Depleted Heat close road-trip with win in Phoenix
PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) –
Chris Bosh had 24 points and an ailing LeBron James added 21 as NBA champions the Miami Heat closed out a six-game road trip with a 97-88 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Shane Battier connected on four three-pointers for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade for the second straight game with a sprained left foot.
Wade missed three of the Heat’s six games on this road swing. He didn’t play against the Atlanta Hawks in the opener because of an illness.
“It’s nothing major,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Saturday. “He has a bunch of little things that we don’t want to turn into anything more.”
James started despite suffering from flu-like symptoms.
He missed the morning shoot-around and was inserted into the starting lineup barely an hour before tipoff.
“This was another game where we had to deal with a little bit of adversity,” Spoelstra said. “Dwyane was still out and LeBron was clearly under the weather.
“We appreciate him even going and playing tonight and give us his presence. It’s another gutty win and we showed some character.”
Miami led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. With James on the bench resting, however, the Suns ended the third on an 11-0 scoring run to get within 75-71.
The Suns tied it up early in the fourth, but the Heat rebuilt the lead to 88-79.
The Suns pulled within two, 90-88, with 2:10 remaining, but the Heat scored the last seven points to put it away.
“It’s just too hard to play against the world championship team, even without Dwyane Wade, you get down 15 you have to fight your way back,” said Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry. “It’s hard to get over the hump, it’s too hard.”
Udonis Haslem had six rebounds to take his career total to 4,806 — one away from matching the franchise record of 4,807 held by Alonzo Mourning.
Haslem is poised to become the first undrafted player in NBA history to hold a club’s rebounding record.