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 tip-off, and the Heat wound up rolling past the Memphis Grizzlies 118-85 on Saturday, their biggest margin of victory since Dec. 27, 2009.
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. By then, the outcome was already decided.
Wade was the catalyst, with a 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.
"That moment right there, that's pretty much how I felt the game was going to go," Wade said.
He was right.
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.
James scored 27 points while taking the fourth quarter off for Miami, which got 18 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Bosh and 17 from Mike Bibby — who was 5 for 5 from 3-point range. Bibby has now hit his last seven 3's overall, and is now 13 of 14 from long range against the Grizzlies this season.
And a team that had lost five straight before beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night might be rolling again.
"Crap to awesome to awesome," Bosh said, trying to sum up the Heat play of late.
Miami set a season high with 11 blocked shots.
"I thought we defended with much better energy," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team hosts NBA-leading San Antonio on Monday. "Swarming them, making second and third efforts. And offensively, it was probably one of our better ball-movement games in a while."
This one was decided early, and the Heat closed within 2½ games of Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
"Anytime that we can have a good team effort, that's always great," Bosh said. "But the fact that we had a big lead after halftime and we held it, that's what I'm most happy with."
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.
"It feels good to get some wins," James said. "The expectation of us going out and playing at a high level every night was wearing on us a little bit."
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.
"We came out passive and they were aggressive," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "They knocked us back. It was still 28-22 then in the second quarter the dam broke. We weren't able to do anything offensively. Guys we were counting on didn't have it."
Memphis still holds the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, despite remaining without the injured Rudy Gay.
"I'll be glad when he comes back," Hollins said.
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.
"They played a heck of a game today," Allen said. "They beat us by 30. But for the most part I'm focused on what we need to do."
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: All but two of Bibby's 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 G Jason Williams shook hands with the Heat stat crew at halftime, still a staff favorite after helping Miami win the 2006 NBA title. ... All 12 active Miami players scored.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company