The Phoenix Suns got out to an early 11-point lead to start the game with strong play on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, and somewhat predictably, the Suns bench unit struggled on the offensive end and gave up a 20-8 run to the Heat and gave back the lead that they would never relinquish.
The Heat extended their lead in the third quarter and pulled away to a 95-83 finish.
The Suns cold shooting came from their best players with Grant Hill only hitting 4-of-12 for 8 points and Steve Nash having just one field goal attempt through three quarters. He finished with just four points but had 18 assists. Jared Dudley was the lone bright spot for the Suns offense. JD had his second career-high in as many games with 33 points and 12 rebounds.
"They were trapping me the whole game. Double-teaming pick and rolls and every time I went to the basket they over rotate to me so my teammates were open, we shot 40 percent. Most nights I think we shot 50 (percent) on the looks we got and we win. Tonight we just didn't shoot the ball that well," Nash said after the game, adding that he felt fine physically.
The second unit with Goran Dragic (1pt., 1 ast.) at the helm and newcomers Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus understandably looked confused and disjointed. The only time good things happened was in transition or isolation plays from the wings. The Suns bench is full of talented players but hadn't found any kind of consistency prior to the recent trade and will now have to start that process over.
"The second unit has been very good and then we fluctuate back to struggling. In some kind of way we've got to get to the point where we've got a pretty good handle on what's going to happen when I take Steve (Nash) out of the game...So we have to have Goran (Dragic) and everybody on the second team step up and play well," Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said.
LeBron James took over the offensive load for the Miami Heat who were without Dwyane Wade (knee). James finished with 36 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assist. Chris Bosh added 23 points and 11 rebounds of his own. James was pleased with his performance and leadership.
"It was important for me to come out a little more aggressive and for the rest of the guys to follow the lead," James said.
The new Suns Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus finished with a combined 6 points and 4 rebounds. Both showed their potential impact to the team and should improve with more time to get acclimated. The Suns were out-rebounded 44-39 by the Heat.
Both Pietrus and Gortat were disappointed in the loss but encouraged overall about the long term prospects of their new team.
Gortat had this to say about the night, "It was a pretty tough game for us and I'll tell you one thing, this team has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. There's just a lot of room to improve and right now we just got to work on our defense."