It's silly to think that the rebuilding Phoenix Suns actually stood a chance against the mighty Miami Heat Monday night near South Beach. The Suns hung in there as long as they could, but the Heat showed the Suns just how much farther -- and how many top-flight players -- is needed to be champions last season and favorites to repeat this season.
The Heat didn't even need LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the fourth quarter. The dynamic duo sat on the bench for much of that time period after scoring 23 and 22 points, respectively. While James and Wade figured to get their points, the Suns didn't rotate fast enough on defense to keep the Heat from good ball movement and finding the open shooter, in most cases Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Rashard Lewis.
The Suns (1-3) were in it for a half though they trailed 24-11 at one point. When Goran Dragic hit a three with 2.1 seconds left in the first quarter, the Suns seemed to be in a good spot. But Norris Cole hit a running 3-pointer from 45 feet out to give the Heat a nine-point lead in what was a sign of things to come for the Suns.
It was 65-53 at halftime.
The Heat made 15 of 26 3-point shots for the game. Already the NBA's top offensive team, the Heat look to be even better than last season now that they've added a pair of proven scorers in Allen and Lewis to go along with James, Wade and Chris Bosh.
That the Suns scored 99 points was more a product of the pace of the game, not their shooting from the field. Phoenix made only 40 percent of its shots for the game.
The Suns have to chalk this loss up to just not being as talented as the Heat. They will be out-manned on the court on plenty of nights against other teams; wins will come from hard work and better defense more than anything else. On Monday, Marcin Gortat turned in his typical double-double that the Suns need from him every night. Same from Luis Scola, who scored 15 points with eight rebounds.
The Suns have to get more from Michael Beasley. After a forgettable opening night performance, it appeared the forward had gotten going, as he scored 16 and 22 points in the next two Suns games. But he regressed Monday with only seven.
The Suns get a chance for a road win on Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. We'll see what they've learned from sharing the floor with a champion.