Miami Heat 124, Phoenix Suns 99 -- No chance

The Suns rarely used to play games like this during the Nash era, but tonight’s contest was essentially over before it began.

Sure, you play the game because you never know when Cardinals over New England will happen, but a Suns team that got outscored by 35 points in the final 20 minutes last night in Orlando didn’t stand much of a chance against a rested Miami Heat squad.

Behind a beautiful offensive effort by the Heat’s Big Three, the expected happened on Monday night as Miami raced out to a 10-2 lead and never trailed, thrashing the Suns by a score of 124-99.

”For us, it didn’t go too well,” Jared Dudley said. ”For them, it went well.”

The game felt like a blowout from the opening tip, but the Suns actually only trailed by 10 midway through the third quarter, and as the Magic would tell you that’s plenty of time for a game that close to shift.

However, for the second straight night in Florida that’s where it all fell apart. The Heat promptly reeled off a 13-0 run in little more than two minutes and the rout was on.

Miami eviscerated the Suns all game offensively as they shot 54.7 percent as a team. The Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined for 63 points on 63.4 percent shooting, and every Heat starter was at least a plus 19 (led by LBJ’s plus 25) in a game dominated by Miami’s stars.

The Suns were particularly susceptible to the Miami pick-and-roll, as late rotations either led to an easy hoop inside or an open three, culminating in a 15-for-26 shooting night from deep for the Heat. Ray Allen found himself open for a trey in the corner on three separate occasions, and each time the Suns learned why he’s not a guy you want to leave open.

Phoenix perhaps could have played those pick-and-rolls better, but in reality this was never a game the Suns had a realistic chance to win. Even when they cut the lead to single digits early in the second half, you could just feel a Miami run coming on to put the game away.

Their ball movement was crisp and their shot making was on target, and when considering the talent differential all the Suns could do was hope for an off night from the Heat. That didn’t happen.

“I thought that was probably the most unselfish team I’ve ever played against since I’ve been in the NBA,” Dudley told reporters. “It was drive, kick, swing, penetrate, flare, and they were hitting everyone. Even when someone had a good shot they would make an extra pass for someone to have an even better shot.”

Added head coach Alvin Gentry, “They worry about what’s happening with their team, not with what’s happening with individual stats. That in itself makes them great because they are virtually impossible to guard. We get in rotation against them they always try to find the open guy and like I said, adding Ray Allen to the mix didn’t hurt at all.”

In year three of their Big Three experiment, the Heat are a joy to watch for anybody who appreciates ball movement, and it’s almost not fair that they can surround James, Wade and Bosh with spacers like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis in the position-less basketball they play. More conventional (not to mention less talented) teams like the Suns have no chance.

The Suns should be proud of the way they fought to make this a game early in the second half despite only shooting 39.8 percent for the contest and getting outboarded by 11. Luis Scola was solid once again with 15 and eight and Shannon Brown led the bench with 18, but Michael Beasley threw up another stinker with seven points and one board on 3-for-13 shooting against his former team.

Whereas the way they lost the Magic game was a big blow, not many teams are going to beat the Heat when they are clicking like they were tonight.

The occasion of the blowout allowed Diante Garrett (active because Jermaine O’Neal was not with the team after a death in the family) to play his first NBA game and score his first NBA bucket. Luke Zeller hit all three of his shots to score his first seven NBA points while Garrett made the basket and dished a pair of assists. Kendall Marshall also recorded his first two dimes in the league, but the first-round pick has yet to get on the scoreboard.

The Suns will face a slightly more winnable game in their road trip finale Wednesday in Charlotte, as they aim to prevent this early seemingly easy part of their schedule from becoming a complete disaster.

Although tonight was no doubt disappointing, a middling Suns team that has yet to find itself got crushed by an NBA champion primed to repeat. Elston Turner surely has some work to do with his defense, but when Miami’s offense is flowing like it was tonight there’s not much the Suns can do to stop it.

And 1

Marcin Gortat (12 points and 13 boards tonight) was asked by Polish journalist Lukasz Ceglinski about the constant questions he gets about being something of a Steve Nash creation, but in a translated interview Gortat said he feels a bit “underrated” when that topic is broached.

