MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Antoine Walker scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and Dwyane Wade added 23 points Wednesday night as the Miami Heat defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 97-78.

Walker shot 10-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range in Miami’s season opener.

Shaquille O’Neal scored 12 points, and Jason Williams, playing his first game as the Heat point guard after four seasons in Memphis, finished with 10.

Despite holding O’Neal to four points in the first half, Memphis lost its fifth consecutive season opener, all at home. Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Eddie Jones scored 15 points. Damon Stoudamire had 10 points and five assists.

Memphis shot 34 percent from the field, and the Grizzlies’ three major offseason additions – Jones, Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson – were a combined 11-of-37.

The game was close until a Heat run late in the third period and the early stages of the fourth, when Miami pulled away.

O’Neal was held to six points until midway through the third. At that point, the Heat center began backing down Memphis defenders and closed the half with a trio of baskets, helping Miami take a 66-58 into the fourth.

That kick-started the Heat’s run that lasted into the fourth period, and after a Wade dunk on a break with seven minutes left, Miami had its biggest lead at 84-64.

The dunk capped a 27-7 run after the game was tied at 57 with 2:39 left in the third. Memphis would get no closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Memphis led 42-38 at the half as Gasol controlled the inside. The 7-foot forward pushed the ball to the basket, but also showed adequate touch from 10-12 feet.

Neither team shot well early – the Heat hit only one of their first nine shots, and Memphis was 3-for-14. Both finished the half just under 35 percent from the field. The Heat also was hindered by 12 turnovers.

Heat veteran guard Gary Payton found himself in an unfamiliar position at the start of the game: With Williams starting at point guard, Payton came off the bench for only the seventh time in his career, scoring four points in more than 28 minutes.

Notes: Williams received a mixture of boos and cheers in the pre-game introductions. … Miami rookie center Earl Barron, who played at the University of Memphis, got in the game late, scoring 2 points. … Memphis coach Mike Fratello said the Grizzlies already were looking at their own dress code when the league announced its rules. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having people at this level dressing in a certain manner,” Fratello said.

AP-ES-11-02-05 2252EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.