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Heat, Dragic step up the pace in 126-115 victory over Suns

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Basketball

PHOENIX -- This was not the approach of design for coach Erik Spoelstra, an offensive shootout against an opponent that wanted nothing more.

But the Miami Heat simply couldn't help themselves at the outset, rumbling to 69 points in the first half on the way to Wednesday night's 126-115 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena, their highest-scoring game of the season.

From there, after the Heat's highest-scoring half of the season, the Heat got a better handle on the pace, and now a better handle on this six-game trip, at 2-2 with games remaining against the Utah Jazz on Friday night and Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

With seven of the eight players in Spoelstra's tightened rotation scoring in double figures, matching the high such total this season, the Heat had enough to hold on after pushing to a 16-point lead.

Former Suns guard Goran Dragic led the Heat with a season-high 29 points, with center Hassan Whiteside adding 23 points and 10 rebounds. Dion Waiters closed 16 points, including a pair of key late jumpers, one a 3-pointer.

Guard Devin Booker led the Suns with 30 points.

Just was the case when the Heat blew a 25-point lead before winning Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, sustained continuity was an issue, with the Suns clawing within eight midway through the final period.

Whiteside then twice scored on alley-oop dunks to push back to double-digit lead, before four consecutive points from Booker drew Phoenix within 112-106, with 2:53 left.

That's when Waiters stepped up with a jumper for a 114-106 Heat lead and Booker missed on the other end. Waiters then added a 3-pointer with 1:33 left for a 117-106 Heat lead.

Spoelstra again was forced to adjust his rotation, this time with Tyler Johnson unable to play due to an illness.

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