Walker, acquired in the five-team, 13-player trade during the
offseason, shot 10-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-7 from
3-point range in Miami's season opener.
Shaquille O'Neal scored 12 points, and Jason Williams, playing
his first game as the Heat point guard after four seasons in
Memphis, finished with 10.
"When you have this type of versatility that we've added this
year, it really becomes a case of 'pick your poison' on any
night," reserve center Alonzo Mourning said.
Despite holding O'Neal to four points in the first half, Memphis
lost its fifth consecutive season opener, all at home. Pau Gasol
led the Grizzlies with 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Eddie Jones
scored 15 points. Damon Stoudamire had 10 points and five assists.
Memphis shot 34 percent from the field, and the Grizzlies' three
major offseason additions -- Jones, Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson --
were a combined 11-of-37.
The game was close until a Heat run late in the third period and
the early stages of the fourth put away the Grizzlies.
"It is frustrating," Gasol said. "I don't understand why the
energy dropped so much. We got stuck a lot of times like we didn't
know how to execute our plays. We just collapsed a little bit."
O'Neal was held to six points until midway through the third. At
that point, the Heat center began backing down Memphis defenders
and scored a trio of baskets in the latter stages of the quarter,
helping Miami take a 66-58 into the fourth.
"[O'Neal] is always going to draw two or three people," Walker
said, "and it's going to be my job, Jason Williams' and [Jason]
Kapono's to make some shots and loosen up the interior for him."
O'Neal's baskets late in the quarter kick-started the Heat's run
that lasted into the fourth period, and after a Wade dunk on a
break with seven minutes left, Miami had its biggest lead at 84-64.
The dunk capped a 27-7 run after the game was tied at 57 with
2:39 left in the third. Memphis would get no closer than 14 the
rest of the way as Miami shot 62 percent after the break.
"We've got a lot of guys who can create plays," Heat coach
Stan Van Gundy said, "which is great as long as we're moving the
ball and not falling into everyone trying to make the great play.
[That's] what I thought happened in the first half. Everybody
wanted to make the great dish for the score, and it ended up as
turnover after turnover."
Memphis led 42-38 at the half as Gasol controlled the inside.
The 7-foot forward pushed the ball to the basket, but also showed
adequate touch from 10-12 feet.
"I tried to come out and be real aggressive and attack them,"
Gasol said. "It helped that I made my first few jump shots, so I
could keep attacking."
Neither team shot well early -- the Heat hit only one of their
first nine shots, and Memphis was 3-for-14. Both finished the half
just under 35 percent from the field. The Heat also was hindered by
Heat veteran guard Gary Payton found himself in an unfamiliar
position at the start of the game: With Williams starting at point
guard, Payton came off the bench for only the seventh time in his
career, scoring four points in more than 28 minutes.
Game notes Williams received a mixture of boos and cheers in the
pre-game introductions. ... Miami rookie center Earl Barron, who
played at the University of Memphis, got in the game late, scoring
2 points. ... Memphis coach Mike Fratello said the Grizzlies
already were looking at their own dress code when the league
announced its rules. "I don't think there's anything wrong with
having people at this level dressing in a certain manner,"