The Miami Heat managed to cool the Boston Celtics on Thursday and got back to .500 in the process. The Memphis Grizzlies, who visit the Heat on Saturday, are coming off their own impressive victory after snapping a six-game slide with a 96-86 triumph over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Miami dropped two straight to fall below .500 before finding its form at both ends and getting a double-double from forward/point guard Justise Winslow. "Just trying to do my job as a leader of this team," Winslow, who is starting at point guard with Goran Dragic injured, told reporters after collecting 13 points and 11 assists on Thursday. "Get the guys organized. Get us playing to our identity, which is tough, physical and aggressive. I love filling up the stat sheet. I know I'm capable of doing it, so that felt good tonight." Memphis allowed an average of 109.5 points during its six-game slide but locked down on the defensive end in the win over the Spurs. "I think the defensive intensity that we started with was great," Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. "You think about some of the shots that we blocked from guys that were out of position and saved possessions. We were able to scramble and come up with defensive rebounds and go. That sense of urgency is the way we have to play every single night."
TV: 5 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Memphis), FS Sun (Miami) LINE: Heat -5
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (19-22): Center Marc Gasol scored in single digits in back-to-back games before breaking out for 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 14 rebounds on Wednesday. "I was trying to be a little more aggressive, obviously, and stay aggressive," Gasol told reporters. "It wasn't just where I had one quarter that I was aggressive, I've got to build on it again and create those habits for the team." Gasol went 3-of-5 from 3-point range in the win while guards Mike Conley, Garrett Temple and Justin Holiday combined to go 0-of-13 from beyond the arc.
ABOUT THE HEAT (20-20): Winslow got some help down the stretch on Thursday from future Hall of Famer Dwyane Wade, who scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. Wade scored nine points in a row in the fourth quarter to help put the game away after the Celtics closed the gap to single digits. "At that moment, they had it going," Wade told reporters. "We turned the ball over, they were getting out in transition. You know a good team is going to make a run, so when I came in it was just about settling us in a little bit and then I got some shots to fall, but just the calming factor. I've always talked about that's what I'm here for."
1. Heat SG Tyler Johnson went 3-of-5 from 3-point range on Thursday after missing all 11 of his attempts over the previous three contests.
2. Grizzlies SG Dillon Brooks (toe) will sit out the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.
3. Miami earned a 100-97 victory at Memphis on Dec. 14 with Wade sitting out.
PREDICTION: Heat 110, Grizzlies 95 Bet Now
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