“It is not that easy, many players who played with Nash did not have such achievements,” he said. “Not everything Steve touches turns to gold.”

  • Luka

    It’s over folks. The time to tank is underway. It’s only a matter of time before Gentry is canned. I’m not even going to bother analyzing this team, they are awful in every department.

    The Suns have become a joke of an organization. It’s becoming sad to watch. I’m counting the days until Sarver sells the team. Expect attendance at games to get worse.

  • John Devance

    every team goes through a rebuilding phase.Its the suns turn now.If people stop attending games because the team is losing they were nvr true fans to begin with.Fairweather

  • Luka

    @John There are a lot of fairweather fans in this state sadly. I’ve been a Suns fan forever, so I’ll never abandon ship. My problem stems from Sarver being the owner.

    Can we really expect this franchise to get anywhere?

  • shazam

    john the suns had layered age groupings and were set up to maybe have to re-build for one year..instead we gave away talent and sold draft picks…we are now in our 3rd down year with no clarity in site..rewarding sarver by buying tickets just isn’t everyones cup of tea..that doesnt make them fair weather..they are pragmatic..and having babby (the biggest liar in nba history doesnt help)…babby saying something nice about something is the kiss of death…ask nash /hill/lopez etc….dont read in to this that i think we should have kept them..they just arent “the sun the moon and the stars”

  • Luka

    Lon Babby is an attorney, he’s the perfect spin doctor to do Sarver’s bidding.

  • DBreezy

    There’s nothing wrong with a rebuilding phase, as long as management is patient/calculated and sticks to their plan. That’s what I fear with this front office as they haven’t shown much in that department both in terms of patience and accountability.

    The big free agent fish are gone and no one of franchise import is looking to get traded. The draft isn’t as deep as the prior one, and there’s that pesky issue of the franchise not drafting well over the last 9 years or so. Easy fixes are unlikely, so they probably should just quietly ride this out to wherever it takes them while trying to pick up good young assets along the way.

    Iow, I really don’t want to hear about them trading a bunch of stuff for Rudy Gay or Josh Smith as the new cornerstone or taking on a Corey Maggette type to bolster the anemic bench. That garbage has to end, no matter how many fans squeal in the interim. You don’t have to tank, but you do have to be smart as both Houston and Utah have shown. You could also put New Orleans in there as they didn’t try and tank for Davis, they got Sterned and Gordoned into it.

  • DBreezy

    I see the article got Beasley’s stinker vs. Lebron, but missed that the Heat thought so much of Scola that they were fine having Shane Battier guard him-and by and large it worked.

  • Luka

    I think they need to showcase Beasley, and look to move him and some draft picks for a cornerstone piece down the line, and continue tanking. Rudy Gay would be a great acquisition for this team. Then tank your way to a quality PF in the draft.

    Gentry says the spacing needs to get better. I think Beasley is spaced out enough coach.

  • Scott

    So who do you think will be the Suns’ high pick in the draft, assuming they don’t trade that pick away? :)

    My early projection is James McAdoo.

  • http://none Mikel

    Everbody praised the suns moves in the offseason but they were the wrong moves, we signed beasley to a 3yr deal when all we had to do was promise O.j Mayo a starting job and we would have signed him on the same two yr deal Dallas signed him to w/ the 2nd yr not even guaranteed, We would’ve had a starting lineup of Dragic,Mayo,Dudley,Scola,Gortat…bench Telfair,Brown,Johnson,Morris,O’neal…..What do u guys think?????

  • http://none Mikel

    Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of teams dont know what they are doing…Mayo dropped 32 tonight n Beasley 7…enough said…Suns hit me up on twitter @Mikel_ hAZ ill tell you what moves to make!!!!!

  • Luka

    Gortat, Scola, and Dragic are keepers. Get rid of everyone else. Markieff Morris is managing to play worse than Frye this year somehow.

