- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

MIAMI (AP) - Dwyane Wade scored 27 points to top his own Miami single-season record, plus added eight assists as the Heat easily beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-82 on Monday night.

Wade now has 2,064 points this season, 24 more than his previous best, set in the 2005-06 championship season. He got the record on a layup 2 minutes in, part of an 11-0 start that got Miami rolling.

Michael Beasley had 17 points and nine rebounds, Udonis Haslem scored 11 points and Jamaal Magloire finished with 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for Miami.

O.J. Mayo scored 21 for the Grizzlies, who started a four-game road trip by losing for the 17th time in 19 games. Rudy Gay was held to eight for Memphis, matching his third-lowest output this season.

Miami stayed 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the race for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff chase. The Heat _ who won in Detroit on Sunday and swept a back-to-back for the third time in 16 tries this season _ also ensured they would keep at least a 1 1/2-game lead on No. 6 Philadelphia, which played later at Portland.

Playing without starting forward Jermaine O’Neal, who sat out as a precaution with a bruised right hip but is expected to be available Wednesday when the Heat visit Indiana, Miami beat the Grizzlies for the first time in the teams’ last four meetings.

Miami took command from the opening tap, scoring on its first five possessions for a quick 11-0 lead that matched its best of the season. The Heat also scored the game’s first 11 against Atlanta on Dec. 12, a game they eventually lost.

This one was never in danger of slipping away.

Wade scored 11 points in the first quarter, including a highlight-caliber slam to end the period. He took a bounce pass at the foul line and went over an outstretched Milicic _ taken three spots before him in the 2003 draft _ for a dunk that put Miami up 30-16.

And Wade struck again, perhaps even more dramatically, at the end of the second quarter.

Mario Chalmers reached his hand behind Memphis’ Mike Conley for a steal, flicking the ball to Wade. He took four dribbles, looked up at the clock, leaped from just inside the foul line and dunked with two-tenths of a second remaining for an 56-40 Heat edge going into intermission.

Miami extended the lead to 23 points twice in the third quarter, the second of those coming on a layup by Wade with 1:28 left in the period.

Mayo scored six points in a span of 66 seconds midway through the fourth in an effort to give Memphis some sort of spark, but the Grizzlies didn’t get closer than 15 until the final moments.

Notes:@ Memphis started three rookies for the 45th time this season. … With Magloire in for O’Neal, the Heat used their 13th starting lineup. … The Grizzlies fell to 1-24 when scoring under 20 points in the first quarter. … Miami is 37-16 when scoring at least 90 points, 1-16 when scoring under 90.

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