Miami only had a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter last night against the surging Phoenix Suns, winners of three straight games, but the Heat didn't look back after that. Arguably, the entire second half was garbage time for LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosch, and the rest of the talented Heat.
It was Bosh, the dimmer of the three Miami stars, who dominated this game, with 35 points in 30 minutes on the hardwood. James had 20 points, and Wade had 17 in the 123-96 beat-down in south Florida.
The Suns had hoped to take advantage of what's been called a slow start for the Heat, who were 6-4 coming into the game. But three days of rest awakened the sleeping giant, and the Suns couldn't come close to keeping up.
Another factor in Phoenix's crushing defeat was a hobbled Steve Nash, who it was learned during the game has been playing with a groin injury since training camp that he aggravated recently. The two-time league MVP was unable to consistently penetrate an opponent's defense, as he usually does, and finished with just two assists against Miami.
The entire Suns team had 19 assists to Miami's 29 -- nine of them from the adroit King James -- which was a huge turnaround for a Nash-led Suns team.
All five Phoenix starters were in double figures, with Nash leading the way with 17, but the Suns got precious little from their bench, save 11 points from backup point guard Goran Dragic during actual garbage time in the fourth quarter.
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The game was a letdown for Suns fans, bolstered by the three wins in a row, including two against Kobe Bryant and the powerful Los Angeles Lakers, the reigning NBA champs, and Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and Monday.
But we're not giving up on Alvin Gentry's guys. Besides the Nash injury, starting center Robin Lopez is out with a knee strain. And this team is still learning how to play together -- they were playing their third game in four nights against the rested Miami squad.
But there's no rest for the weary: The Suns travel north to play Dwight Howard and the 7-3 Magic in Orlando tonight. Tip-off's at 6 p.m. our time. TV: TNT. For more information, go to www.suns.com.