MIAMI — This time the Miami Heat followed up something good with something good enough, which in many ways was all that was requested.
No, this was not nearly as dynamic a performance as Thursday’s tour de force against the Boston Celtics. But it was a moment when the Heat also didn’t play down to the level of the competition, or at least not long enough to get them beat.
So even with a few shaky moments at the close, the Heat took Saturday’s 112-108 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena and moved back above .500 at 21-20 at midseason.
“Well, they missed a couple of shots, we got a couple of stops,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we just found a way to close it.
“There was some progress in this one.”
Justise Winslow led the Heat with 26 points on night of otherwise balanced scoring for the Heat.
“He puts in a great deal of time on his game,” Spoelstra said. “This first half tonight, there was a need for him to be more aggressive.”
It was a rocky ride, but ultimately a successful one.
The Heat led by 13 in the third quarter and went into the fourth up 91-83. But even with the Heat getting into the bonus with 7:51 to play, a Mike Conley Jr. 3-pointer tied it at 99, with another tie at 102-102, before a Kelly Olynyk basket put the Heat up 104-102 and a pair of Bam Adebayo free throws made it 106-102.
But, as so often has been the case this season, a small late lead quickly melted.
Conley countered with a floater to bring Memphis with 106-104, but saw that countered by a steal and transition score with 2:21 left by Josh Richardson for a 108-104 Heat lead.
Center Marc Gasol followed with an inside basket to cut the Grizzlies’ deficit to 108-106, with a Richardson turnover leading to a JaMychal Green basket that tied it at 108, setting up a frantic final minute.
With Winslow off with a 10-foot jumper, Conley missed an open floater and fouled Adebayo with 55.9 seconds to play.
At 4 of 5 from the line to that stage, Adebayo made only the second foul shot, to put the Heat up 109-108.
But that is when Gasol air-balled an open 3-pointer with 31 seconds to play.
Dwyane Wade then missed a jumper, but Richardson secured the offensive rebound and was fouled with 9.5 seconds to play. Like Adebayo, he made only one of the two free throws, leaving the Heat up 110-108.
The Heat then forced a jump ball with 4.0 seconds to play, which was won by Wade, with Richardson fouled on the play.