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Bosh scores 34 in Heat victory

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PHOENIX – Stuck in a four-game losing streak and sensing a tired Phoenix Suns team was ripe for the taking, Chris Bosh decided this was as good a time as any to be the kind of player the Miami Heat will need him to be this season.

Bosh scored 24 of his season-high 34 points in the second half, including seven straight late in the fourth quarter, to give the Heat their ninth straight win over the Suns 103-97 on Tuesday.

“I really wanted to win badly today,” said Bosh, a center who hit 14 of 21 shots from the field and added nine rebounds and four steals in 37 minute. “We were there at the end and we had a chance. It wasn’t out of frustration or anything like that. But everyone knows I’m going to have to play a certain way (to help the team win).

“I’ve been trying to change my mindset and search for what works for me and I think tonight I found something.”

Forward Luol Deng scored 23 points and guard Dwyane Wade fought off a bout of first-half headaches to add 16 for the Heat, who have won seven straight over Phoenix at US Airways Center.

All three of Bosh’s 30-point games have come on the road this season, where the Heat are now 6-5.

“I was going to come out aggressive in the second half anyway, but when (Wade) let me know how he felt, I said, ‘OK, I’ll see what I can do to get the team going.'” Bosh said. “We wanted them to continue to have to make shots over us. When they made some well-contested shots, we answered back every time. We didn’t turn the ball over and we played together.”

Forward Marcus Morris had a career-high 25 points for the Suns, who dropped to 6-5 at home and have lost three straight overall. The Suns committed 23 turnovers, nullifying the 17 3-pointers they made.

Guard Gerald Green added 19 points for Phoenix and forward Markieff Morris had 17. Guard Eric Bledsoe — coming off a triple-double in a loss to the Los Angele Clippers Monday – finished with four points on 2-for-11 shooting with eight assists and seven turnovers.

“We’re struggling on back-to-backs right now (1-4 on the back end this season) and we just have to fight through,” Bledsoe said.

Guard Goran Dragic, who had 16 points, said the Suns (12-10) are still searching for their stride. Getting back guard Isaiah Thomas, who has missed the last eight games with a foot injury, will help.

“I don’t think we have the same poise or chemistry that we did last year,” Dragic said. “We’re trying to get it, of course. Hopefully we start to play better.”

The Suns led several times in the fourth quarter, the last on a Marcus Morris 3-pointer to make it 91-90 with 3:15 left. But Bosh gave the Heat the lead back with a 14-footer, followed it with a pick-and-roll layup off a Wade pass and then nailed a 3-pointer to make it 97-91 Miami with 1:49 left.

“We were a step slow,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Whether it was the fourth game in five nights or what, we weren’t thinking straight, especially in the fourth quarter. They cut hard, were making good passes and we were a step late.

“They did a good job of packing the paint and we got a lot of wide open threes and we made them … but we made 17 of them and we still lost the game.””

Phoenix closed the gap to three points twice on 3-pointers by Green and Marcus Morris, but Miami answered with a 3-pointer by Deng and a Wade basket to keep their lead.

“We stayed in the game. We were up one (73-72), and on the bench we got together and said ‘Come on, 12 minutes to go.'” Deng said. “Lately we have been in games in the fourth quarter. As long as we give ourselves a chance to win, especially on the road, we’re going to come up with wins.”

Hoping to catch the Suns down after an overtime road loss against the Clippers Monday, the Heat jumped out to a quick seven-point lead and pushed the advantage to eight at 26-18 on guard Norris Cole’s layup with 1:37 left. Miami shot 59 percent in the first quarter, forced six Phoenix turnovers and led 28-25.

But the Phoenix bench, which outscored Miami 26-6 in the first half, took over in the second. Guard Tyler Ennis gave Phoenix the lead at 29-28 on a running bank shot with 10:41 left and Green capped the 11-2 run with three free throws to make it 36-30 Phoenix. Marcus Morris had 11 points off the bench while Green had seven. P.J. Tucker’s 3-pointer with 29.9 second left gave the Suns a 51-46 lead at the break.

NOTES: Suns G Eric Bledsoe’s 27 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday gave him his first career triple-double and made him the third player in NBA history to record that high a number in each category. Jason Kidd (33 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists against the Suns) was the last player to do it on Jan. 12, 1996, and Magic Johnson did it five times, the last time on March 9, 1990 (33 points, 13 rebounds and 16 assists vs. Golden State). … Bledsoe recorded the first Suns’ triple-double in almost eight years, since Boris Diaw had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists against Golden State on Dec, 15, 2006. Bledsoe ended the longest current active drought by any team. … Suns G Isaiah Thomas missed his eighth straight game with a right ankle contusion, but coach Jeff Hornacek said he hoped Thomas would be back to play the Detroit Pistons on Friday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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