The Miami Heat (39-14) are coming off a huge win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. The South Beach squad will look to keep it rolling against the Memphis Grizzlies (30-23) on Friday.
With the Grizzlies coming off of a loss, Memphis will be motivated to right the ship in order to keep ground in a crowded Western Conference playoff race.
MVP candidate LeBron James turned in another impressive performance with 34 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists on Wednesday. He's now averaging a ridiculous 37.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and seven assists over his last two games.
The Grizzlies will be faced with a tough task of slowing down the Heat, a team that appears to be awfully motivated following an embarrassing loss to the Boston Celtics last weekend on national television.
Where: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Fla.
When: Friday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. ET
Watch: Sun Sports (Heat), SSO-MEM (Grizzlies)
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Listen: WAXY 790/WQBA 1140 AM (Miami), 92.9 FM ESPN/680 AM ESPN (Memphis)
Betting Line: Not available, according to Bovada.lv on 4/5 at 7:30 a.m. ET
Key Injuries: Darrell Arthur (torn ACL), Mike Miller (ankle)
What They're Saying
After much of the focus has been on why the Heat have been struggling, Miami has come out and played two very impressive games against tough opponents.
There had previously been a strong emphasis on LeBron James being the runaway MVP candidate, but Kevin Durant's name has popped up more frequently in the latest discussions.
When prompted if this year's MVP race was James' to lose, Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who has covered James' entire career, had the following response:
Fiction. I know what the stats say but you have to consider the voters and history here. The MVP has a political layer to it. The voters want the best story and they consider outside influences. Unless LeBron just has a massive April and the Thunder falter, Durant is going to win this thing.
Most Important Player to Watch: Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol made the All-Star team for the Western Conference due to his breakout season.
He's slowed his roll a bit of late and has struggled with his shot since spraining his ankle toward the end of March, but this could be the game for Gasol to get back on track.
Whether it's Ronny Turiaf or Joel Anthony, Gasol will have a definitive size advantage inside the paint and that should lead to him getting easy shot opportunities around the rim.
He's going to need to have a big game for the Grizzlies to come into Miami and leave with a win.
Key Matchup: Mike Conley vs. Mario Chalmers
After five games of double-digit assists during the first half of March, Conley hasn't reached that plateau since March 16.
If Memphis is going to come out and steal Miami's thunder, Conley is going to have to put forth a major effort.
Not only will Conley have to facilitate the flow of the offense for his teammates, but the point guard will also have to find a way to find the bottom of the basket from the perimeter.
For Chalmers, who has double-digit scoring efforts in five of his last six games, he'll need to continue to be aggressive in finding his own offense so the Big Three in Miami don't have to carry the load on their own.
Heat 102, Grizzlies 95
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