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Baseline to Baseline recaps: Heat hotter than the Suns

Mar 21, 2012, 9:31 AM EDT

Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem drives to the basket against the Phoenix Suns in the first half during their NBA basketball game in Miami Reuters

What you missed while wondering why someone whose job it was to smuggle cocaine into the United States would get the personalized license plate “SMUGLER”

Heat 99, Suns 95: It looked like the Suns had a road upset in their pocket — they led most of the fourth quarter and were up 10 with just more than 7 minutes to go. Then LeBron James checked into the game and Miami went on a 17-0 run. It was the kind of awesome display of team defense, fast breaks and shot making that no team in the league can match. The Heat played some defense, the Suns made just two baskets from the field in the final seven minutes.

Chris Bosh was the best Heat player on the night, especially early when he scored 11 of Heat’s first 13 points on his way to 29. Credit should go to the Suns, they are playing well as a team right now. Grant Hill had 19 to lead them but it was really the Suns bench that was strong, led by Markieff Morris and his dozen.

Knicks 106, Raptors 97: Four wins in a row for the Knicks under Mike Woodson, and the Knicks are doing it with the kind of balance (four starters with 17 points or more) that Mike D’Antoni wanted but could not get the Knicks to execute. Jeremy Lin has not faded into oblivion, he had 18 points and has played a few good games in a row. They are playing good defense.

The real test is Wednesday night against the division leading 76ers.

Pacers 102, Clippers 89: Depth matters in a shortened season. The stars get the headlines — Danny Granger played well and had 25, Blake Griffin attacked since the Pacers chose not to double him and had 14 points in the first quarter, 23 for the contest — but that’s not who decided this game. Rather, it was Tyler Hansbrough with 17 points and the kind of effort that got under the Clippers skin. Lou Amundson was out working the Clippers, too. That was the difference.

Rockets 107, Lakers 104: No Kyle Lowry, no Kevin Martin, no problem. The Rockets had Goran Dragic (16 points, 13 dimes), and who do the Lakers have who can match that? This is a game played at the Rockets tempo (faster than the Lakers like) but Los Angeles adjusted well early and put up 40 first-quarter points behind a dozen from Pau Gasol. They were up 15 and led most of the game. But the Rockets went on a late 23-6 run to come back and take the lead. Kobe Bryant (29 points on 27 shots) hit a couple clutch shots to tie it, but then Dragic nailed the corner three off a Courtney Lee assist and Kobe missed the shots to match that. (By the way, Gasol looks like the guy late on the close out on Dragic’s game winner, but that was Metta World Peace’s man on the play and he completely leaves him to go into the paint and go after Lee. Gasol just left his man to try and help when he realized what was happening.)

Mike Brown had the Lakers playing good defense early in the season but they only do that in spurts now. Also, Andrew Bynum got ejected in the third quarter and the Lakers missed him late because it became Kobe hero ball time.

Jazz 97, Thunder 90: Phoenix and Utah are really putting on a push for those last playoff seeds in the West and a chance to maybe face the Thunder in the first round. And Utah would not be an easy out. The Jazz took the lead on a 14-1 run in the second quarter and never gave it back. The real key in this game was the Jazz owned the paint at both ends, outscoring the Thunder 50-20. Also, the Thunder had 20 turnovers. Paul Millsap had 20 to lead six Jazz players in double figures. The Thunder can write that off as just one of those games if they want, but they’ve had a few of those lately and are 5-5 in their last 10. We have kind of ordained them to come out of the West in the playoffs, but they are not playing like that right now.

Bucks 116, Blazers 87: Two teams going in opposite directions — the Bucks have now won six in a row while the Blazers have come apart at the seams and are basically tanking the rest of the season. The Bucks are scrapping and playing aggressive defense — they had 10 steals in this game, and according to Bucks PR they are the first team to have 10 steals or more in three straight games in nine seasons. The Bucks started the second quarter on an 11-1 run and pulled away from there. Drew Gooden had 19 to lead six Bucks in double figures (Monta Ellis had 14, if you were wondering).

