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Morant, Valanciunas lead Grizzlies past Heat 118-111

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — This time, Ja Morant and Memphis landed the final punch against Miami. Morant had 20 points and 10 assists to lead the Grizzlies to a 118-...
Heat Grizzlies Basketball

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — This time, Ja Morant and Memphis landed thefinal punch against Miami.

Morant had 20 points and 10 assists to lead the Grizzlies to a118-111 victory over the Heat on Monday night.

Jonas Valanciunas finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds asMemphis won for the fourth time in five games. De’Anthony Melton scored 16points, and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 15.

The Grizzlies also played Miami in their season opener on Oct. 23,losing 120-101 when the Heat rallied in the fourth quarter. The Heat puttogether another big finish Monday night, but the Grizzlies responded withtheir own push.

“We just learned,” Morant said of the difference sincethe first game of the season. “I feel like we lost a lot of games late inthe fourth quarter. A team would go on a run, and we weren’t able to bounceback from it. … We’re just learning from our mistakes.”

Miami had won four of five, including three overtime victories.Jimmy Butler had 25 points and eight assists, and Tyler Herro scored 22 points.

“Our (man) defense was pretty poor all the way through,”Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The zone defense gave us a little bit oflife. I don’t know if it was because it got them out of rhythm or because wewere just more active.”

The Grizzlies were up by 11 when Butler went on his own 7-0 run inthe fourth. Derrick Jones Jr. then scored five points to help Miami take a107-104 lead with 5:30 left.

Memphis responded with 11 straight points for a 115-107 lead on aMorant drive with 2:31 left.

Jones finished with 15 points for Miami, and Bam Adebayo recordedhis sixth straight double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

It was Miami’s first loss of the season to a sub-.500 team.

“Even in the midst of the second half (the Heat) were goingon, you wouldn’t believe the communication the guys had,” Grizzlies coachTaylor Jenkins said, later adding: “No one was overthinking it and puttingtheir heads down, which were some of the moments earlier in the season.”


Adebayo was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Weekearlier Monday after averaging 20 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists inthree games last week.

“I love it. I love it for him,” Spoelstra said.“He’s all about the right things. This won’t go to his head. It’s not likehe is doing this for individual accolades.”


Heat: Adebayo has 17 double-doubles this season. … Butler tookonly three shots in the first half, but did have five assists. … Butler hasnine straight games of at least 20 points.

Grizzlies: F Jae Crowder, who missed Saturday’s home game againstWashington with left ankle soreness, returned to action. … Memphis’ 73 first-halfpoints were a season high for a half and the fifth-highest in franchisehistory.


Heat: Complete a three-game road trip Wednesday night inPhiladelphia

Grizzlies: Play at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.


More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports