Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Heat put to shame at home by the Suns

Terry Rozier, the new guy on the block, finally blended into the offense in a vain effort, logging 21 points on eight of 14 shots, as most of the team left him hanging. Jimmy Butler got going after the Heat was jumped. And the defense provided little resistance up top with late help.

Even without the three-ball being a factor, the Suns hung 33 points in the first quarter. Jusuf Nurkić picked up two fouls in four minutes, but his backup, Drew Eubanks, checked in, channeling Suns legend Tom Chambers, scoring on two putbacks and three rim attacks. The rest of the visitors made seven of 19 baskets in the quarter.

For the Heat, Rozier triumphantly fired away at the nail over Kevin Durant, swished from the corner facing Nurkić and dribbled past Bradley Beal and Keita Bates Diop for layups. Adebayo had zero attempts but three horrid turnovers, one of them resulting in Beal intercepting the pass in Heat territory and then dunking and another in Durant hitting a jumper after throwing the pass above Butler’s head, out of bounds.

Half of the second quarter elapsed with the Suns converting six of 12 tries before Butler joined the fray. Next, he scored through the middle in transition and logged two putbacks.

Adebayo misfired on a fadeaway and floater against Nurkić. Subsequently, he blanked a hook in the post and layup in transition over Eubanks.

And Herro’s made two of seven baskets in the frame.

On the other side, Eric Gordon, age 35, sliced into the lane three times like it was 2009. And Durant broke the 2-3 zone with jumpers on the baseline, elbow and wing.

At halftime, the Heat was down 49-62 and behind on the boards by three. Additionally, it racked up 16 paint points and seven on the break, 14 via second chances and four after turnovers. Butler was the team’s scoring leader, notching 13, followed by Rozier with 12 and Herro’s 11.

The Suns had Booker, Durant and Eubanks in double digits on the point ledger, while Beal had nine. The guests also registered 30 paint points, 11 on the break, 13 on extra attempts and six after turnovers.

Later, the Heat failed to stop Booker’s jump shot at the nail, elbow, baseline and paint in the halfcourt, plus a tray in transition. On top of that, Durant, Beal and Gordon combined for 10 of 15 baskets in the interval.

Yet the Heat were shell-shocked, scoring on just 32% of ventures. Rozier dropped three 3-pointers, and Butler whisked into the paint for a layup and a putback.

The hosts entered the fourth quarter below 74-100. The Suns added 18 more points on 29% of attempts. The Heat cranked out 31 points on 10 of 17 shots, but it was a worthless effort.

The Heat lost 105-118, making it the club’s seventh straight and longest of coach Erik Spoelstra’s career as the head. It recorded just 32 paint points, 16 on the break, 21 on second chances and 11 following turnovers. Butler had 26 points with eight rebounds and four assists. Rozier contributed 21 on his scorecard.

For the Suns, Durant, Booker and Gordon each surpassed 20 points and Beal had 19.

At the postgame presser, Spoelstra said, “You have to do tough things… We are not doing that consistently enough, and while we are going through this period of time offensively, we’re not able to overcome those stretches where we’re missing shots and turning the ball over, and on top of that, we are not defending the way we are capable of.”

At his locker, Butler said, “We’re not guarding anybody.”

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