Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 12/13

Game 1: Wednesday, December 13th
Suns99Final
Heat89
Game 2: Friday, January 5th
Heat80Final
Suns108

Suns 99

(15-6, 7-4 away)

Heat 89

(9-12, 4-7 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    7:00 PM ET, December 13, 2006

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 26 30 28 1599
    MIA 19 21 23 2689

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: S. Marion 23 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Miami: A. Mourning 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Suns hold off Heat for 12th straight win

    MIAMI (AP) -- Miami Heat coach Pat Riley has nothing but high praise for Steve Nash, the NBA's two-time reigning MVP.

    Elias Says
    Phoenix Suns
    The Suns completed a sweep of their five-game road trip with a 99-89 win against the Heat, and all five of their victories were against Eastern Conference teams. Over the last ten years, the only other NBA team to sweep a road trip of at least five games against interconference opponents was the Lakers in 1999-2000 (who swept a six-game trip through the East).

    • For more Elias Says, click here

    "He may be the best player in the league," Riley said.

    Riley's opinion was backed up Wednesday night, when Nash hit a 3-pointer with 2:20 left to stop a huge Miami run and help lift the Phoenix Suns to their 12th straight victory, 99-89.

    The win turned out to be a struggle for Phoenix, which wasted most of a 25-point fourth-quarter lead.

    "We took care of it," Nash said. "We lost all our momentum in the fourth quarter. That happens -- but we won the game."

    Shawn Marion had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Nash had 18 points and 11 assists and Boris Diaw scored 13 points for the Suns, who have the second-longest winning streak in franchise history and finished a road trip 5-0 for the first time since April 1998.

    "We should have opened the game and closed it," Marion said. "This is their home court. They're not an NBA team if they just sit down."

    Alonzo Mourning had 19 points and Udonis Haslem added 14 for Miami, which played without Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade and fell to 9-12.

    Phoenix led 88-63 with 9:52 left, before the Heat scored 17 straight points and went on to outscore the Suns 22-2 over a 6½-minute stretch to draw within five. But Nash's shot from the top of the key ended that burst, and sent the Heat to their seventh loss in 11 home games this season.

    "Nash makes the whole thing work," Riley said. "We got something going in the fourth quarter and made it exciting, and he makes the 3 to really break our back. ... That team is a very good team. They belong at the top."

    The Heat's rally came primarily with only one starter, Jason Kapono, on the floor. Kapono had 11 points during the run, including a 3-pointer with 2:40 left that got Miami within 90-85. But Nash answered that one 20 seconds later with his 3, and the Suns would hang on from there.

    "The league MVP," Heat forward James Posey said. "He had a big 3 there."

    Amare Stoudemire had 12 points, while Leandro Barbosa and James Jones each scored 10 for Phoenix.

    Kapono finished with 13 points, while Robert Hite -- one of the key Heat players in their big run -- scored 11 and Dorell Wright added 10.

    "You've got to give a good effort against them because it's like a track meet out there," Hite said. "We gave it a great effort at the end. A couple more shots go down, a couple more chances, and it's a different story."

    The undermanned Heat were without their two biggest stars -- Wade had wisdom teeth removed Tuesday, and O'Neal missed his 17th game as he continues to recover from surgery to repair torn knee cartilage.

    For most of the game, it looked like even they wouldn't be enough to help the Heat against an onslaught like Phoenix's.

    The Suns connected on 10 shots from 3-point range and trailed only once -- 2-0 after Heat guard Jason Williams opened the game with two free throws.

    "We played pretty well, had a good lead, thought the game was over and kind of shut it down," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You have to give them credit. They didn't quit. They played good and hard. That's a trademark of a Pat Riley team."

    The Suns took a 16-point lead into halftime and stretched it to 84-63 entering the final quarter. Phoenix then had the first four points of the fourth, before the Heat began their comeback try.

    "We weren't going to give up like that," Posey said. "We tried to give ourselves a chance. Just got in too deep of a hole."

    Game notes


    Phoenix's franchise record for consecutive wins is 14, set in December 1992. ... Miami F Antoine Walker, who was 0-for-3 in 10 first-half minutes, did not play in the second half. ... The Suns shot 53 percent in the first quarter, which is the worst they've shot in the opening 12 minutes during this 12-game winning streak. ... Wade was not flying with the Heat to Washington on Wednesday night and isn't expected to play when Miami visits the Wizards on Friday. He could play Saturday when Miami hosts Memphis.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    PHX
    MIA
    Points 99 89
    FGM-FGA 34-71 (.479) 33-83 (.398)
    3PM-3PA 10-26 (.385) 4-19 (.211)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 19-25 (.760)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-46 13-41
    Assists 22 16
    Turnovers 16 11
    Steals 6 6
    Blocks 5 3
    Fast Break Points 17 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 21 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 25 2

    Top Performers

    Phoenix
    Miami
    Shawn Marion Marion
    Points: 23
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Alonzo Mourning Mourning
    Points: 19
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2