Suns Can't Handle HeatPosted: Updated:
LeBron James had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and the Miami Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 124-99 on Monday night.
Chris Bosh finished with 18 points and Ray Allen had 15 for Miami (3-1), which is averaging 111.8 points to open the season. Allen became the 24th player in NBA history to eclipse the 23,000-point mark when he made a free throw with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
Shannon Brown led Phoenix with 18 points off the bench, making five 3-pointers. Luis Scola had 15 points, Goran Dragic finished with 13 points and nine assists, and Marcin Gortat scored 12 for the Suns.
The Heat put the game away with a 23-6 run in the third, a spurt fueled by 10 points from James and five 3-pointers in a span of less than 5 minutes.
Udonis Haslem finished with 12 points and Mario Chalmers had 11 assists for the Heat, who finished 15 for 26 from 3-point range, and outrebounded Phoenix 49-38.
It was a milestone night for two Heat players — Wade played his 600th regular-season game, and Allen became the fourth active player to reach the 23,000 point plateau.
Of course, those are hardly the only big numbers Miami's enjoying these days.
The Heat have reached 119 points in all three of their home games — the first time they've done that since James, Wade and Bosh teamed up to play in Miami over the summer of 2010. They didn't have to play big minutes to get there, however: No Miami starter played more than 30 minutes against the Suns (1-3).
The Heat shot 59 percent in the first half to 38 for Phoenix, though the margin was hardly a runaway — 65-53 Miami at the break.
After three lackluster defensive showings to start the season against Boston, New York and Denver, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told his team before Monday that things needed to improve in a hurry.
Apparently, the Heat listened. Miami opened on a 10-2 run, led 30-16 after 10 minutes and never trailed.
Still, the outcome was hardly a lock midway through the third. Phoenix was within nine early in the period after a basket by Gortat, and Scola connected on a drive with 6:34 left in the third to get the Suns within 75-65.
That's where Miami decided enough was enough.
Wade set up James and Chalmers for 3-pointers that came 24 seconds apart, and the Heat were well on their way. Chalmers, Battier and James — again — made 3's later in the run, which was capped by Allen making a pair of free throws with 1:01 remaining, the second of those being point No. 23,001 of his career.
It wasn't like James, Wade and Bosh needed a whole ton of help. Through three quarters, they combined to shoot 26 for 39. The Suns, as a team, were 26 for 68 — and needed a shot by Shannon Brown from near midcourt as the third-period buzzer expired just to match the field-goal total by Miami's "Big Three."
The lead reached as many as 30 in the fourth.
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