The Heat welcomed Bam Adebayo back to the starting lineup, going with the five starters that kicked games off for them for most of the season, with Jimmy Butler also returning after being rested against Utah on Saturday.
The Grizzlies found their rhythm early, helped on by poor defending and a number of turnovers from Miami, going for 41 first-quarter points and 8/11 from beyond the arc. Memphis piled the pressure on for the remainder of the first half on the back of rookie Ja Morant scoring 11 points along with seven assists. Jaren Jackson Jr. And Kyle Anderson both chipped in with 10 points.
An 13-2 run toward the end of the half saw the Grizzlies take a 17-point lead into halftime. Butler and Jae Crowder each scored 10 in the half as the returning Adebayo dropped eight, showing signs of rust after missing training camp and the Heat’s first two scrimmages.
Memphis stretched their lead to 20 around four minutes removed from the beginning of the third quarter, which ended with the Heat trailing by 22.
Miami could only get as close as 18 in the fourth as the Grizzlies maintained their stranglehold on the game, eventually losing 128-110. Erik Spoelstra will hope to get a grip on things by Saturday, when his Heat take on the Denver Nuggets, having watched the team lose two of their three scrimmages ahead of this week’s season restart in Orlando.
Spoelstra hadn’t been able to field his go-to starting five since February 3, following an injury to Meyers Leonard, so it was always going to be an adjustment. Butler led all scorers for the Miami Heat with 18 points, adding seven assists, while Adebayo totaled 16 points and four rebounds.
Morant, was the man for the Grizzlies, scoring 22 along with 12 assists as Dillon Brooks scored a game-high 23.
The Grizzlies are keen on qualifying for the playoffs, having docked at eighth in the Western Conference before the season was suspended in March. They won 15 of their last 21 and look to be in very good shape as they head into their restart opener with the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.