For the first time since hosting the Orlando Magic almost three weeks ago, the Miami Heat went up against a formidable opponent and controlled the game from start to finish. This time the challenger was the Phoenix Suns, who came into the American Airlines Arena feeling good about their recent play but left the Heat's house ready to forget about the 48-minutes they played in Miami.
Chris Bosh had the best start to a game since joining the Heat, hitting his first four shots and finishing the 1st quarter with 14 points and 4 boards. It was the beginning of an awesome night for Bosh to say the least. Phoenix kept stride with Miami throughout the opening quarter and held a slim 1-point lead with under two minutes left.
Once the Heat re-took the lead though, that would never give it back up. Miami went on a 24-9 run at the end of the 1st half and took a hefty 21-point lead into the half. Unfortunately due to their recent collapses, neither the Heat nor their fans could feel comfortable yet. That's fine for the team though because they need to develop a killer instinct. A little practice in that area did them some good.
Miami wouldn't make it easy, allowing the Suns to go on a 21-8 run mid-way through the 3rd quarter to draw within 8 points of the Heat. It was at that time where Erik Spoelstra's crew put their collective foot down and clamped down defensively. It also seemed like they remembered that had a team full of all-stars who should be able to score almost at will.
First it was Chris Bosh who began to expand the Heat's lead again, scoring 7-straight points that ended the Suns comeback attempt and propelled Miami on a 24-3 run that bridged the 3rd and 4th quarters. Just like that, the Heat found themselves ahead by 33 points with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
This is hopefully a sign of things to come for the Heat; taking an early lead and then putting their foot on the gas in the 2nd half to put the game out of reach. It wasn't against a pushover team either. The Suns are a solid club who has already won games at Utah, Atlanta and the Lakers. This game is definitely a step in the right direction for Miami.
It wasn't just a big night of scoring for Chris Bosh. He came alive and got buckets when the Heat needed them, getting the team off to a fast start in the game and then sparking their 2nd big run of the night which essentially ended the Suns chance of coming back. Bosh finished with a season-high 35 points on 12-of-17 shooting. He hit all 11 of his free throws and collected 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
- Eddie House led all reserves with 15 points. He hit three shots from downtown but also had a few buckets from inside the 3-point line.
- Big Z started at center but only played 8 minutes due to the Suns undersized lineup. Joel Anthony played 16 minuets, and the two Heat centers combined for 6 points, 2 rebounds and one block.
- After an invisible 1st quarter, Dwyane Wade finished with a respectable 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
- LeBron James had his usual stat-line filling game, putting up 20 points, 8 boards, 9 assists and 3 steals. Five of his assists came in the first 4½ minutes of the game though.
- Juwan Howard was brought off the bench for his first meaningful minutes of the season and responded well with 2 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes. Unfortunately his night was cut short when he suffered a broken nose during the 2nd half. At this point its unknown what his availability is going forward.
- For the first time this season Carlos Arroyo hit multiple 3-pointers in a game. 10 points and 4 assists is a solid outing for the Heat's starting point guard.
The Heat will now begin preparing for games against Charlotte and Memphis on consecutive nights. Hopefully the Heat can carry over their all-around effort from last night into this weekends games.