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Phoenix at Miami

Suns hold off Heat rally to win 12th in a row

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

MIAMI -- Miami Heat coach Pat Riley has nothing but high praise for Steve Nash, the NBA's two-time reigning MVP.

"He may be the best player in the league," Riley said.

Riley's opinion was backed up Wednesday night, when Nash hit a 3-pointer with 2:20 left to stop a huge Miami run and help lift the Phoenix Suns to their 12th straight victory, 99-89.

The win turned out to be a struggle for Phoenix, which wasted most of a 25-point fourth-quarter lead.

"We took care of it," Nash said. "We lost all our momentum in the fourth quarter. That happens -- but we won the game."

Shawn Marion had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Nash had 18 points and 11 assists and Boris Diaw scored 13 points for the Suns, who have the second-longest winning streak in franchise history and finished a road trip 5-0 for the first time since April 1998.

"We should have opened the game and closed it," Marion said. "This is their home court. They're not an NBA team if they just sit down."

Alonzo Mourning had 19 points and Udonis Haslem added 14 for Miami, which played without Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade and fell to 9-12.

Phoenix led 88-63 with 9:52 left, before the Heat scored 17 straight points and went on to outscore the Suns 22-2 over a 6½ -minute stretch to draw within five. But Nash's shot from the top of the key ended that burst, and sent the Heat to their seventh loss in 11 home games this season.

"Nash makes the whole thing work," Riley said. "We got something going in the fourth quarter and made it exciting, and he makes the 3 to really break our back. ... That team is a very good team. They belong at the top."

The Heat's rally came primarily with only one starter, Jason Kapono, on the floor. Kapono had 11 points during the run, including a 3-pointer with 2:40 left that got Miami within 90-85. But Nash answered that one 20 seconds later with his 3, and the Suns would hang on from there.

"The league MVP," Heat forward James Posey said. "He had a big 3 there."

Amare Stoudemire had 12 points, while Leandro Barbosa and James Jones each scored 10 for Phoenix.

Kapono finished with 13 points, while Robert Hite --one of the key Heat players in their big run -- scored 11 and Dorell Wright added 10.

"You've got to give a good effort against them because it's like a track meet out there," Hite said. "We gave it a great effort at the end. A couple more shots go down, a couple more chances, and it's a different story."

The undermanned Heat were without their two biggest stars -- Wade had wisdom teeth removed Tuesday, and O'Neal missed his 17th game as he continues to recover from surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.

For most of the game, it looked like even they wouldn't be enough to help the Heat against an onslaught like Phoenix's.

The Suns connected on 10 shots from 3-point range and trailed only once -- 2-0 after Heat guard Jason Williams opened the game with two free throws.

"We played pretty well, had a good lead, thought the game was over and kind of shut it down," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You have to give them credit. They didn't quit. They played good and hard. That's a trademark of a Pat Riley team."

The Suns took a 16-point lead into halftime and stretched it to 84-63 entering the final quarter. Phoenix then had the first four points of the fourth, before the Heat began their comeback try.

"We weren't going to give up like that," Posey said. "We tried to give ourselves a chance. Just got in too deep of a hole."

Notes

  • Phoenix's franchise record for consecutive wins is 14, set in December 1992.
  • Miami F Antoine Walker, who was 0-for-3 in 10 first-half minutes, did not play in the second half.
  • The Suns shot 53 percent in the first quarter, which is the worst they've shot in the opening 12 minutes during this 12-game winning streak.
  • Wade was not flying with the Heat to Washington on Wednesday night and isn't expected to play when Miami visits the Wizards on Friday. He could play Saturday when Miami hosts Memphis.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The best player in the NBA? Pat Riley thinks so as Steve Nash provides a double-double.  (AP)
The best player in the NBA? Pat Riley thinks so as Steve Nash provides a double-double. (AP)
Scoreboard
Phoenix (15-6) «2630281599
Miami (9-12) 1921232689
PHO:S. Marion 23 Pts
PHO:S. Marion 13 Reb
PHO:S. Nash 11 Ast
MIA:A. Mourning 19 Pts
MIA:J. Posey 7 Reb
MIA:G. Payton 3 Ast
Players of the Game
MiamiPhoenix

A. Mourning

S. Marion
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
195023132

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Phoenix
B. Diaw, SF376-80-0114213
S. Marion, SF3610-141-2132323
S. Nash, PG355-96-6311118
R. Bell, SG333-111-34029
A. Stoudemire, C293-66-630312
L. Barbosa, PG274-110-023510
K. Thomas, C191-22-26044
J. Jones, SF152-65-642010
J. Rose, SG40-30-00010
M. Banks, PG40-10-00000
E. Piatkowski, SGDid Not Play
S. Marks, PFDid Not Play
J. Jones, SFDid Not Play
P. Burke, CDid Not Play
Totals 34-7121-2546222199
 47.9%84.0% 
Miami
D. Wright, SF345-120-063210
J. Kapono, SF294-102-351313
U. Haslem, PF296-92-272014
A. Mourning, C227-125-650319
J. Williams, PG211-66-61208
J. Posey, SF272-52-37256
R. Hite, SG254-92-421311
G. Payton, PG172-50-02324
M. Doleac, C130-30-05010
C. Quinn, PG112-80-10224
A. Walker, PF100-30-01000
E. Barron, C30-10-00000
S. O'Neal, CDid Not Play
D. Wade, PGDid Not Play
W. Simien, PFDid Not Play
Totals 33-8319-2541162189
 39.8%76.0% 
Other Games
Char 101 Final
Cle 104
Det 90 Final
Ind 101
Bos 101 Final
Phi 81
Den 91 Final
Wash 120
Tor 91 Final
Orl 84
Mil 95 Final
NJ 108
Atl 82 Final
NY 94
Port 85 Final
Mem 79
Min 82 Final
SA 95
Sea 84 Final
Chi 99
LAL 101 Final
Dal 110
Utah 105 Final
LAC 86