Wade scored a season-high 43 points, and the Miami Heat beat the Suns 107-92 Friday night in the first matchup between the teams since the Shaquille O'Neal for Shawn Marion blockbuster trade last February.
The Wade Effect
The Heat are a different team when Dwyane Wade is on the court and Friday night's win over the Suns proved no different. Take a look:
Heat pts/48 min
Heat FG pct
Neither O'Neal nor Marion was much of a factor in the game dominated by the unstoppable Wade. O'Neal scored 12 points and Marion had 10.
"I was on a mission to bounce back from my last game," said Wade, referring a season-low 12 points against Portland on Wednesday night in an embarrassing 106-68 loss. "My shot was there and I just wanted to focus tonight. I focused all the way through tonight. I haven't been doing that [recently]."
The Suns played without All-Star guard Steve Nash, sidelined with a right thigh contusion, sustained Wednesday night in a collision with Minnesota rookie Kevin Love. Nash's absence was evident, as the Suns had difficulty controlling the ball.
"It made a big difference that their motor wasn't there," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Wade, who had an uncharacteristically poor performance against Portland, shooting only 5-of-12, had a blistering first half against Phoenix, collecting 22 points on 8-of-13 from the floor. He also hit all six of his free throws. He finished 15-of-24 from the field, including two of three 3-pointers, and 11-of-12 from the foul line.
In leading the Heat to a 57-44 halftime lead, Wade kept pouring in the points against Bell, considered one of the NBA's top defenders.
Wade also had a lot of help from two of his backcourt partners, Chalmers and Cook. Between them, they hit nine of 12 field goal attempts.
The Suns, meanwhile, appeared completely out of sync offensively without Nash. They committed 14 turnovers -- one more than they had in the entire game against Minnesota -- leading to 13 Miami points. The only player to show some spark was Barbosa, who had 11 points. The Suns wound up with 21 turnovers and Miami turned them into 19 points. Miami had only eight turnovers for four Phoenix points.
"We never really could get in the flow," O'Neal said. "In the first eight possessions, we had six turnovers. Once we get rid of our turnover problems on a consistent basis, we'll be all right. We've been very careless with the ball."
Marion downplayed his return to Phoenix for the first time in 9 1/2 months.
"We got a good win," he said. "We just rode his [Wade's] coattails."
At one point in the first quarter, the Heat, who were beaten 106-68 by Portland, led 27-10. The Suns kept throwing the ball away, committing eight turnovers in the period. The Heat reached 68 against Phoenix with seven minutes left in the third period on a slam by Wade.
"We allowed those guys to get into a rhythm," Phoenix coach Terry Porter said. "They didn't have any resistance from our end, and we didn't do a good job of reading situations. All in all a very poor job."
The irrepressible Wade produced 14 points in the third quarter for a total of 36. Throughout the game, he hit a variety of shots -- jumpers, dunks, 3-pointers, drives -- that befuddled the Suns' defense.
Miami built its lead to 19 points, 81-62, late in the third, but the Suns closed the period with an 8-0 run on 3-pointers by Barbosa and Bell, and a driving layup by Barbosa, slicing the deficit to 11, 81-70. The Suns never got closer than 10 in the final period.
Ex-Suns player James Jones, now with Miami, has not played this season because of a ruptured tendon in his right wrist. ... The Heat also were without Dorell Wright (left knee surgery), while the Suns -- in addition to Nash -- were missing Alando Tucker (arthroscopic surgery left knee). ... Rookie Michael Beasley was not in Miami's starting lineup for the first time this season, replaced by Joel Anthony, who was making his first start. ... Wade has at least one steal in 15 consecutive games. ... Haslem has at least five rebounds in 73 straight games.