  • Elviro (Italy)

    oh my god how we are fickle!
    before the season moves all happy for the company!
    You lose with Miami (Miami with not with poorer league …) and everything goes wrong!
    When it comes to project need to be patient!
    He would not talk about the project if we had won with Miami: we were already a reality!
    There are good things: Dragic, Gortat, Scola;
    There are new things ups and downs: Beasley;
    There are old things that are being confirmed fluctuating Dudley;
    There are promises to wait: Morris, Marshall;
    I do not like Sarver, I do not like this company but I think it takes a little patience!
    We hope that can grow as soon as possible but our problem is the absence of a strong player in the role of guard that is where we want the top player!
    Dudley struggles and continues to starve, he is a good 3 to the bench, do you play or Brown Wesley Johnson in the role that is their role at least see how they respond in the field and evaluate them.
    Dudley is twenty points a night and then for ten games puts 5: can not be an owner but only a good store!
    For the moment, let’s see how it goes expect: if things do not go there is always a market or the lottery …..!’ll Have to wait still a lot that’s for sure!

  • Serek

    I guess they couldn’t promise Mayo the starting job (if that’s what he wanted) because it was promised to Dudz, who sadly is a dud to start the season.

    And Markieff is playing worse than himself at this point last season.

    Anyway, I think they didn’t even have time to review the Orlando loss and falling to Heat on a back-to -back after such a loss is not really a surprise. The guys just have to come together, that’s all. It’s not like this team didn’t have problems with slow starts, avoiding mid-game defensive/offensive lapses and closing games last season, when Nash was still here.

  • Sailing_ship

    I don’t hate the company but I think Alvin Gentry should put Dudley into the bench. Alvin should put anyone into the bench if he do not stay sharp.

  • Sillmarillion

    Scola and Gortat are playing well, Dragic is okay also (still, he is no Nash), but other than that there are no useful players on this team.
    And that’s even kind of funny, because they wanted to rebuild around young guys and now it seems that Scola and Gortat gonna carry this team…

  • Jeremiah

    Mayo is playing great, but he will come down to earth. Not saying I wouldn’t rather have Mayo than Dudley in the starting lineup, Mayo won’t be shooting anywhere near 67% from 3 like he has been through 4 games.

  • DBreezy


    Assuming that all of the draft prospects stay at their projected level or better, I’d say your guess of McAdoo is pretty good unless they get the #1 pick. The team has played it pretty safe draft pick wise with all GM’s under Sarver-upside guys need not apply. That’s a big plus for McAdoo and Zeller.

    I think they’d be thrilled if they landed Shabazz, but will be scared to death of guys like Noel, Gobert, Austin, etc. That’s despite paying for a whole bunch of development guys and despite the likelihood of Gortat moving on in free agency.

  • bk

    It is a good loss to show where they are. It is time for the coaches to try different lineup experiment now. Only Dragic and Gortat should stay as starters now.

  • Sillmarillion

    @ bk: And Scola!

  • Ninja

    First, can we all admit buying slightly damaged players hoping some desert sun will revitalize their game doesn’t work. Beasley is playing, well, just like he has in the past. That is why he has been moved over and over. We payed dearly for him when no one else was interested. Now we have years of him under-performing like he has in the past. Ultimately, they will try to package him in a trade and get another damaged player in return. Stop with the island of the miss-fit toys (Warrick, Beasley, Turkoglu and to some degree Dudley). When one our best players is an amnesty guy, that’s trouble. Houston has shown, when you are bad, clear the decks, get a true super star and build around him. Time to clear the decks.

  • Ty-Sun

    The Suns have not “payed dearly” for Beasley. He’s due $11.75 mil during his first two years in Phoenix and his 3rd year is NOT guaranteed so they can cut him loose after next year if he eventually doesn’t turn it around. I’m not saying that he will turn it around but his signing wasn’t a tragedy if he doesn’t.

    It’s way too early to panic BUT if things don’t start to come together around the 20 game point of the season then some changes are definitely in order.

    If Dudley continues to under-perform and Brown continues to outscore him, they need to swap spots in the rotation. If Johnson continues to suck, Tucker should get more playing time AND Garrett should be given more time at the 2 with perhaps Dudley playing at the backup 3. I’m really surprised at how poorly Morris and Telfair have played this season so – at the 20 game mark – maybe you start Dragic, Brown, Beasley, Scola and Gortat with Marshall, Garrett, Dudley/Tucker, Zeller and O’Neal off the bench. This certainly isn’t ideal but at the 20 game mark if things haven’t improved then what do the Suns have to loose?