Kings 119, Grizzlies 110: The Kings are a good team if you let them get out and run, and this was an up-tempo game. Marcus Thornton had 31 on 22 shots, Tyreke Evans came off the bench but played when it mattered and had 9 of his 13 in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas also had 9 in the fourth and finished with 18.

  1. leearmon - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Some would argue that the Knicks’ “real test” started Friday night with a resounding victory over the Pacers. Followed by another double digit victory over Indiana, who subsequently beat the Clips by 13.

  2. glink123 - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    So the Heat gave up “only” 95 points to the Suns last night? Wow, talk about a defensive juggernaut. The Bulls held the Magic to 59 points Monday night, and won by almost 30 points. On the road. Playing without their MVP point guard. And also playing without their starting shooting guard. And they’ve won 100 of their last 130 games. But you’re right, noooo other team in the league plays defensive like the Heat. (rolls eyes).

    • rodgersmvp - Mar 21, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      It’s like you didn’t read the article. He wasn’t talking about the game as a whole, he was talking about their focused push at the end which caused a 17-0 run for the win. Every stat you just threw out has nothing to do with that. In the playoffs it’s going to be focused defense every night, so it’s important to see how a team plays when they are at their best.

      That said – I can’t wait for Bulls v Heat in the playoffs!

  3. 700levelvet - Mar 21, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Can’t wait for the Bulls- Heat eventual matchup in the playoffs, also can’t wait for LeFraud to jump on D-Wades cape and say “Help me get a ring” Daddy…..Here….you take the shot….And for the record, I’m no Bulls fan, but the Bulls WILL win that series. I’m sure LeFraud’s legion of jock sniffers will refute, as they are the self-appointed’s King’s court jesters………..

    • heat256 - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Are you mad you are still the only member of the Aundray Blatche Fan Club?

      • 700levelvet - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        He has just as many rings…….LMAO

    • heat256 - Mar 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      Touche sir. Well played.

  4. hwatt - Mar 21, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Dag Grant Hill is still in the league?? throoooooowback lol

    seriously, maybe he can give Rip Hamilton some conditioning tips

  5. kappn - Mar 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    “It was the kind of awesome display of team defense, fast breaks and shot making that NO team in the league can match.”

    No team???? Dick riding at it’s finest!

    • southbeachtalent - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      You would know.

      • kappn - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        yeah…. clearly, right? hahaha… off the dangle, bro.

  6. southbeachtalent - Mar 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Nice win. Wasn’t expecting that final run. Bulls fans relax, your time will come. Hopefully you guys put up more of a challenge this year.

  7. sellahh - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I was so mad having watched the entire Phoenix – Miami game. It never felt like the Suns were really in full control of this, even after Shannon Brown’s 3 to put them up 10. You just had a feeling that Miami would put an end to this sooner or later and they did, later. Also, I guess it helps when your 7 feet tall player cant finish a layup 2 feet away from the rim as did Lopez and Frye if im not mistaken. Gortat didn’t exactly shine either, not catching passes time and time again. But it was all good, after all I’m not a Suns fun just a Heat hater.
    I switch channels to Lakers game and wow, theyre up 10 in the 4th (actually their lead was as high as 12). Houston three-pointer. Houston three-pointer. Houston three-pointer. And the game is tied (one point was later substracted from Houston’s score). You know the end.
    I’m actually amazed I was able to fall asleep following those games that easily considering how mad I was being a Laker fan and as previously mentioned Heat hater.

  8. glink123 - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Maybe if the Heat would commit to consistently playing solid defense for a full 48 minutes, they wouldn’t need to go in a 17-0 run to get back in the game? I think the Heat, as a team, still coast through significant stretches of every game, mentally relying on the belief that the “Max-Contract Trio” will always be able to save them at the end. That’s what separates Miami from Chicago. The Bulls assume nothing. They play each possession of every game like its a tie game. That type of effort becomes contagious all the way down to the last guy on the bench, and it becomes second nature to how you play night in and night out. Miami is Hollywood as hell, but I’ll take the Bench Mob in 5 in this year’s ECF. Straight incentive-laden contract, homie.

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