Luke Babbitt got off to a slow start for the Miami Heat.
He missed his first three shots from long distance, and the Heat as a team missed their first five, but then the Heat got... hot.
Miami made 9-14 three pointers to close the first half and used a 21-7 run in the second quarter to pull on top of the Suns 61-48 at halftime.
The Heat, who came in averaging just 101.4 points per game (28th in the league), feasted on a struggling Suns defense. Including the bloodletting tonight, Phoenix is giving up 119.1 points per game over their current 1-13 stretch.
Hassan Whiteside, who finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, scored 15 points in the third quarter as Miami maintained a comfortable lead.
The Suns actually pulled within 13 to start the fourth quarter, but never crept closer, as the Heat outscored Phoenix 26-11 to start the period and build their largest lead of 28 points.
Miami ended up cooling back down from three point range in the second half, going only 3-17... but still laid another 64 points on the Suns by virtue of a veritable layup drill.
If the Heat had kept hitting those shots the Suns would have probably lost by 40 again.
Former fan favorite Goran Dragic had 17 points and five assists, and the Heat got big efforts off the bench from Kelly Olynyk, Justise Winslow and Dwyane Wade.
Devin Booker did his best to keep the Suns in the game, pouring in a game high 31 points, but it was mostly a one man show.
T.J. Warren also chipped in 19 points and Marquese Chriss resembled a real basketball player for the second straight game in quite some time, but that was basically it.
Shaquille Harrison earned his 24 minutes, because evidently nobody else wanted them.
In a season where the Suns young players have been maddeningly inconsistent there has been at least one constant.
This team can’t play defense.
I think my favorite defensive lapse of the game involved Olynyk coasting uncontested through the lane for a windmill dunk... not on a fast break, but in a half court set.
At this point maybe the Suns are just demoralized and have a hard time giving the necessary effort on the defensive end of the court... I know I’m demoralized watching them.
Perhaps they’re just too collectively young to be coached.
Perhaps the coach in place can’t reach them.
Besides the indefensible defense there are always little foibles by the Suns that contribute to their undoing.
Tonight it was going 9-18 from the free throw line and getting bullied around on the glass...
And in the end it’s another blowout loss in another lost season for a once proud franchise.
But at least the Suns lottery odds improved... and another 19 year old player is the key to turning things around in no time flat. Yep, that’s the ticket.
Up next is another roadie at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night (6:00 PM MST).
Phoenix is now 2-18 in their last 20 games.