For three-and-a-half quarters Tuesday night, the Phoenix Suns went toe-to-toe with the two-time defending NBA champions, before LeBron James took over for the Dwayne Wade-less Miami Heat at the US Airways Center.
James scored 11 of Miami’s final 12 points, as the Heat pulled away late en route to a 103-97 win over the Suns.
Here’s a look back at Phoenix’s six-point loss by the numbers:
With Tuesday’s loss, the Suns fell to 0-7 against the Heat since James and Chris Bosh joined the club as free agents before the 2010-11 season. On the bright side, Phoenix’s six-point defeat was its second-slimmest of those seven games.
Suns guard Goran Dragic struggled against Miami’s stingy defense for much of the contest, going 4-of-12 from the field for 15 points in the loss. The performance marked the first time in 14 games he failed to connect on at least six field goal attempts.
The Suns were partly done in by a cold spell late in the fourth quarter. After Goran Dragic hit a jump shot to cut the deficit to 87-85 with 5:58 remaining, Phoenix went 4:56 without a basket. During that span, Miami went on a pivotal 9-4 run.
In the win, James had a game-high five steals — good for his second-highest total of the 2013-14 season. Of those five steals, two came in the final 1:51 of the fourth quarter.
Suns starting center Miles Plumlee played a season-low 14 minutes against the Heat. Plumlee had two points on 1-of-3 shooting and grabbed six boards. In his place, forward Markieff Morris played 33 minutes and scored 12 points on 5-of-14 from the field.
When it mattered most, the Suns had their fair share of issues taking care of the basketball. In the loss, Phoenix committed 16 turnovers, including four key ones in the final frame.
In addition to his game-high five steals, James had a game-high 37 points on 12-of-22 from the field and 11-of-14 from the charity stripe. James has scored 30 or more 18 times this season, good for second-most in the league behind Kevin Durant.
James’ 25 points in the second half were also his most in any half this season.
With Dragic struggling from the field, the Suns relied heavily on Gerald Green at the offensive end. Green finished with a team-high 26 points on 5-of-8 from three-point range. However, Phoenix’s 10-game win streak when Green scores at least 20 points ended with Tuesday’s loss. On the year, the Suns are now 10-4 when the veteran swingman tops the 20-point mark.
In spite of the loss, Phoenix ended its pre-break slate of games with a 30-21 record — an impressive mark given the lack of expectations heading into the 2013-14 campaign. Heading into the All-Star break, the Suns find themselves tied for seventh in the Western Conference.