MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Heat played their final warm-up game before Saturday’s big matchup Thursday and put on a show in the Valley of the Sun.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh carried Miami to a 95-83 victory of the Phoenix Suns. Dwyane Wade didn’t play while nursing a sore knee and wasn’t missed during this game.
James finished the game with 36 points while shooting better than 50 percent from the field. He added six rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Bosh gave the Heat a 1-2 punch with James as he poured in midrange jumpers and crashed the boards for a 23 point, 11 rebound effort against the Suns.
Minutes after guiding his team to victory, LeBron James walked across the court to the front row to share a few words with Muhammad Ali.
The Heat were hoping to avoid a letdown against a team in transition and did just that, winning their eighth straight road game with a big one coming up against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Jared Dudley scored 33 points and Steve Nash had 18 assists but took just four shots and scored four points against multiple double teams for the Suns, who will be on the road Christmas night to get ready for a game Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
This was Miami’s only visit to the desert and the stars came out for the show.
Ali was in the front row, just a seat down from Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Defensive end Darnell Dockett also was in the front row, several other athletes were mixed in and numerous Phoenix-area powerbrokers were there, bumping Suns owner Robert Sarver to the second row.
The Heat are used to this feverish fanaticism by now, though; every road game has a postseason pulse after Miami’s offseason power grab.
The Suns couldn’t seem to miss at the start, jumping out to a 21-10 lead before Gortat or Pietrus had stripped off their warmups. The Heat weren’t even fazed.
James went on a spree in the first quarter, scoring 11 points. Bosh took over in the second, scoring seven quick points in a 17-4 run. James added a windmill dunk on a steal that had the crowd rising in anticipation and topped himself with 3.3 seconds left, throwing down a double-clutch, two-handed dunk over Channing Frye and Dudley for a three-point play that put the Heat up 45-39 at halftime.
Bosh went on another spurt to start the third quarter, scoring eight quick points to help push Miami’s lead to 14. James kept the Suns from rallying in the fourth, ignoring the boos — just as he has all season — to keep hitting shots and give the Heat momentum going into Saturday.
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