Suns stay unbeaten, run past Heat 104-96Posted: Updated:
MIAMI — Steve Nash scored 30 points and added eight assists, and the Phoenix Suns used a dominant fourth quarter to beat the Miami Heat 104-96 in a matchup of NBA unbeatens Tuesday night.
Amare Stoudemire finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which overcame its largest deficit of the season and used a 13-4 run over the middle portion of the fourth to pull away. Jason Richardson scored 10 of his 14 points in the final period for the Suns, who are 4-0 for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Miami got 23 points from Dwyane Wade and 18 from Quentin Richardson. The Heat (3-1) were bidding for their first 4-0 start in five years, and only the second in the franchise's 22-year history.
Phoenix came in averaging an NBA-best 117.3 points per game, and struggled during many stretches of the first three quarters.
The fourth, all Suns.
Jared Dudley's driving three-point play with 7:03 left put Phoenix up 87-84, and for good. Nash capped it with 2:13 left, dribbling away from a Miami double-team, darting down the left side of the lane for a right-handed layup — while getting fouled. The free throw made it 102-93.
The Heat were a mere 5 for 23 from the floor in the final 12 minutes, while Phoenix shot 10 of 16.
Grant Hill scored 10 points with 12 rebounds for the Suns. Jermaine O'Neal — playing with a broken nose — scored 14, Michael Beasley added 12 and Udonis Haslem finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat.
Miami led 26-23 after the opening quarter, which represented a small victory: It was Phoenix's lowest-scoring period of the season. The Suns had scored 24 on three occasions.
Points were even tougher for Phoenix to come by in the second.
The Suns misfired on 12 of 20 shots from the floor, scored only 21 points, and faced their largest deficit of the young season. Wade's fast break dunk with 2:54 left put Miami up 50-37, capping a 17-1 run that saw Phoenix go nearly 6 minutes without a field goal.
It was 52-44 Miami at the half, and the Suns needed barely 2 minutes to make that all but disappear. Nash hit a pair of 3-pointers, added two more assists, and Phoenix got within 57-56 with 9:56 left in the third.
And then, another slump let Miami get some breathing room again.
The Heat scored 11 straight in a stretch of 2:27, going up 68-56 before taking a 81-75 lead into the fourth. Carlos Arroyo capped the quarter by spinning past Nash — who was trying to foul since the Suns had one to give before going into the bonus — and hitting a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining.
It was Miami's last hurrah.
NOTES: Haslem tied a team record with three straight double-digit rebound games off the bench. ... It took Wade nearly 5 minutes to take his first shot; all nine other starters had gotten at least one try off to that point. ... The Heat were without Daequan Cook (right shoulder strain), who said he'll miss Wednesday's game at Washington as well. Phoenix played without Leandro Barbosa, who has battled a sore right wrist since the summer. Barbosa played in the Suns' first three games.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)