NBA: Heat 124, Suns 99: Better defensive effort leads to hotter offense

Miami sets club mark as 8 players score at least 1 three-pointer
2012-11-06T00:00:00Z NBA: Heat 124, Suns 99: Better defensive effort leads to hotter offenseThe Associated Press The Associated Press
November 06, 2012 12:00 am  • 

MIAMI - Offensive numbers to savor were everywhere for the Miami Heat on Monday night.

They thanked an upgraded defensive effort for that.

LeBron James had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and the Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 124-99 on Monday night. Chris Bosh finished with 18 points, Ray Allen had 15 and Mario Chalmers finished with his second 11-assist, one-turnover game of the young season for Miami (3-1), which is averaging 111.8 points in the early going.

"It's all geared to our defense," James said. "When we defend, we can do whatever we want offensively."

Which is why, when he took his first look at the stat sheet, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra quickly focused on two numbers - Phoenix shooting 39.8 percent, and Miami holding a 49-38 rebounding edge.

After struggling in those areas over the first three games, Spoelstra demanded change, and his team listened.

"I'll take those two things," Spoelstra said.

The Heat had eight different players make at least one three-pointer, a franchise record according to STATS LLC.

Shannon Brown led Phoenix with 18 points off the bench. Luis Scola had 15 points, Goran Dragic finished with 13 points and nine assists, and Marcin Gortat scored 12 for the Suns (1-3).

"For us, it didn't go too well," the Suns' Jared Dudley said. "For them, it went well."

Allen became the 24th player in NBA history to eclipse the 23,000-point mark when he made a free throw with 1:01 left in the third quarter.

"It's not that it means a big deal," Allen said of reaching another milestone. "It's a sign, a seal, a verification of everything I've done in my career."

The outcome was hardly a lock midway through the third.

Phoenix - even though the Suns were being handled on the glass and in the paint - was within nine early in the period after a basket by Gortat, and Scola connected on a drive with 6:34 left in the third to get the Suns within 75-65.

That's where Miami decided enough was enough, with a 23-6 run that decided everything.

Wade set up James and Chalmers for three-pointers that came 24 seconds apart, and the Heat were well on their way. Chalmers, Shane Battier and James - who had 10 points in the spurt - made threes later in the run, which was capped by Allen making a pair of free throws, the second of those being point No. 23,001 of his career.

Miami had 33 assists on 47 baskets, and even the Suns were impressed by that.

"I thought that was probably the most unselfish team I've ever played against since I've been in the NBA," Dudley said. "It was drive, kick, swing, penetrate, flare, and they were hitting everyone."

Up next

• Who: Suns at Bobcats

• When: 5 p.m. Wednesday

• TV: FSAZ

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