For those of you who didn’t watch the Phoenix Suns host the Miami Heat, you missed one of the best NBA games of the year.
The Heat erased a bad start and beat the Suns 103-97. LeBron James finished the game with 37 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Chris Bosh scored 21 points, and Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole also finished in double figures.
Gerald Green led the Suns with 26 points. Four other players hit double-digits, but Green was the only one to shoot better than 50 percent. All-Star snub Goran Dragic finished with 15 points and nine assists but was just 4-of-12 from the field.
The two teams traded baskets for most of the second half. The biggest difference was turnovers and points in the paint. Phoenix was outscored 46-30 in the paint and had 16 turnovers to Miami’s 12:
Channing Frye sums up the loss in one word, "turnovers." #SunsVsHeat— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 12, 2014
During the game, fans got to witness a slam dunk contest before the All-Star break:
Green followed LeBron:
G-AIR-ald Green just raised the bar. And even if he raised it to 12-feet he could still slam it home. The Dunk-Off is on. #SunsVsHeat— Espo (@Espo) February 12, 2014
Then LeBron followed with another:
Phoenix's P.J. Tucker made some highlight plays of his own:
Many people believed officiating played a large role in the game. The Heat had 13 more attempts at the line (30) than Phoenix (17) in the game:
Great game to watch tonight, but definitely some questionable calls on both ends of court. Refs ruined it #SunsVsHeat— Mitchell Terrell (@Mitch_Terrell) February 12, 2014
Matt Petersen made this point on Miami's possession in the fourth quarter. The Heat outscored the Suns 32-23 in the final frame:
Heat hit 9 three-pointers all game. Five of them came in the 4th. Every one of them w/8sec or less on shot clock. Killers. #SunsVsHeat— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) February 12, 2014
Some of professional sports' biggest names were on scene to witness Tuesday's game:
Stars all out tonight at #MIAvsPHX...Suggs, Fitz, Floyd & King Felix— Mitchell Terrell (@Mitch_Terrell) February 12, 2014
The Dallas Mavericks lost to the Charlotte Bobcats tonight, keeping the Suns in seventh place in the Western Conference. The team now enters the All-Star break with a record of 30-21. That already surpasses the expectations set forth at the beginning of the season.
Phoenix is done playing the top two teams in the East. They still have to play nine games against the six teams ahead of them in the West. They have stayed competitive even after the loss of Eric Bledsoe. The Suns will be more of a threat if he is able to return during the race for the playoffs.
As for the Heat, the win keeps them three-and-a-half games back of the East-leading Indiana Pacers. They are 9.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the No. 2 seed.
Miami improved to 8-6 in games without Dwyane Wade, who missed Tuesday's game with a migraine. With a tough schedule ahead, Wade will welcome the All-Star break as his team fights for the top spot in the East.