Wade scores 43 points in Heat victoryPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 43 points and the Miami Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 107-92 Friday night in the first matchup between the teams since the Shaquille O'Neal for Shawn Marion blockbuster trade last February.
Neither O'Neal nor Marion was much of a factor in the game dominated by the unstoppable Wade. O'Neal scored 12 points and Marion had 10.
Udonis Haslem had 16 points, Daequan Cook scored 15 and rookie Mario Chalmers added 13 for the Heat.
Leandro Barbosa, playing on his 26th birthday, led the Suns with 20 points. Raja Bell had 16 and Amare Stoudemire 14.
The Suns played without All-Star guard Steve Nash, sidelined with a right thigh contusion, sustained Wednesday night in a collision with Minnesota rookie Kevin Love. Nash's absence was evident, as the Suns had difficulty controlling the ball.
Wade, who had an uncharacteristically poor performance against Portland on Wednesday night with a season-low 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting, had a blistering first half, collecting 22 points on 8-of-13 from the floor. He also hit all six of his free throws. In leading the Heat to a 57-44 halftime lead, Wade kept pouring in the points against Bell, considered one of the NBA's top defenders.
Wade also had a lot of help from two of his backcourt partners, Chalmers and Cook. Between them, they hit nine of 12 field goal attempts.
The Suns, meanwhile, appeared completely out of sync offensively without Nash. They committed 14 turnovers - one more than they had in the entire game against Minnesota - leading to 13 Miami points. The only player to show some spark was Barbosa, who had 11 points.
At one point in the first quarter, the Heat, who were beaten 106-68 by Portland, led 27-10. The Suns kept throwing the ball away, committing eight turnovers in the period. The Heat reached 68 against Phoenix with seven minutes left in the third period on a slam by Wade.
The irrepressible Wade produced 14 points in the third quarter for a total of 36. Throughout the game, he hit a variety of shots - jumpers, dunks, 3-pointers, drives - that befuddled the Suns' defense.
Miami built its lead to 19 points, 81-62, late in the third, but the Suns closed the period with an 8-0 run on 3-pointers by Barbosa and Bell, and a driving layup by Barbosa, slicing the deficit to 11, 81-70. The Suns never got closer than 10 in the final period.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)