Wade scored 27 points to top his own Miami single-season record— acknowledging afterward he wasn’t aware he broke that mark—plus added eight assists as the Heat easily beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-82 on Monday night.
Wade now has 2,064 points this season, 24 more than his previous best, set in the 2005-06 championship season. He got the record on a layup 2 minutes in, part of an 11-0 start that got Miami rolling, and the Heat never trailed.
“It was what we needed,” Wade said. “It’s what we all talked about in the locker room before the game. It’s something we haven’t gotten in a while, just come out and fight early.”
Michael Beasley had 17 points and nine rebounds, Udonis Haslem scored 11 points and Jamaal Magloire finished with 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for Miami.
O.J. Mayo scored 21 for the Grizzlies, who started a four-game road trip by losing for the 17th time in 19 games. Rudy Gay was held to eight for Memphis, matching his third-lowest output this season.
“They really jumped on us from the start,” Grizzlies forward Hakim Warrick said. “When you’re playing against a team that’s fighting for playoff position and playing as hard as they play, it’s tough to come back from behind.”
Miami stayed 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. The Heat—who won in Detroit on Sunday and swept a back-to-back for the third time in 16 tries this season—also ensured they would keep at least a 1 1/2 -game lead on No. 6 Philadelphia, which played later at Portland.
“Defensively, the starters definitely set the tone,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Their energy was incredible.”
Playing without starting forward Jermaine O’Neal, who sat out as a precaution with a bruised right hip but is expected to be available Wednesday when the Heat visit Indiana, Miami beat the Grizzlies for the first time in the teams’ last four meetings.
Miami took command from the opening tap, scoring on its first five possessions for a quick 11-0 lead that matched its best of the season. The Heat also scored the game’s first 11 against Atlanta on Dec. 12, a game they eventually lost.
This one was never in danger of slipping away.
“Coming down the stretch, the Eastern Conference race is so close that every game has so much more significance,” Magloire said. “We have to start getting out to better starts, and we were conscious of that tonight.”
Wade scored 11 points in the first quarter, including a highlight-caliber slam to end the period. He took a bounce pass at the foul line and went over an outstretched Milicic—taken three spots before him in the 2003 draft—for a dunk that put Miami up 30-16.
And Wade struck again, perhaps even more dramatically, at the end of the second quarter.
Mario Chalmers reached his hand behind Memphis’ Mike Conley for a steal, flicking the ball to Wade. He took four dribbles, looked up at the clock, leaped from just inside the foul line and dunked with two-tenths of a second remaining for an 56-40 Heat edge going into intermission.
“We started off a little slow,” Mayo said. “We tried to fight back, but we never could get under 10. Any team that is playing a high level like this, we have to got to come out for the start with a lot of energy.”
Miami extended the lead to 23 points twice in the third quarter, the second of those coming on a layup by Wade with 1:28 left in the period.
Mayo scored six points in a span of 66 seconds midway through the fourth in an effort to give Memphis some sort of spark, but the Grizzlies didn’t get closer than 15 until the final moments.
“They played aggressive defense and we turned the ball over,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “Even when we got three or four stops in the third and fourth quarter, we just kept turning the ball over so we weren’t scoring.”