The Memphis Grizzlies beat the visiting Miami Heat 110-106 Thursday night as Memphis center Lorenzen Wright scored 22 points, including a critical 16 foot jumper with 25.7 seconds left, which put the Grizzlies up by two and for good. Lorenzen also pulled down 7 rebounds, including the one from Miamis last-second attempt to tie the game.
Despite having four personal fouls in the first half, Wright took advantage of the Heat's center and All-Star Alonzo Mourning's sitting out with a strained quadricep. Wright would not earn another foul in the game. I knew I had four fouls, Wright said after the game. I let a couple of baskets go by [that] I usually wouldnt have.
About the game-winning shot, Wright smiled and stated the obvious: "It felt good," he said.
Before the Grizzlies preseason game against the Seattle Sonics, Grizzlies head coach Sidney Lowe said that he would concentrate on distributing minutes to his back-ups. He made good on that promise as the Grizzlies starters sat the bench with the game on the line. Wright was the only starter playing in the fourth quarter. That meant the back-ups would have to come up big if the inaugural Memphis squad wanted the win.
They did. Leading the way was rookie guard Will Solomon with 20 points. Also contributing was forward Pau Gasol with 11 points. Other Grizzlies point leaders were forward Stromile Swift with 14 and guard Michael Dickerson with 11.
The Heat trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, before going on a second-quarter run to trail the Grizzlies 55-56. Playing without the benefit of Mourning, the Heat also did not have head coach Pat Riley, who stayed behind in Florida for undisclosed reasons.
Leading the Heat was forward Ricky Davis with 17 points, center Vladimir Stepania with 15 points, and guard Eddie House led all scorers with 24 points. The usually physically intense Heat did get many easy lay-ups and jams on the baseline but still allowed the Grizzlies shooters to continue the teams home winning streak with weak perimeter defense.
The Grizzlies will travel for the first time this preseason as they visit the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, October 21st. The game will feature two University of Memphis standouts in Lorenzen Wright and Suns guard Penny Hardaway.