March 20, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Phoenix Suns small forward Grant Hill (33) looks to pass around Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
It's no wonder the the Miami Heat have won 14-straight at home. Down 10 points with about seven minutes left, the Heat came out of a timeout and looked like another team. They ramped up the defensive energy and went on a 17-0 run to put the Phoenix Suns away.
The Suns shot just 28% from the field in the fourth quarter after shooting 53% through three. Miami put on as impressive a defensive performance as I've seen all season.
Overall, it was a good game and just like a few weeks ago in Oklahoma City, the Suns had a chance to steal a road win over one of the league's best. You can look at a few blown lay ups from Robin Lopez and Channing Frye, but the reality is, the Heat had too much fire power when they decided to finally go full bore.
"The moral victory thing is long gone. We have to have wins. We put ourselves in a position to win the game and we let it slip away. Obviously, you've got to give them some credit. They made some plays down the stretch, but we also had an opportunity to make plays that we just didn't complete," Alvin Gentry said after the game.
"The biggest disappointment is that we did come up with stops and they got the ball back on the offensive rebound and that just can't happen in the guts of the game."
The Suns bench definitely gets a game ball.
Shannon Brown continues to play under control and Michael Redd and Robin Lopez mostly played well. Markieff Morris (12 points, four rebounds) had some horrible plays but also dazzled with a block on a one-on-three breakaway and followed that up with a three-point play. He played hard and tough and seemed to rise to the occasion with was a positive sign.
42 points overall for the bench who all were in the positive in the all important +/- category while the starters were all in the negative. The Heat are vulnerable but the ability to crank up the defense to close games is a pretty nice safety net to have.
The starters were led by 19 points from the ageless Grant Hill. Steve Nash had nine points and 10 assists. Only Channing Frye didn't contribute. He had a team-low two points in 25 minutes. It wasn't his night.
Moral victory or gut busting defeat?
Whatever. Tomorrow is the Magic.
Bonus stat of the night: The Heat were 13-19 from the line through the first three quarters and then 13-16 in the fourth.