Goran Dragic scores season-high 29, Heat beat Suns 126-115
FILE - MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 1: Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat handles the ball against the Chicago Bulls on November 1, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Former Phoenix guard Goran Dragic scored a season-high 29 points in the Miami Heat's 126-115 victory over the Suns on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
The Heat made 12 three-pointers, shot 53.1 percent overall and never trailed. The Suns lost their fourth straight.
Dragic scored 10 points in the third quarter. The Heat took a 94-86 lead into the fourth and opened the final period with a 7-0 run.
Phoenix made it 112-106 on Devin Booker's jumper with 2:53 to play, but got no closer.
Hassan Whiteside added 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for Miami.
Booker led Phoenix with 30 points, and Mike James had 18.
Guard Dion Waiters, playing in his first game since last Friday (last Saturday, PHL time), made a layup to give the Heat a 47-31 lead with 9:18 to go in the second quarter for Miami's largest lead of the first half. Waiters was away from the Heat for the birth of his daughter and returned to score 16 points.
The Suns went on an 11-1 run to cut the lead to six, but Waiters' three-pointer with 10.8 seconds gave the Heat a 69-54 halftime advantage. The 69 points was the highest total in a half for the Heat this season.
The Heat led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter. Phoenix hit five of its last seven shots of the quarter, and cut the lead to 36-27.
Whiteside blocked James' driving dunk attempt with 4:56 to go in the first half, then stopped and stared down the fallen James. Whiteside was a tough matchup inside for Phoenix without big man Tyson Chandler (back spasms) in the lineup.
Heat: Justise Winslow started at power forward for the first time this season and had 14 points and six rebounds. ... Miami's 17.1 turnovers per game were the third-worst in the NBA entering the game, so coach Erik Spoelstra said he'd like to simplify things on offense. "Hopefully that can help, but the responsibility and the accepting of that responsibility is the most important thing," Spoelstra said. The Heat had 14 on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). ... G Tyler Johnson did not play due to illness.
Suns: Alex Len made his first start of the season at center, in place of Chandler. ... Newly acquired C Greg Monroe has yet to report to the team. Monroe, who arrived in Tuesday's (Wednesday, PHL time) trade that sent Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee, is dealing with a calf strain. ... Before the game, F Derrick Jones Jr. was recalled from the Northern Arizona Suns of G League.
Heat: At Utah Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
Suns: Host Orlando on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).