MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – After playing some great basketball over a few week span, the Miami Heat have been struggling recently and will face a tough opponent at home on Sunday.
Memphis traded off losses and wins in its last five games and was crushed by at least 20 points in each of those three setbacks.
The Grizzlies, who made their mark on the defensive end over the last few seasons, surrendered an average of 117 points in the three losses, each of which came at home.
The Heat, who racked up 12 wins in their first 18 games largely due to their prowess on the defensive end, are losers of three straight and surrendered an average of 103 points during that span.
Miami is having trouble covering the defensive lapses at the other end of the floor and was outscored by a total of 42 points during the slide as the team tries to find offensive options beyond Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Memphis), FSN Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (13-11): Memphis has yet to join most teams in the small ball revolution sweeping the NBA and was lit up for 79 points by Charlotte guards Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb in Friday's 123-99 setback.
Oklahoma City spread the Grizzlies out and slashed to the basket in the same fashion in a 125-88 loss on Tuesday, and they can expect the same from Wade and Goran Dragic of Miami.
"They beat us with effort," Memphis coach Dave Joerger told reporters of Friday's setback. "They beat us with execution. They beat us at just about every single matchup up and down the line. There's not much to say. We were not good. They were good."
ABOUT THE HEAT (12-9): Bosh and Wade both had things to say about the offense after a 99-81 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday and were again disappointed by a second half in which the team was outscored 49-35 on Friday.
"Everybody goes through slumps," Bosh told reporters. "It's part of a group that has not played a lot together. We have to stop it, figure it out together. We have to keep our spirits high."
Luol Deng (hamstring) returned to the starting lineup on Friday after coming off the bench in his first game back and managed seven points on 3-of-9 shooting in 34 minutes.
- Dragic has totaled 10 points and seven turnovers in the last two games.
- Miami F Josh McRoberts (knee) sat out Friday and is day-to-day.
- Memphis has taken three straight and five of seven in the series.
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