PHOENIX (AP)—Steve Nash and his Phoenix teammates were flying high at newly renamed U.S. Airways Center on Friday night.
Nash dished out 12 assists in a 47-point first quarter and the Suns raced past the depleted Miami Heat 111-93.
“It was just one of those freaky quarters,” Nash said. “We got hot and kind of got on a roll. We were unconscious. We didn’t realize we were on such a roll. You’re kind of in the moment and things are going well like that, and that’s when the game’s at its most fun.”
Nash broke the franchise record and tied for second-most assists in a quarter in NBA history. Last season’s league MVP finished with 19 assists and 11 points in Phoenix’s sixth victory in seven games.
“Well, you only get an assist if your teammates make the shots,” Nash said. “My teammates made a lot of shots, and they deserve part of that record.”
The Suns tied a team record with 17 assists—on 18 baskets—in the first quarter. The 47 points were most in a quarter in the NBA this season and most for the Suns since the franchise moved to America West Arena in 1992. The arena officially changed its name to U.S. Airways Center on Friday.
“I think it’s safe to say the first quarter made the difference,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said.
Phoenix made 8-of-11 3-pointers in the first quarter.
“It was an absolute eye-opener,” Heat coach Pat Riley said. “I’ve seen a lot of great quarters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one exactly like that where a team hits nine 3s (actually eight). We didn’t play well, we didn’t play with great desire and we got our heads handed to us for the second game in a row.”
Miami was beaten by New Orleans in Oklahoma City 107-92 on Wednesday night.
“It’s a big difference when we are missing a lot of key guys and playing a team like this that runs and is so good at home,” Gary Payton said.
Seven Suns players scored in double figures, including all five starters.
The Suns, up 47-25 after one, tied a franchise record with 11 first-half 3-pointers—in 17 tries—while taking a 72-50 lead at the break. They finished 13-for-26 on 3s.
Phoenix led by as many as 26 before the Heat cut it to 94-80 and Nash returned to the game with 7:09 to play. He came back just as Miami’s Gerald Fitch and House were thrown out of the game.
Phoenix shot out to a 16-6 lead, then scored 11 in a row to go up 31-10 after Thomas made one of two free throws with 3:46 to go in the first.
Nash got his 12th assist on a half-court bounce pass to Bell for a 3-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer. His big game came four nights after he had a career-high 22 assists against the Knicks in a triple-overtime loss in New York.
The league record for assists in a quarter is 14 by John Lucas for San Antonio against Denver on April 15, 1984. Avery Johnson had 12 for the Spurs against the Los Angeles Clippers on Dec. 10, 1997. … The Suns’ record for assists in a quarter was 10 by Jason Kidd and Jeff Hornacek. … Phoenix plays at home against San Antonio on Saturday night. … The arena name change followed the merger of America West Airlines and U.S. Airways. … The most points the Heat have given up in a quarter was 49 at Phoenix on Dec. 29, 1990. … Miami was on the second stop of a seven-game road trip.