Suns Battle Together in Comeback Victory Over Heat

by Cody Cunningham

The Phoenix Suns last win came on Jan. 12 when they defeated the Denver Nuggets 102-93. After trailing to the Miami Heat by double-digits throughout the majority of the first three quarters on Monday, it looked unlikely for the Suns to secure their first win in 18 games… But that’s exactly what happened.

The Suns trailed by 11 at halftime and needed a quick spark out of the gates to keep up with a Heat team that is currently fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Troy Daniels checked-in for the first time all game with just over a minute played in the third and immediately made an impact.

Daniels quickly found former-Heat guard Tyler Johnson beyond the arc for the three-point assist. This was followed up by Kelly Oubre Jr. forcing a steal and finding Daniels in transition for another three.

Just like that, the Suns made it just a three-point deficit.

However, the Heat quickly extended their lead back to seven and as the clock continued to run, the chances of the Suns pulling out a victory began to dwindle.

Daniels once again led the charge as the Suns slowly began chipping away at the score. As the momentum began to grow for the Suns, Booker brought it to another level, hitting a buzzer-beating jumper to end the quarter 87-84, in the Heat's favor.

12 minutes to go. Down by three. On the road.

It was going to take everything the Suns had to pull this win off as the team leaned on the veterans to guide the way.

Daniels hit a three-pointer to tie it, but it was 19-year-vet Jamal Crawford who followed that up with another three on the next possession to give the Suns their first lead of the game with 10 minutes remaining.

It became a back-and-forth battle as neither team could fully gain control and with 40 seconds left, it was still either team’s game for the taking.

So let’s breakdown the dramatic, four-lead changing final 40 seconds.

40 SECONDS REMAINING: Dion Waiters knocked-down a tough three in the corner while being fouled to tie the game at 118. Waiters stepped to the free throw line, hit the shot and gave the Heat a one-point lead.

30 SECONDS REMAINING: Johnson threw a bullet from the corner inside to Deandre Ayton as the Big Fella rose up and dropped in the bucket to move the one-point advantage in the Suns favor.

18 SECONDS REMAINING: Dwyane Wade found Kelly Olynyk for a two-point jumper. So yet again, the Heat regained their one-point lead, up 121-120.

17 SECONDS REMAINING: Josh Richardson fouled Booker on the inbound, sending him to the line for two free throws. The 85 percent free throw shooter knocked them both down as the Suns took a 122-121 lead.

THREE SECONDS REMAINING: Wade missed a baseline jumper. Oubre grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled and sent to the line for two. He sank both shots to put the Suns up by three.

ZERO SECONDS REMAINING: Game ends. Suns win 124-121.

It was a full team effort by the Suns as they had seven players score in double-digits.

“This team is a very talented team,” Johnson said. “We’re going to figure out how to win. It’s only a matter of time. This is something we can build on.”

Booker led the way offensively with 20 points to go along with his nine assists and four rebounds. Oubre was huge for the Suns down the stretch, scoring 11 of his 16 points in just the fourth quarter while also grabbing eight rebounds in the victory.

Ayton faced-off against Hassan Whiteside for the first time in his career as the Big Fella held his own in the paint. He notched his rookie-leading 32nd double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds while also grabbing two steals.

“That was a good game,” Ayton said. “Everybody showed great energy tonight and we had fun.”

After scoring a season-high in the Suns previous game, Johnson once again had a solid performance against his former team with 18 points and five assists.

“Any win feels great, but especially coming back here for the first time, it was definitely good to get one,” Johnson said.

Daniels and Crawford both provided much-needed sparks for the Suns as the two combined for 20 points off the bench.

“We’re ecstatic,” Daniels said. “We’re happy. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve just been working every day trying to get better, pushing each other and calling each other out. We were able to come out and get a win. It’s a great feeling.”

The Suns will look to build off this win as they return home to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. Be sure to catch the action on Fox Sports Arizona.

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