Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
The Miami Heat jumped out quick in this one, scoring on a dump-down to Chris Bosh in the first 15 seconds of the game. The Suns never got closer than they were at that point, ultimately falling, 124-99.
It was Miami's highest-scoring game of the season, which is definitely saying something now that they've topped the 115-point mark three times in four games.
The Heat have put their stamp on this season so far by proving they don't care about individual statistics, and this was a game that drove that home. LeBron James finished his second game in four with just one assist, meaning Mario Chalmers was able to drop his second 11-assist game of the season.
There's a lot of camaraderie forming around these guys, and it seems like it's going to take a hell of a lot to beat them in a seven-game series.
Now that I've jumped to those conclusions after just four games, let's take a serious look at the game that just happened and figure out what role each part of this Miami team played in this win over the Suns.
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers
Props definitely go out to Mario Chalmers in this game. He was immaculate offensively Monday night with very few Chalmers-esque errors.
He led the game in assists, dropping 11 dimes for the second time this season, to go along with nine points (all off three-pointers), four rebounds, three steals and a block.
There wasn't a lot to complain about with Chalmers. He did make some mistakes early on, trying to drive into the chest of Marcin Gortat for one, which led to a big ugly block, but for most of the game, he was level-headed and made good decisions.
Final Grade: A
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade came storming out of the gate in this one, scoring seven points in the opening four minutes of the game, and from then on out, he was on cruise control.
Wade was able to coast to 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting, three rebounds, six assists and two steals.
It was an efficient night, but it was also one where he was defensively impressive and active, constantly moving and bothering his man. Jared Dudley was able to score just three times, only one of which came with Wade guarding him.
If Wade keeps having defensive games like this, Miami's problems are going to evaporate quicker than a mirage in the Mojave.
Final Grade: A
Small Forward: Shane Battier
It was obvious from the start that Shane Battier was feeling good in this one. He was getting around screens (or through them) and rotating out to close on open shooters.
Basically, Battier came out and did what they needed him to do, helping Miami dominate on defense as the team allowed just 99 points, a lot of which came in garbage time.
Statistically, Battier never wows people; his five points, five rebounds, two dimes, a steal and a block each weren't necessarily impressive, but they helped his team out when the team needed him.
Final Grade: B-
Power Forward: LeBron James
LeBron had a night comparable to the one he had against Boston on opening night. He was never really trying to take the game over because, well, he didn't need to.
It looks like this more reserved LeBron is the one we'll see more often this season, letting his teammates grow and learn how to run the game themselves, especially Mario Chalmers.
Even in less of a role, LeBron was able to put up 23 points and pull down 11 rebounds, although he only ended this one with one assist.
It wasn't one of his best games, but he was efficient, physical and solid all throughout the night.
Final Grade: A-
Center: Chris Bosh
I was very curious to see what Chris Bosh could do against a physical center like Marcin Gortat. Tyson Chandler manhandled him in his worst game of the young season when he made just 5-of-13 shots against the Knicks.
Well, Gortat played well in his own right, but Miami was able to continually switch Bosh off Gortat with endless pick-and-roll plays that led to smaller dudes putting a body on Bosh.
Throughout the first half, he dominated, scoring 18 points on nine shots. For whatever reason, mostly due to the fact that he played about six minutes in the second half, Bosh only took one more shot the rest of the game.
Bosh ended up with 18 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks, so it wasn't a bad night for the big man.
Final Grade: A
6th Man: Ray Allen
It was another ho-hum day for Ray Allen, who is quickly putting together a resume to be included in the way-too-early Sixth Man of the Year-award talk.
Allen knocked down 3-of-4 wide-open three-pointers and added six rebounds and six assists.
In 28 minutes of play, he was very active on defense and always ready and willing to take the next shot when somebody found him open in the corner.
Final Grade: B+
When you exclude Ray Allen from the group, Miami's bench is never going to put up huge numbers, but what it did against the Suns is pretty exemplary of what Eric Spoelstra wants to get out of it.
Not only did Udonis Haslem finally wake up, putting 12 points and five rebounds on the board for Miami, but the Heat also got a solid game from Rashard Lewis, who knocked down two threes and pulled down six rebounds.
Miami dug deep into the bench late, as James Jones knocked down two threes in his 500th career game and Terrel Harris sunk his first two points of the season.
On top of it all, little Norris Cole was able to knock down a buzzer-beater from half court at the end of the first quarter. Of course, Shannon Brown matched him a little over an hour later.
Final Grade: A
I guess you could call this one an all-around victory for Miami.