MIAMI - The Heat's philosophy this season is simple: Catch us if you can. Miami's defense was better Monday night than it had been in earlier game, but still hasn't been as sharp as it was during last season's championship run. But when you can score like the Heat can, who needs stops? The Heat gave up 53 first-half points Monday night and still cruised to a 124-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns. The Heat improved to 3-1, including 3-0 at home. The Suns (1-3) lost their second straight game, both on the road in the state of Florida. It was not the way former Heat coach Alvin Gentry wanted to celebrate his 58th birthday. Now in his fourth full season coaching the Suns, Gentry watched his team get overwhelmed by the Heat's blistering shooting. The Heat's LeBron James led all scorers with 23 points and also had a game-high 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 22 points. Chris Bosh had 18 points, all of them in the first half. And Mario Chalmers had nine points, 11 assists and just one turnover. Shannon Brown came off the bench to lead the Suns with 18 points. Starter Michael Beasley, a former Heat forward, was held to seven points on 3-of-13 shooting. For the game, the Suns shot just 39.1 percent. The game was virtually over after three quarters, when the Heat led 98-74 on 57.8-percent shooting. The Heat entered the game leading the NBA in field goal percentage at 51 percent, so another hot offensive showing was no surprise. The Heat never trailed in the first half and took a 65-53 lead into the break. Bosh, coming off a 40-point game, led all scorers with his 18 first-half points. He made 7 of 9 shots from the floor and 4 of 4 on free throws. The Heat shot 59.1 percent from the field, including 60 percent on three-pointers (6 of 10). Wade had 13 points, James had 10, and Ray Allen added nine. The Suns were held to 37.8 percent shooting and had just two scorers in double figures: point guard Goran Dragic (13) and Brown (11). Brown made his first two three-pointers of the season. Phoenix forward Luis Scola was held to six points and didn't get his first field goal until the last minute of the half. The Heat outrebounded the Suns 26-15 in the first half, and Miami's reserve forward Udonis Haslem had his most productive half of the season with six points. The Heat's largest lead of the half was 17 points. The Heat led, 34-25, after the first quarter as backup point guard Norris Cole finished the period in style with a 44-foot bank shot from just inside the half-court line. NOTES: Before the game, Gentry said his team is "playing a little bit differently - we're not the same team we've always been from a ball-moving standpoint." ... Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he hasn't forgotten about backup center Joel Anthony, who missed the exhibition season and the first two games of the regular season due to injury. "We have a lot of depth," Spoelstra said. "(But Anthony) is a unique defensive player in this league. He fits almost perfectly into how we want to defend." ... The Suns conclude their three-game road trip with a game Wednesday at Charlotte. ... The Heat plays host to Brooklyn on Wednesday before starting a six-game road trip.
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