  • Vrh

    They need some time and space for finding best position for everyone. I think that this starting team is not keeping up with Dragic and his tempo. I haven`t seen any corner 3s from fast-brakes that are typical for Goran`s transitions. I believe that Dudley should be on 3 not bench… Beasley as a player who needs to improve and prove himself, shouldn`t start the game. So there is opening for Brown who would gladly run the floor with Goran and Dudley. There will be also less pressure on PG position.

  • AL

    Phoenix should try to trade for Rudy Gay!!! Kieff, Johnson, Dudley, Morris, Telfair plust 2 or 3 picks for Gay and Josh Selby!!!

  • David

    Slow down we’re 4 games deep with a team with 8 new players. Look at the lakers. They’re obviously gonna need time to gel before we assess them as a “tanking” team. Are the lakers “tanking” right now? No. Slow down and wait till 25-30 games deep to panic or talk about top 5 picks.

  • Scott

    @Vrh -

    Since the summer, before training camp, I’ve been calling for Beasley maybe to start – for political reasons – but then get subbed out early, so Dudley moves to the 3 and Brown comes in at 2.

    In the second unit, have Morris at C, Beasley at 4, Johnson at 3, Garrett at 2, and Marshall at PG. If Marshall can’t hack it yet, plug Telfair in.

    In my mind, aside from winning, the Suns have some other goals for this season. They need to find out if Beasley and Johnson can play, for one. For another, they need to see what they’ve got with Marshall, Garrett, and Zeller.

    I don’t see Telfair returning next season, unless both Marshall and Garrett fail to pan out. The two younger players need to be given some court time to develop and show their stuff.

  • Tony


    I wasn’t in favor of any of the Suns roster moves, with the exception of the Scola signing. I wasn’t convinced before, and I’m not convinced now, that Dragic is the right pg for the Suns future. He’s a solid player, but I don’t see him making the players around him better like Nash did or CP3 does. That’s not to say that Dragic should be judged based on those elite players, but he just hasn’t shown on a consistent basis that he can lead his team and make his teammates better.

    I opposed dumping Hill in favor of Beasley too. Beasley has talent yes, but he’s also never shown any consistency and was one of the worst in terms of efficiency last season. I also opposed trading Lopez. Especially to trade him for Wesley Johnson and a lottery protected 1st round pick was a very poor trade for the Suns. Then I opposed the resigning of Shannon Brown, whom is just a selfish player. Lastly, I never favored drafting Kendall Marshall. This guy is not likely to even be in the NBA in 5 years. He has no athleticism, no shooting ability, plays no defense, and his only positive is his passing ability.

    So, let’s not pretend as if most who paid attention to the Suns moves this off-season were in favor of those roster changes. In fact, every national basketball analyist picked the Suns in the bottom of the NBA.

    Look folks, this is what happens to a sports franchise when it is owned and led by incompetents, beginning with the most incompetent, Sarver. Hiring Babby and Blanks, both of whom had no previous experience in their respective positions, just sped up the decline of this franchise.

    My question for everyone is when will all the delusional Suns fans, i.e., Sun Also Loser, reach the point where even they refuse to put their money into Sarver’s wallet by continuing to pay for Suns tickets and other Suns gear?

  • Anonymous

    The whole team is horrible. I’ve been a suns fan forever, but now it’s time to hop onto a bandwagon. The only decent players are Scola, Dragic, and Gortat.

  • john

    The haters should slow their roll. The season is young, and 40% of the Suns’ starting lineup is playing nowhere near their potential.

    I don’t think many reasonable fans thought this was going to be a playoff year, but some of you are acting like the #1 pick is a sure thing. This 1-3 could very easily have been 2-2.

  • shazam

    when our best player is an amnesty guy it spells trouble….hahahahaha @ ninja …funniest line of the season

  • Red

    This is not a bad time, but it needs some more time than other teams to gel. Is anything expecting that we’re gonna reach the playoffs with two fingers up the nose?

