. The only shot to the only player on the court that cannot be given up was the beginning of the end for the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley : (D+) 34 MIN | 12 PTS | 4-12 FG | 4 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 3 TO | -7
The Heat's strategy to this game, whether by design or just the lack of ability to stop it, is to let Gasol and Randolph get theirs while keeping the rest of the Grizzlies quiet. The game headed towards that trend until the Gasol injury, which meant Conley really needed to step up during the 2nd half. Unfortunately he couldn't get out of 2nd gear as he wasn't even able to win his matchup against Chalmers. Without screens from big men during crunch time, Conley's dribble penetration was also severely limited. In the end, a very disappointing game from Mike as he was unable to positively affect the outcome of this game.
Tony Allen : (D+) 16 MIN | 3 PTS | 1-5 FG | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 TO | -6
Could not get into the flow of the game as his short range game has been off recently. TA is most effective when he's crashing the offense glass, converting layups, limiting mistakes and playing aggressive-but-calculating defense. His sloppy finishing, lazy passing plus the terrible defensive play that gave Ray Allen an open dunk shows that TA needs to find some control back from his chaotic play.
Nick Calathes : (B-) 14 MIN | 4 PTS | 2-3 FG | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 TO | +2
A well rounded game in which Calathes played to his strengths. Was able to penerate and finish adeptly while directing the offense smoothly. Did not attempt any outside shots this game, nor should he unless he's wide open, a sign that he understands where his value is to the Grizzlies.
Mike Miller : (E) 23 MIN | 3 PTS | 1-4 FG | 1 REB | 2 TO | -12
The Heat knows Miller's capabilities all too well, hence giving him almost no space at all to operate. Without his offense, The Grizzlies simply lose out too much on the defensive end to justify his playing time. I understand Joerger might have given him a longer leash since it's against his former team, but playing Miller during crunch time was simply not smart when the Grizzlies were 7 ahead with only 4 minutes left on the clock. To be elaborated further.
Kosta Koufos : (A-) 19 MIN | 8 PTS | 4-5 FG | 5 REB | 1 BLK | +2
A typical Koufos game in which his presence was felt on both end of the floor. I can imagine most NBA teams not putting too much attention on Kosta during their pre-game tape sessions but they'd wished they had paid more diligence on him afterwards, as he always ends up with sneaky good lines. I was extremely puzzled on why he wasn't on the court during crunch time when the Grizzlies were defending a 7 point lead with only 4 minutes to go. He would've added rebounding on both ends of the floor (in which the Grizzlies struggled mightily), and his big body would have drawn a lot of attention away from Randolph as Conley, Lee and Miller all had some horrific, low-IQ possessions by taking long contested jumpshots and giving up multiple offensive rebounds to the charging Heat.
James Johnson : (C+) 10 MIN | 5 PTS | 2-3 FG | 1 REB | 1 AST | -7
Typical production during his stint in the 1st half with easy penetration along with his propensity to foul anyone on the floor. Not quite playing with the freedom that we've grown accustomed to see, probably due to his recent lack of PT resulting in JJ trying to limit mistakes in order to stay on the court. He would've also been a better candidate to play during crunch time as the Grizzlies shouldn't have been taking long jumpers with a solid lead. A slashing, big body that can help with rebounding would have been a much better fit to continue the assault near the basket when the Grizzlies had the choke-hold on the game. Joerger's decision to play with lack of size at the end really burned him in a big way.
Miami Heat : (C+)
This was simply not a game that the Heat was supposed to win as the Big Three all had uncharacteristically quiet nights. However, a hot bench led by Ray Allen pulled back all the momentum that the Grizzlies frontline were able build, as Allen alone was almost able to match the entire Grizzlies bench production. This was a heartbreaking loss for the Grizzlies once again, with wasteful possessions and a strange lineup during crunch time playing a huge part in this painful loss. The Heat are to meet the Grizzlies again in a few weeks time, it will be interesting to see what the Grizzlies can takeaway from last night so they can deliver the killer blow when the opportunity presents itself again.