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Heat play very poor 4th quarter en route to loss numero uno

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The Heat got out to a quick start, scoring 11 points in the first 3+ minutes, and all without Dwyane Wade touching the ball.  Michael Beasley and Quentin Richardson were supplying the offense early on for the Heat. 

After missing their first four attempts from beyond the arc, the Suns hit three straight from downtown, going on a 9-0 run to go up by 3.  The Heat would immediately respond with a ridiculous 17-1 run that gave them a 13-point advantage late in the 2nd quarter.   The Suns would regroup and close the half on a 7-2 run, but still ended up down 52-44 at the break, their lowest total for a half in the young season. 

Steve Nash had 5 points in the first half.  He then scored 8 points in the first 2:04 of the second half.  Six of those points came on completely wide open trey's where Mario Chalmers was nowhere to be found, and both of them were 2nd chance field goals thanks to Grant Hill offensive boards.   Nash is just so good...he can still hit a shot from anywhere on the floor no matter who is guarding him and his passing is just ridiculous.

The 4th quarter was pretty terrible for Miami.  After playing great against the Suns for ¾ of the game, they pretty much collapsed in the final stanza.  It didn't help that every single call seemed to go against the Heat, but they shot terribly and defensively they were just owned by Steve Nash.  Regardless though, no team in the NBA is going to win a close game when you score only 15 points in the 4th quarter. 

GAME NOTES

Jermaine O'Neal started the game despite having a broken nose.  He also was not wearing a face shield, but still managed to be the first Heat player to score for the 3rd time this season.  Unfortunately, for the second straight game he was a non-factor.  Despite scoring 14 points, he got only 1 rebound per half. 

Dwyane Wade seemed to play half of the game on offense, which wont cut it against a high-scoring team like the Suns.  He still finished with 23 points, but made more of a difference with his 9 rebounds and 7 assists.  And enough is enough with chucking up the three pointers.  He's made only 2-of-14 and most of them aren't even close.  I love Dwyane and think he is the best, but until he gets more comfortable with hitting those long shots he needs to not take them.  He can drive the ball better then anyone on the floor, but a quick missed 3 can kill momentum.

The Suns blocked 11 Heat shots, including 5 in the early 4th quarter. 

Both teams were without their top bench options (not including Udonis Haslem).  Daequan Cook missed his 2nd straight game with a sore right shoulder, and Leandro Barbosa sat out for Phoenix with a sore right wrist. 

Quentin Richardson had his best game as a member of the Heat, scoring 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting (4-of-9 from 3 land), grabbing 10 boards including 4 on the offensive glass, and filling up the stat categories with 2 assists, 2 steals and a block.  He also drew his 4th charge of the season. 

The Heat D held the Suns to their lowest totals for one quarter this season when they were held to only 23 in the 1st and 21 in the 2nd

Dorell Wright drilled his first 3-pointer of the season in the final seconds of the 1st quarter, breaking a 23-23 tie and giving the Heat the lead heading into the 2nd.  He then missed consecutive jumpers, including a 3, in the first minute of the next quarter. 

James Jones came into the game early in the 2nd quarter, and hit his first shot, a 3-pointer that put the Heat up 29-25.  I'd like to get an answer from Coach Spoelstra as to why Jones doesn't get on the floor more...he is a great defender and every time he's been on the floor either in the preseason or in his limited regular season minutes he has been drilling treys.

For a team that shoots as well as the Suns have this season, they sure like to drive-n-dish a lot, and they are damn good at it.   Phoenix has to be one of the most athletic teams in the league. 

I'll wrap this up with a big criticism of Spoelstra.  When playing against a high-scoring team like the Suns, you cant have a lineup with Joel Anthony, Dorell Wright, Carlos Arroyo but no Wade or Beasley.  The Heat would open the quarter shooting only 1-of-10, quickly losing their 5-point lead and never getting it back. 

I could go on some more, but after watching that gross 4th quarter and considering it's almost 3am, I'm going to call it a night. 

Heat back at it tomorrow night in D.C. to play the revamped Wizards.  Tipoff is 7pm from the Verizon Center.  It will be the same story for me tomorrow as it was tonight because I'm covering the Panthers, so DVR is back in play.  Of course, I won't be watching until the World Series game is over, so it will be another long night of sports.  :o)