Both teams went scoreless early, turning the ball over on about 3 sloppy possessions. That changed quickly into a three-point shootout that had the teams going back and forth from deep. The first six buckets of this ball game were all threes. Strus continued his excellence from beyond the arc as did Caleb Martin.
Miami’s defense was strong slowing down Phoenix after a very efficient start from the field. Duncan looked great coming off the bench hitting his three-point looks, as did Chris Silva who has transitioned right back into his old role.
For Phoenix, it was Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges who caused the most trouble with 13 points on the first. The Heat were able to jump to a 10 point lead for a second before Booker trimmed it to four to end the first quarter.
With Yurt on the bench briefly, Miami struggled to grab defensive boards that turned into second-chance buckets for Phoenix. After giving up a 9-0 run from the end of the first into the second, it was Caleb Martin who would snap the cold streak with yet another three-pointer.
Herro struggled to make looks, displaying some frustration but continued to shoot through it. Miami was able to sustain this with Duncan shooting 71% from three. Maybe coming off the bench works for Duncan?
On the other end, Mikal Bridges wreaked havoc slashing to the rim off of some great setup from Chris Paul.
With Duncan Robinson surging from three, and Herro breaking out of his cold streak Miami once again stole a 10 point lead. Yurt was really impressive in the first half, not only grabbing 9 boards but also facilitating with 7 assists. Miami built on its lead with Tyler absolutely jamming it down and continuing to attack the rim right after. Miami’s lead would balloon to 18 on an 8-0 run. Duncan continued his three-point assault helping set a franchise record for the Heat as the team scored 15 threes in the first half to take a 21 point lead into the half
15 first-half triples in all their glory pic.twitter.com/51B17UGiAC— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 9, 2022
Mikal Bridges scored the first eight points of the half for Phoenix to chip away at Miami’s lead. This caused the Heat to shift into a zone defense. But still, Bridges stayed aggressive and scored well. But Strus, Lowry, and Martin hit good looks to keep Miami comfortably ahead.
Phoenix would show signs of life with their impressive transition play, thanks to strong defense and offense from Devin Booker. Cam Johnson also came alive slightly. It didn’t help that Miami got out of rhythm slightly on offense, doing too much and dishing out some costly turnovers. The Suns would break out on an 8-0 run to end the quarter, keeping things interesting.
Still with Yurt and Lowry showcasing a phenomenal two-man game along with Herro and Duncan scoring the Heat would remain ahead by 19 heading into the fourth. The Suns stretched it into a 12-2 run into the fourth to make a push forcing Spo to put the majority of the starters in. Phoenix would cut down the lead to just 13.
Duncan hit two big threes to help stop the bleeding and let Miami regain their bearings. Herro also came alive again thanks to some phenomenal quarterback play by Kyle Lowry. Lowry had a double-double in this one and is so essential to Miami’s success. This allowed Miami to get back out to a 23 point lead.
Tyler Herro would slam it down once again for his 31st point, but he wouldn’t stop there continuing to slash for some difficult buckets. Lowry hit a huge shot from deep to force the dagger in and send in the Heat reserves effectively ending this game.
A huge win for Miami, who was once again without their two stars in Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.