Heat Ruin Reunion in Phoenix, Beat Suns 103-95
Goran Dragic made his first appearance back in Phoenix since the trade, and the Miami Heat came away with a victory, 103-95. Tonight was a bit like the Suns High School Class Reunion, seeing Dragic, Gerald Green, and Amare Stoudemire back in town. Dragic compares to the ex-girlfriend, who you are still a little salty with since the breakup. Stoudemire is your good old friend that you are always looking forward to catching up with. That kid who was only your classmate for a little while but was the life of the party every weekend? That’s Gerald Green.
Dragic didn’t let the crowd get to him and started off the game with back-to-back three pointers from nearly the same spot on the court. For the Suns, Tyson Chandler got off to a hot start and looked like he was playing up to the high expectations they had for him coming into the season. He started off his night with a nice hook shot in the lane, keeping the defense honest. Chandler hasn’t been very aggressive with the ball in his hands this season, so this was nice to see right off the bat. Suns PG Ronnie Price missed tonight’s game, which allowed Archie Goodwin to get into the game earlier than usual. Goodwin looked under control with the ball tonight, showing off his passing skills with a nice dish to Leuer on a fast break. He also showed some patience on his drives, executing a great hesitation move for wide open layup. At the end of the first quarter, it looked like both teams were evenly matched for tonight’s game, ending the quarter with the Heat up just one point, 20-21.
Markieff Morris surprisingly entered the game to start the second quarter after not seeing the floor the past four games. Both teams traded baskets for the first half of the quarter until the game’s momentum shifted in favor of the Heat thanks to a huge Stoudemire block on Morris. That momentum saw the Heat go on a quick 7-0 run and it looked as if they were about to take control of the game. Brandon Knight was the only Sun in double figures by halftime with 10, while Tyson Chandler had the second most with six. The Heat brought a 53-40 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Suns started the second half looking focused and energized, looking to get themselves back into the game, and that is exactly what happened. The Suns put together an excellent 33 point quarter to get back into the game. Knight came out hot, finding Chandler on an alley-oop and then scoring five points in a row to cause a Miami timeout. Suns rookie Devin Booker decided to get involved too, and put up 11 points in a row in an exciting couple of minutes. Booker got every Suns fan in the building up on their feet in this stretch as the Suns went on a 19-2 run to take the lead. Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra took a wise time out to quiet the arena which really paid off, as the Heat went on their own 11-0 spurt to take a five point lead. Both teams traded hoops to round out the quarter and the Suns only trailed by four heading into the 4th.
Phoenix was not content taking the back seat in the game and letting it slip away, and came out firing to start the final quarter. Goodwin again made his presence felt early in the quarter, finding Mirza Teletovic on the fast break for a three pointer. Goodwin then went on to make back-to-back layups to give the Suns a three point lead with under nine minutes left to play. After very quiet second and third quarters, Dragic had a very smooth spin into the lane and lay-in (I miss that) followed by a three pointer to bring the Heat within just one point. The next Heat possession, Green hit a huge jumper from downtown to push them ahead by two. That stretch of possessions added up to a quick 8-0 Miami run which was enough to hold the Suns off for the rest of the night. The Heat took the victory by a final score of 103-95.
Knight led the way for the Suns with 26 points, four rebounds, and four assists. His back-court mate Devin Booker keeps showing signs of greatness throughout his rookie campaign, scoring 16 points and grabbing 6 rebounds, coming off his first career double-double last game. (Vintage) Dwayne Wade had a great night for the Heat, scoring 27 points on 9-14 shooting from the field. Our old friends Dragic and Green had solid nights as well, combining for 43 points and 10 assists.
It was nice to see Goodwin get into the game early and play good basketball tonight. He finished with nine points, four rebounds, and four assists during his 13 minutes of play. The best part of Goodwin’s stat line is the zero turnovers, especially because he was handling the ball often tonight in the backup point guard role.
Booker’s 11 point burst in 3rd quarter was a lot of fun to watch. He showed every asset of his offensive game in that quick stretch, including a three-point-play and a four-point-play. He also hit a mid-range jumper and took it strong to the paint for a layup. This kid can do it all on offense, I am extremely optimistic about his career as a pro.
The Suns have a few nights off before they head to Indiana to take on the Pacers Tuesday, January 12th. Tip-off is set for 5:00 MST.