MIAMI, March 25 (Ticker) --
The high-octane Phoenix Suns were trying to
record a franchise-record 10th straight road win, but "Flash"
ran right by them.
collected 35 points - including a shot from well
beyond midcourt at the third-quarter buzzer - nine assists and
seven rebounds as the Miami Heat posted a 125-115 victory over
the Suns in a matchup of the top two teams in the NBA.
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The shot at the buzzer electrified the crowd, but it was the
previous play in which Wade blocked a shot by Suns center
that impressed Heat coach Stan Van Gundy
"(The shot) is obviously a great lift," Van Gundy said. "But I
do not get carried away with plays like that because if you
throw it up, it goes in one time out of 100. I am more
impressed with the other things he did tonight. The block was
tremendous. To turn around and throw it in was a lot of fun."
"I was just trying to come weakside and make a play (on Amare),"
said Wade, who missed Thursday's practice with a thigh bruise.
"It felt good when it left my hands ... When it went in, it
surprised me a bit."
overcame early foul trouble to score 25 points
and Eddie Jones
added 23 for the Eastern Conference-leading
Heat, who never trailed en route to extending their
franchise-record home winning streak to 16 games.
The victory, in what some were touting as a preview of the NBA
Finals, earned Miami the Southeast Division title. The Heat
have the league's best record at 53-17.
"We're not really worried about that right now," O'Neal said.
"I'm trying to stress to guys to focus on the big picture. ...
I've been in situations where we got too happy too early."
"(The division title) is great, but hopefully we can add to it,"
The Heat, who have won 13 of their last 14 games overall, held a
115-96 advantage after a jumper by Udonis Haslem
remaining. But the Suns (51-17), who lead the Western
Conference, countered with a 15-2 run to pull within 117-111 on
a three-point play by Quentin Richardson
with 2:52 to play.
But O'Neal grabbed an offensive rebound and dunked and
nailed a jumper for a 121-111 cushion with 1:29
remaining, and Phoenix got no closer than eight points
Miami, which lost at Phoenix on January 11, 122-107, allowed the
Suns to shoot 49 percent (40-of-81) but connected on 55 percent
Richardson scored 26 points, Stoudemire added 25 and
chipped in with 19 and 14 assists for the Suns, who are a
league-best 28-8 on the road.
Miami opened the game with a 22-4 spurt as Phoenix missed its
first nine shots. The Heat never trailed and the Suns only tied
the game once, 71-71, on a free throw by Stoudemire with 7:12
left in the third quarter.
But Eddie Jones
hit a long jumper from the arc on the next
possession before Wade, who had 15 points in the third, took
over. Phoenix had no answer.
"Wade is a tough cover," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni
said. "He got
away from us and he was the big difference."
"We won nine straight on the road, so it's not like the world is
ending," Nash said.