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Wade's four early blocks set tone as Miami take Memphis to woodshed

By Tim Reynolds
Associated Press
Saturday, March 12, 2011; 6:10 PM

MIAMI -- In less than a minute, Dwyane Wade set the tone for the Miami Heat.

Wade blocked four shots in a dazzling 55-second span shortly after tipoff, and the Heat wound up rolling past the Memphis Grizzlies 118-85 on Saturday to win their second straight.

It was one of Miami's top defensive displays of the season, holding the Grizzlies to 39 percent shooting and forcing Memphis into missing its final 10 shots of the first half.

And Wade was the catalyst, with that stretch that started when he blocked Tony Allen's jumper with 7:56 left in the first quarter. Another Allen layup was blocked 17 seconds later, and then Sam Young started getting Miami's attention. He had three shots swatted away in 36 seconds, the first by LeBron James, the last two by Wade.

Wade's final line: 28 points, nine assists, five rebounds and five blocks. The last NBA guard to have numbers like that in a game? Michael Jordan, in 1988.

LeBron James scored 27 points while taking the fourth quarter off for Miami, which got 18 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Bosh. The 33-point victory margin was Miami's largest this season, and the Heat set a season high with 11 blocked shots.

The Heat were coming off Thursday's down-to-the-wire win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

There was no hangover Saturday.

This one was decided early, and the Heat closed within 2 1/2 games of Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

James made all four of his shots on the way to an 11-point first quarter, after which Miami led 28-22, and the Heat were just getting started. Memphis shot 25 percent in the second quarter, and the Heat closed the period with an 18-5 burst that stretched the margin to 55-37 at the break.

Wade was playing defense on everybody. All five of his blocks came in the half, and he even inadvertently leveled James on a defensive possession just before intermission.

Everyone was fine, except the guys in the visiting uniforms, who found themselves down by 37 at one point in the second half.

O.J. Mayo led Memphis with 19 points. Marc Gasol scored 15 and Zach Randolph 13 for the Grizzlies. Mike Conley had 10 assists, but shot 1 for 11.

There's been three games where guards have blocked five shots this season, according to STATS LLC, and Wade has two of them. He matched his career high, blocking five for the fourth time.

He wasn't the only Miami player playing defense, not by a long shot.

In many ways, it was a carry-over from what the Heat did against the Lakers in the second half on Thursday. The two-time defending NBA champions shot just 12 for 41 in the third and fourth quarters in that game, and the Grizzlies shot 16 of 50 in the first and second quarters on Saturday.

Put them together, and not only had the Heat held those teams to 30.8 percent shooting over that stretch, they'd also limited them to 72 points in those 48 minutes.

Randolph was 4 for 4 in the third, but the rest of his teammates shot a combined 5 for 16 in the period, and the margin was never less than 21 in the game's final 21 minutes.

Notes: Bibby has now made seven straight 3-pointers, going back to his last two in the win over the Lakers. All but two of his 12 field goals since joining the Heat have come from beyond the arc. ... Wade's previous first-quarter high for blocks was three, set on Christmas 2006 against the Los Angeles Lakers. ... Grizzlies guard Jason Williams shook hands with the Heat stat crew at halftime, still a staff favorite after helping Miami win the 2006 NBA title.

© 2011 The Associated Press