Gay scored a career-high 41 points, Marc Gasol(notes) made all seven of his shots on the way to a 16-point, 15-rebound effort, and the Memphis Grizzlies got their biggest road win in more than two years by topping the suddenly struggling Heat 118-90 on Sunday night.
“I just wanted to make my presence known,” Gay said.
Gay made 15 of 28 shots, topping his previous career best by five points, and became just the fourth player since January 2007 to score at least 40 against Miami in a regular-season game. Jamal Crawford(notes) (40) did it on Dec. 1, 2008, and LeBron James(notes) (42) and Ben Gordon(notes) (43) accomplished the feat last March.
“It’s anger, it’s disappointment, and embarrassment,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who held a long postgame meeting with his team, as some players vented to one another and Dwyane Wade(notes) sat back and listened, taking it all in without a word. “These are some of the best opportunities to grow as a team, when you get embarrassed and you get your tail handed to you.”
The Grizzlies can attest to that.
Memphis lost eight of its first nine games this season, six of those by double figures. A team meeting was called, and the Grizzlies are 9-5 since.
“They called each other out,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of that meeting.
The Heat, now 6-7 at home and losers in six of their last eight overall, can only hope that works for them.
“We all have to come in tomorrow with a different mindset,” said Wade, who led Miami with 25 points. “When you look at the game film, when you look at yourself, you’ve got to know how you can help this team get better and compete. Tonight, we didn’t compete.”
It was just the 20th win in 95 road games for Memphis dating to the start of the 2007-08 season. Of those, only one was by more than 20 points, a 118-95 cakewalk past the Los Angeles Clippers back March 4.
This one, was never in doubt.
Memphis had won only three times away from home all season, by a total of 17 points. The 28-point win Sunday was the largest for the Grizzlies since a 109-80 win over Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2007.
“We came out with a lot of intensity,” Mayo said. “We wanted to get some stops and get some easy runouts. We did that very well.”
Gay got rolling quickly, shooting 5 of 9 from the floor in the first 12 minutes on a combination of everything from reverse lay-ups in transition to fallaway jumpers. And as the game went on, he scored at will—swinging on the rim after dunks and drawing some Heat ire for it, taking half-court alley-oop lobs and even connecting on three 3-pointers in the third, when Memphis blew the game wide open.
The Grizzlies built a 15-point lead in the first quarter, took a 62-49 lead into the half and outscored Miami by 13 in the third to take a 93-67 lead into the final 12 minutes.
“A terrible display of effort,” Wade said.
If the Heat had a white flag, it would have been waved.
Miami opened the fourth quarter by sending James Jones(notes), Carlos Arroyo(notes), Joel Anthony(notes), Daequan Cook(notes) and Udonis Haslem(notes) onto the court. Only Haslem had logged more than 6 minutes during the opening three quarters.
Miami has allowed opponents to score at least 100 points in six straight games for the first time since Dec. 17-27, 2004. Back then, it wasn’t a problem — that Heat team somehow went 6-0 during that stretch.
This Heat team has gone 2-4, falling to 11-11 on the season and already 5 1/2 games behind Orlando in the Southeast Division. And it doesn’t get any easier for Miami over the rest of this six-game homestand, with Toronto, Orlando, Portland and Utah set to visit in the coming days.
“It’s time to respond,” Spoelstra said.
NOTES: Memphis shot the game’s first 17 free throws. … The Heat are 9-1 when leading at halftime, 2-10 when not. … Midway through the third quarter, the Heat had a total of 18 rebounds. Gasol already had 15. … Gasol had his ninth double-double of the season wrapped up by halftime, getting 12 points and 11 rebounds before the break.