Even though the Miami Heat lost, coach Erik Spoelstra said he liked the way his team was playing.
In the final game of a five-game road trip, the Heat fell to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, 113-97, and now have a 20-15 record in a log-jammed Eastern Conference where five teams have 20 wins.
"I really liked the way we were playing. In all the huddles I was just reiterating play the right way offensively," Spoelstra said. "Just trust it. Guys are open and you get into our aggressive attack, paint touches, and we were making the right plays. A lot of those were wide-open threes."
Despite Miami's quality looks, the only two players to provide any scoring punch were Bam Adebayo, who finished with 28 points, and Kevin Love, who scored 20 points, with 15 of those points coming in his first five minutes.
On the other hand, many players had a cold spell and struggled from the floor such as Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro who shot a combined 5-for-24 from the floor and 2-for-13 from 3-point range. To put their struggles in perspective, Miami made 10 3s on 37 attempts, while Grayson Allen alone made a career-high and franchise-record nine 3-pointers.
Miami was able to stay in striking distance to start the second half, but a 14-2 run by Phoenix ballooned its lead to 18 and delivered the knockout blow to the Heat, who trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
"We were just trying to get to our spots [and] force them into tough shots, but they were getting into our paint," Kevin Love said. "They were spraying, they were hitting shots, stepping into 3s, and it was too much for us in that third quarter."
Spoelstra also echoed the same postgame thoughts Love had and believed it would've taken a hard-fought defensive effort to have a chance to win the game with the offense sputtering.
"We were never able to really control the game defensively and get it in the mud," Spoelstra said. "That's what would've been required to get this game."
Unlike their previous victory where the Heat disrupted the Lakers offense and eventually knocked down shots, Phoenix dissected Miami's defense as the game progressed and the Heat were unable to match the Suns firepower.