In their first meeting this season, it was the Memphis Grizzlies who escaped with an 89-85 victory over the Miami Heat in a low-scoring affair that came down to the final seconds.
Ja Morant sprinted the length of the court to break an 85-all tie with 1.2 seconds left. Kyle Anderson then stole the inbound pass and made two free throws after being fouled for the game’s final score. The victory ended the Miami Heat’s five-game winning streak at the time.
Having won four straight games heading into Tuesday's rematch, Jimmy Butler and company are determined for history not to repeat itself.
Fixture - Memphis Grizzlies vs Miami Heat | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Tuesday, April 6th, 8:00 PM ET (Wednesday, April 7th, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue - AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies have won seven of their last 11 games without Ja Morant. In fact, when the sensational sophomore guard exploded for 36 points against the Utah Jazz last week, the Grizzlies lost 111-107.
Coach Taylor Jenkins has found that the winning formula is a complete team effort, with scoring spread across several players. This has made the Memphis Grizzlies an unpredictable team to go up against, and it shows in their record, which is now a game above .500. At 24-23, they are a half-game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (24-24) for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Heading into the matchup with the Miami Heat, the Grizzlies have won three of their last four games.
Key Player - Jonas Valanciunas
The interior work by Jonas Valanciunas is one of the main reasons for the Memphis Grizzlies’ resurgence.
Over his last 10 games, the 6-foot-11 center has recorded double figures in points (16.9 points) and rebounds (14.6) while shooting 55.2 percent from the field.
He had two games with 20-plus points and 20 rebounds between February and March, making the case as one of the best centers not in the All-Star Game.
The 28-year-old is as steady as they come. He mixes a vast array of moves around the basket area, along with a soft touch that belies his tough board work underneath.
The Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo will have to wear his hard hat to stop the Memphis Grizzlies center both offensively and defensively.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Ja Morant l Shooting Guard - Grayson Allen l Small Forward - Dillon Brooks l Power Forward - Kyle Anderson l Center - Jonas Valanciunas
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat had lost six straight games prior to their current winning streak. Moving Goran Dragic to the bench has boosted their bench-scoring to give their reserves an offensive punch that was lacking in previous games. Since the move, the bench has produced 39.5 points per game in the last two outings compared to 27.5 in the previous two.
Coach Erik Spoelstra appears to be confident that Victor Oladipo can hold his own as the starting point guard, giving the team a much-needed defensive presence in the backcourt. The combination of Oladipo's versatility and Duncan Robinson's shooting prowess has made them quite a formidable backcourt.
Against the Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant and Grayson Allen, the Miami Heat appear to have the advantage.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler continues to be the Miami Heat’s do-it-all leader. He plugs in the holes in his team’s deficiencies, whether on offense or defense.
Over his last 14 games, Butler has put up 22.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. While these stats have not always resulted in a win, it shows how much work he does for the Heat.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks will have his work cut out for him trying to contain Butler while contributing to his team’s success. The Miami Heat forward should have a field day in this matchup.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Victor Oladipo l Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson l Small Forward - Jimmy Butler l Power Forward - Trevor Ariza l Center - Bam Adebayo
Grizzlies vs Heat Match Prediction
The circumstances leading up to this matchup are eerily similar to their March 17 meeting. However, the Memphis Grizzlies were just eager to break out of a slump back then, while the Miami Heat were in the midst of a winning streak.
The game will likely come down to the wire, with each team determined to continue their winning streaks. Both teams are in the top 10 in defensive rating, with the Miami Heat (109.0, 6th) having a slight edge over the Memphis Grizzlies (109.2, 7th).
This looks like another close game. However, since the Miami Heat have a deeper bench after the trade deadline, they are likely going to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies down the stretch.