After the Miami Heat started their West Coast road trip with an impressive win against the Portland Trail Blazers, their offense went cold after a hot start in the first quarter on the way to a 106-86 loss to the Phoenix Suns to fall to 28-26.
A 15-2 run by the Heat starters helped the visitors race out to a 22-11 lead five minutes into the first quarter. Duncan Robinson opened the game shooting red-hot with nine points during the run, while the team’s active defense forced turnovers and allowed them to score efficiently in transition.
Though Miami scored 34 points in the first quarter, what was once a 14-point lead was eventually whittled down to a tie at 42-42 with a Chris Paul 3-pointer in the second quarter, his first field goal of the game. Jevon Carter would then give the Suns their first lead of the game at 45-42 five minutes into the second quarter as part of a 24-8 run and they would never relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
A 13-5 run by Suns to end the third quarter, highlighted by a hard-driving Cameron Payne basket just before the buzzer, only padded their lead further but that hardly mattered when Jimmy Butler landed awkwardly and appeared to roll his ankle after a jump shot attempt. After hobbling to the bench, he returned to the game minutes later but wasn’t the same and the game was already decided by then anyway without much resistance from Miami — with a notably quiet night from Bam Adebayo with just 11 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Suns stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul were also quiet, combining for just 17 points, but their bench were the stars tonight with a 65-24 advantage over Miami’s reserves. Tyler Herro had 10 points and Goran Dragic had his moments sporadically and finished with 12 points, but rookie Precious Achiuwa was the only other Heat bench player to score (and he only had two points).
At the same time, the Heat were atrocious from long range, finishing 9-44 (20.5%). Incredibly, the Heat’s reserves combined to go 0-17 from 3-point range with Dragic responsible for seven attempts. The team as a whole mustered just 16 points in the second quarter and 14 in the final quarter — which isn’t going to get it done against any NBA team, let alone one of the best teams in the league.
Phoenix sweeps the season series from Miami with the victory, their first time since the 2006-07 season.
The Heat must turn it around quickly and will next play Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets at 10:00pm ET.