MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis Grizzlies have had plenty of catch-and-shoot guards in their franchise history. They just haven't had many catch-shoot-and-make-shots guards.
They apparently have one now.
Reserve guard Wayne Ellington, acquired by the Griz in an offseason trade with Minnesota, scored a career-high 25 points to fuel a Grizzlies three-point frenzy in a 104-86 pounding of the defending NBA champion Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon in FedExForum.
Ellington nailed 7 of 11 threes, and his hot shooting spread among his teammates. Memphis, not known as long-distance shooting crew, drained 14 of 24 threes against a stunned Heat defense.
Rudy Gay added 21 points and eight rebounds for the Griz, with Mike Conley contributing 18 and Zach Randolph recording his fifth straight double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Chris Bosh scored 22 points and LeBron James added 20 for the Heat (5-2).
The victory for the Grizzlies (5-1) extended their regular-season home-court winning streak to 14 games.
Though the Grizzlies continued their unexpected three-point barrage in the third quarter, Miami held it to a minimum. The Heat did a vastly better job of closing out on Griz shooters, and reduced Memphis' 15-point halftime lead to 76-66 at the end of the third.
The game's final quarter focused on whether the Grizzlies could maintain their points of emphasis on offense (attack the basket) and defense (stop the ball in transition and locate shooters).
Memphis refused to fold, even turning mistakes into big plays. A shining example came with 7:21 left to play when Griz reserve point guard Jerryd Bayless was pressured into throwing a pass crosscourt that was stolen by Miami's Ray Allen.
As Allen was coasting in for a layup, Bayless tracked him down, blocked the shot at rim level and then shipped the ball downcourt for another Ellington three.
The Grizzlies used a burst in the final five minutes of the second quarter to take a 56-41 halftime lead.
The Griz executed their scouting report on the Heat to perfection. Memphis wanted to attack the basket early and often, and it did.
The Griz, noting Miami had a tendency to play lax transition defense, wanted to keep pushing the ball upcourt off missed shots.
That finally paid off in the closing minutes when Conley scored seven straight points on a corner three-pointer and two transition layups to start a 14-1 run that closed the half.
Perhaps the biggest stunner for the Griz was Ellington scoring 16 of the Grizzlies' 34 second-quarter points. He unloaded, hitting 5-of-7 field goals, including 4-of-6 threes.
Memphis, never known as a prolific three-point shooting team, dropped in 7-of-13 first-half threes, while the Heat was 1-of-6.
Ellington got a majority of his threes by ducking behind perimeter screens set by center Marc Gasol.
Though James scored 14 in the opening half and Bosh added 11, Dwyane Wade was rather quiet with 11 points. And the Heat bench gave Miami practically nothing.
NOTES: The Heat made just 1-of-7 free throws in the first quarter, the NBA's worst free-throw-shooting first quarter since Golden State went 1-for-9 vs. Utah on Nov. 4, 2006 (Minimum 7 team attempts.). . .Griz coach Lionel Hollins said the Miami Heat finally found chemistry once they realized who was the best player on their team. "The best player eventually rose to the top," Hollins said. "The best player is LeBron James, he's the best player in the game. His talents and versatility require he have the ball and make the plays, not anybody else. So once everybody fell into line and embraced those roles, they became a tough team to deal with."