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Miller's 28 help Memphis to win 4 of 5

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies capitalized on the
absence of Shaquille O'Neal to move closer to their second straight
playoff berth.

Mike Miller scored a season-high 30 points and the Grizzlies
dominated play inside against a Miami team missing its All-Star
center, beating the Heat 97-81 Friday night.

"That was a huge win for us," Memphis coach Mike Fratello
said. "We recognize the fact they were missing the MVP of the
league tonight, but our execution in the first half was terrific.
We worked hard on the glass and we defended well."

O'Neal sat out his second straight game with a stomach virus and
the Grizzlies focused their defensive efforts on stopping Dwyane
Wade.

Memphis outscored the Heat 40-24 in the paint and held Wade
eight points below his average.

Memphis built a 30-point lead in the second quarter and led
60-35 at the half. Miami could get no closer than 14 points in the
closing minutes.

"I'm thankful we haven't had too many of those," said Miami
coach Stan Van Gundy, whose team owns the Eastern Conference's best
record at 56-20. "They played a great game. They were fabulous. We
were awful."

The Grizzlies, who are battling the Minnesota Timberwolves for
the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, also used an
accurate touch from long range to build their 30-point first-half
advantage. Memphis hit its first five 3-point attempts.

The Grizzlies' defensive effort was as impressive as its
offensive performance. Memphis blocked nine shots -- including six
by Pau Gasol -- and finished with 10 steals. They held the Heat to
38.7 percent shooting and 30.8 percent from 3-point range.

O'Neal, whose status for Sunday's game against Detroit is
uncertain, is averaging 23 points and 10.6 rebounds, but he
remained in Miami and did not travel with the team.

"Obviously Shaq is a big part of our team, but we still had
enough left to get it done," Miami's Alonzo Mourning said. "I
think if we had put forth a little more effort and showed a sense
or urgency at the beginning it would have been a totally different
outcome."

Miller's point total included five 3-pointers. Gasol added 17
points and Bonzi Wells had 15 in a reserve role.

Fratello also pointed to point guard Jason Williams'
contributions during the first-half runaway. The Grizzlies went on
a 20-2 run early in the first quarter to take a 24-9 lead.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Williams stretched the advantage.

"The tempo and direction of the game was set early by Jason
Williams," Fratello said. "He pushed the ball and hit some shots
that led to 19 fast-break points in the first half. He got the
crowd into the game and the fans excited."

Wade scored 16 to lead the Heat, but was 5-of-17 from the field.
Damon Jones added 14.

Memphis has seven games left, including home games against
Charlotte, San Antonio and Dallas. The Grizzlies have road games
against Dallas, Houston, Denver and San Antonio.

"Obviously we've got a tough schedule coming up," Gasol said.
"The main thing is we have to protect our home court and then go
on the road aggressively, with a mission."
^Notes:@ Wade fell short in his attempt to set a franchise record
with a fourth straight 30-point game. Wade had tallied 39 vs.
Chicago on April 5, 33 at New Orleans on April 2 and 37 at Indiana
on March 31. ... Fratello served as a television analyst for the
Heat the past three seasons before accepting the Grizzlies job Dec.
2. ... In 27 career games against the Grizzlies, O'Neal was
averaging 26.7 points, the most by any opposing player. Heat coach
Stan Van Gundy said O'Neal may not play Sunday at home against
Detroit. "He could feel great on Sunday or pretty washed out,"
Van Gundy said. "But we'll just have to wait and see. There is
certainly a chance he would not play." ... A crowd of 18,119 at
the FedEx Forum gave the Grizzlies their 18th sellout of the
season.