Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Friday, December 10th
Grizzlies84Final
Heat92
Game 2: Friday, April 8th
Heat81Final
Grizzlies97

Grizzlies 84

(8-13, 3-8 away)

Heat 92

(14-7, 7-3 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:30 PM ET, December 10, 2004

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 25 20 23 1684
    MIA 24 23 22 2392

    Top Performers

    Mem: L. Wright 18 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Stl

    Mia: D. Wade 26 Pts, 9 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Diesel scores 11 of 20 in fourth

    MIAMI (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal was perfectly content watching his teammates taking virtually every Miami shot in the middle two quarters. But with the game on the line, he simply took over.

    O'Neal scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, teaming with Dwyane Wade for another dynamic performance and lifting the Heat to a 92-84 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

    Wade narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Heat, whose 14 wins are best in the Eastern Conference. O'Neal was 4-for-5 from the floor in the final quarter, added two assists in the pivotal period and teamed with Wade for 19 of Miami's final 23 points.

    "You're never going to stop Shaq. He's been to 78 All-Star games," said Memphis' Mike Miller, overestimating O'Neal's number of All-Star trips by a mere 67. "Bottom line is that he's going to get his. ... Once he gets comfortable down there, he's going to score."

    O'Neal hit his first three shots over the game's opening nine minutes, then got only three more shots -- all misses -- over the next 29 minutes. He ended the drought by scoring on consecutive trips in the fourth, first on an emphatic one-handed dunk and next on a powerful layup to push the Heat's lead to 75-70.

    "We probably didn't go to him enough over the course of the game," said Heat coach Stan Van Gundy. "And then we really started going to him down the stretch."

    A quick pass by O'Neal set Wade up for a layup with 5:59 left, giving Miami a 78-72 edge, and his three-point play with 4:26 remaining put the Heat up 83-74 -- ensuring the game wouldn't get away.

    "I was just trying to get everybody else involved," O'Neal said. "And then in the fourth quarter, I told them, 'Make sure I get it.' "

    Memphis stayed with Miami for three quarters in large part because it grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in the game's first 36 minutes. The Grizzlies got only two in the fourth, and were outscored 23-16 in the period.

    Lorenzen Wright had 14 of his 18 points in the second half for Memphis, which lost for the second time since former Heat television analyst Mike Fratello took over as coach five games ago. The Grizzlies held a 22-8 edge in offensive rebounding, but couldn't overcome 35.9 percent shooting.

    "It was a good game for about 42 or 43 of the 48 minutes," Fratello said. "We just hit that one five- or six-minute stretch. We couldn't do anything right, and they did everything right."

    Wade was just short in his bid for what would have been the fifth triple-double in Heat history and just the second in the last 10 seasons. Damon Jones had 15 points, all on 3-pointers, for the Heat, who improved to 13-0 when leading entering the fourth quarter.

    Miller had 13 points and Pau Gasol -- who'd averaged 23.5 points in his previous four games -- had 12 for Memphis. Gasol and Wright each had 11 rebounds, and Earl Watson had 12 assists for the Grizzlies.

    "He took over at the end. No one guy can stop Shaq," Wright said. "We had our chance to win but we couldn't stop Shaq at the end."

    Watson's reverse layup with 1:05 left drew Memphis to 87-82, but he missed a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left, O'Neal corralled the long rebound and the Heat survived.

    Memphis trailed only 47-45 at halftime, staying close mainly because it made five of its first six tries from 3-point range and held a 15-4 edge in offensive rebounding.

    The Grizzlies missed eight of nine shots over a 4:09 stretch of the opening quarter, yet Miami only outscored Memphis 9-3 in that span. And in the second quarter, Memphis had a 1-for-13 spell, allowing the Heat to take off on a 14-2 run and build a 45-35 lead on Wade's layup with 3:15 remaining.

    But Memphis closed the half on a 10-2 spurt and went into the break down by just a basket, even after allowing Miami to hit 58.6 percent of its shots in the half -- compared to the Grizzlies' 33.3 percent.

    Game notes


    The Grizzlies are allowing an average of 90.2 points since Fratello took over, a decrease of 5.2. ... Miami improved to 7-3 at home, yet has outscored opponents by a total of only six points in those 10 games. ... Former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino was in the crowd, along with fellow HBO analyst Cris Carter, Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, Dominican President Leonel Fernandez, actress Vivica A. Fox and comedian Martin Lawrence.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MEM
    MIA
    Points 84 92
    FGM-FGA 33-92 (.359) 32-63 (.508)
    3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 6-17 (.353)
    FTM-FTA 12-14 (.857) 22-30 (.733)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 22-47 8-40
    Assists 19 21
    Turnovers 11 15
    Steals 8 6
    Blocks 2 6
    Fast Break Points 12 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 20 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 5 11

    Top Performers

    Memphis
    Miami
    Lorenzen Wright Wright
    Points: 18
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 26
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2