    There’s a good core of players in Gortat, Dragic and Scola and it’s likely that Beasley and Dudley will do ok too. The bench isn’t great, but you still have a Brown, and if he picks up his game you have a decent player in Morris, Johnson and also Telfair. Nothing shocking, but nothing too bad.

    Don’t forget that losing Frye for the season isn’t exactly good news either. He’s no 20/10 player, but still a great player to have had on the side.

    Although Dudley will never be a fantastic player, he should get out of his slump before too soon.

    I do have a lot of doubts with Gentry though, but we’re still very early in the season – a few wins and the morale is up and if you’re around 50% win loss you are in with a shot of the playoffs.

  • Scott

    One side benefit to the slow start this year: there’s more suspense than usual about the outcome of the upcoming game against Charlotte. ;)

  • Scott

    On Robin Lopez:

    Going into Wednesday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers that will be televised on ESPN from New Orleans Arena, Lopez is the Hornets’ second-leading scorer with a 14.3 average. In last Saturday’s 89-82 victory against the Bulls, Lopez made seven-of-10 shots for 16 points and had a team-high four blocks and grabbed seven rebounds.

    In his four seasons with Suns, Lopez never averaged more than 8.4 points a game. But he has scored in double figures for the Hornets in two of three games, including a 19-point performance against Utah last Friday at the Arena.

  • Sillmarillion

    And still he grabs no rebounds and rarely blocks. He is low, I’m glad the Suns got rid of him.
    Talking about centers: Why don’t Dragic and Gortat run the PnR more often? It’s such an effective weapon, Dragic is a good passer and Gortat one of the best PnR players in the league!?

  • Troy

    Is it just me or does anyone else hate Beasy’s body language? He looks like hes tired, dont care, too relaxed, and getting smoked by LBJ is koo. He doesn’t run hard, he doesnt cut well, im soo disappointed with him as much as I hyped him up. Dudz….has never and will never be a legit starter, i still do not understand why SB is not starting. Someone needs to take control of this team, and I thought it would be Beasy, but now he looks like hes a deer in headlights just going through the motions.

  • Scott

    @Sill -

    Dragic said in a recent interview that the spacing is still bad for the Suns on offense. He’d like to pass more, but he’s finding few openings.

    (Did you see the part of the quote where Robin made 4 blocks and 7 rebounds?)

  • Scott

    @Troy -

    As for Beasley … people are who they are. He’s big, talented, and athletic, but has a low motor.

  • http://none Mikel

    Not saying Mayo is kobe bryant but hes a hell of alot better than dudley n brown for that matter! Who ever decided to go with dudley instead of Mayo is retarded!!! Soo i guess that makes Gentry, Blanks,Babby,Sarver All Freakin retarded!!!

    • Michael Schwartz

      It’s not necessarily that simple. I’m sure the Suns would agree that Mayo is the best player of that trio. However, there is an opportunity cost to any acquisition, and that acquisition would mean the Suns would not have max cap space if he was due guaranteed money next year. I’m not privy to all the details of those negotiations, but I believe it was reported that he wanted a long-term deal to sign with Phoenix. If he would have signed for one year here, obviously that was a huge mistake, but it wasn’t worth it to sign Mayo and box yourself into a team that’s still barely fighting for a playoff spot.

  • john

    Agreed, Michael. Mayo isn’t the type of guy the Suns need to bet their future on. Those guys are few and far between, and I think that the idea that there are haves and have nots in the NBA is something Suns fans need to grasp. For so long the Suns have been haves, due to some good decisions and some good luck (would any reasonable person have believed you if you told them in 2004 that Steve Nash was going to be a 2-time MVP and lead the most explosive offense in history for half a decade?).

    The 20-year run the Suns had (with a couple of poor seasons sprinkled in there) was remarkable for a mid-market team, but what goes around comes around. There aren’t that many great basketball players on this planet, and there are more than enough big market teams to gobble up those players without even leaving scraps for the little guys.

    Truth is, it will take some good decision-making, but also quite a bit of luck to get the next Johnson/Barkley/Nash/Amar’e. But I’m still just as much of a fan in the mean time (and no, I would never boycott the arena out of spite).

  • Jerri

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