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Mayo leads surging Grizzlies over Heat

Dec 15, 2008 - 1:30 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- O.J. Mayo and the Memphis Grizzlies appeared to have their third-quarter scoring woes figured out Sunday against the visiting Miami Heat.

Memphis, which is 1-13 when losing the third quarter this season, took over in the stanza this time to turn a tied game at halftime into a 102-86 rout before 12,271 at FedEx Forum.

The Grizzlies scored a season-high 35 points in the third, outscoring the Heat by 15 in the period to take control. Mayo, the only NBA rookie to score in double figures in every game this season, scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the third. Rudy Gay and Darrell Arthur each had eight in the period to give Memphis an 81-66 advantage after three.

"The key to the game was getting a cushion and having a breakout third quarter," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "We had a season high with 35 points and that gave us confidence."

The Heat never really threatened from there. They finished just 28 percent (7-of-25) from the field in the third quarter and connected on just 36 percent (32-of-88) overall.

"I think we really did a great job of playing well on the defensive end together," Mayo said. "We had a great inside presence with Darko (Milicic). Everybody had a lot of energy tonight."

Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who entered the game averaging an NBA-best 29.1 points per game, was limited to 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Wade, who was visibly frustrated as Miami dropped its second game in a row, was also assessed a technical foul with 7:50 left in the fourth after arguing with an official near midcourt.

"We have to go to the drawing board and see why we've struggled," said Wade, who turned in his second-lowest point total of the season Sunday. "The only thing we can continue to do is keep running the offense we've been running. We're trying to get to the foul line, but we're not getting there. We're not making shots and we're not getting to the foul line, either."

Gay finished with 18 and Darko Milicic added 13 and five blocked shots for Memphis, which has won four in a row for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Grizzlies endured a miserable first month of the season, losing 11 of 12 despite Mayo's emergence as one of the best of this year's rookie class. But since then, they have started to put things together, winning five of six.

"None of us really enjoy losing," said Mayo, who scored in double figures for the 24th time this season, the longest such streak to start an NBA career since David Robinson's 77-game run in the 1989-90 season. "We've got a good team, and we feel like there were some games earlier this season that we let slip through our hands, maybe through youth or a lack of experience.

"But I think we've got a lot of winners on this team. ... We're all getting it together and clicking together."

Michael Beasley's 20 points led Miami, which was outscored, 14-2, in fast-break points. The rookie forward added eight rebounds.

"Everything started to go wrong in the third quarter," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have absolutely gotten away from our identity defensively. Everything right now is about what's going on offensively. When we've struggled offensively, we haven't had the resolve in the last two third quarters to buckle down, dig in and hold the fort."

The teams combined to go just 1-of-11 from the field over the first 2:42 of the first quarter before rookie forward Arthur and Mayo knocked down back-to-back jumpers to give Memphis an early 7-0 lead.

Beasley sparked the Heat off the bench, scoring a team-high nine points in the first quarter on 4-of-5 shooting to help cut Memphis' advantage to 25-22 after one.

Beasley's 8-foot runner with 9:16 left in the second quarter gave Miami its first lead of the game at 31-30. Reserve guard Chris Quinn followed with a floater in the lane and Beasley converted an offensive putback more than a minute later to cap Miami's 9-0 Miami scoring run.

Mayo, who was 4-of-8 from the field in the first half, scored six of Memphis' final eight points of the second period to help knot the game at 46-46 at the break.

"He's an explosive scorer," Spoelstra said of Mayo. "He's got a lot of range. He's got a lot of poise also. For such a young player, he doesn't seem to be in a hurry. He made some big plays for them in the third."

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