The Phoenix Suns defeated the Miami Heat 118-105 Monday night after losing two games in a row. It wasn’t without incident, as Grayson Allen left the game with an ankle injury and Phoenix was outscored 31-18 in the fourth quarter. The team, who shot 55.7% from the field through three quarters and 40% from deep, went 7-of-24 in Q4 and 4-of-15 from three-point range. Sheesh.
Averaging 8.1 points in his last eight games, Eric Gordon banged through five threes Monday night, while adding five assists and four rebounds. HIs 23 points off of the bench was the high mark fo the Suns.
With Kevin Durant adding 20 points, Devin Booker having 20, and Bradley Beal (with a proper-fitting mask) scoring 19, the Suns spread the ball around and kept the offense even when up by 20+. Forcing 11 turnovers and 8 blocked shots, the Suns' defense kept the Heat in check holding them to a 39.3 FG% for the game.
The win make the Suns 27-20 on the season and extended the Heat losing streak to seven games.
The recipe for success for the Suns in the first quarter was taking care of the ball and spreading the ball around. With 0 turnovers in the first quarter and seven players contributing to the 31-25 lead entering the second, it looked like the Suns learned from their mistakes in the previous two games.
Drew Eubanks and Bradley Beal (with his mask on) combined for 17 points in the first quarter, behind eight assists as a team. Noted that this Heat team was antsy for a win and would do anything to get the crowd into it early, the Suns held their own, negating the Heat from going on any runs.
Second-quarter slumps looked like a thing of the past as the Suns continued to pile on the Heat with a 13-0 run, running their lead up to 14.
Kevin Durant knocks down the middy over two defenders to cap a 13-0 run by the Suns pic.twitter.com/YyHSwVwbsE— Suns Nation (@SunsNationCP) January 30, 2024
The momentum shifted slightly to the Heat with Beal missing super easy shots. It had to be the mask.
Josh Okogie's great defense and physical play, adding an and-1 and a corner made three, let the starters know that the lead was in safe hands.
Maintaining the lead throughout the second quarter, the Suns bench provided another lift to the lead with 28 total points at the five-minute mark. With Booker coming back to add a quick five points and a weak-side block, the Suns closed out the half strong leading 62-49.
Book with the nice block on Rozier pic.twitter.com/7qwSY8lrd2— Cage (@ridiculouscage) January 30, 2024
Chances for the Heat to conjure up a run were present to begin the third quarter, but the Suns were able to knock down buzz-killing threes, behind Booker and Beal.
The rim was unfriendly to the Heat, having opportunities at the rim, but nothing was bouncing in. This allowed the Suns to go up 79-59, and there wasn’t a single start on the Suns team chasing 50 or 60 points either. It was evenly spread out with Durant, Beal, Booker, Eubanks, and Eric Gordon all reaching double-digit point totals at the six-minute mark in the third.
Sensing the urgency from the Heat to climb back into the game, the Suns did not settle for threes or hold the ball. The effort to take the best shot while using most of the shot clock allowed the Suns to jump out to a 98-72 lead entering the fourth quarter.
With one last chance to gain any traction, the Heat came out of the gates in the fourth quarter knocking down shots, but the Suns again moved the ball finding wide-open stars to halt a Heat run. With Jusuf Nurkic tipping the ball out on misses, the Heat had a hard time inching closer.
With every missed shot, it was nice to have an Okogie put-back.
Those extra possessions that Nurkic and Okogie helped guide the Suns to a 118-105 victory over the Heat.
Phoenix pops up to Brooklyn to face Mikal Bridges and the Nets. Will the fans at Barclay’s embrace Durant’s return? Tune in on Wednesday to find out.