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Miami Heat

Big halves from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic help the Heat hand the Suns their biggest loss of the season

Goran Dragic and Jimmy Butler
(NBA Getty Images)

As part of their three-game West Coast road trip and the first game of a back-to-back, the Heat used huge scoring nights from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic to beat the Suns 124-108.

Butler and Dragic, both former All-Stars, combined for 59 points as the Heat shot the lights-out to bounce back from their 20-point loss in Denver a couple of days earlier.

The loss is the Suns' first convincing defeat of the season with their two previous defeats coming by a combined margin of two points.

Here are a few of the biggest takeaways from this game between two teams who have started the season strong:

Butler takes over 1st half, Dragic controls the second

Jimmy Butler arguably had the game of his career, at least from an efficiency standpoint.

He scored 30 of his 34 points in the first half, ensuring the Heat carried a seven-point lead to the locker room. Including the playoffs, he is the third player in franchise history to have a 30-point half and is the first player in the league this season, to have a 30-point half.

He shot a perfect 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and a 11-of-11 from the free-throw line while only committing one turnover in his 34 minutes of action.

With Butler scoring only four points in the second half, Goran Dragic took over. Since his trade to the Heat, the Slovenian has scored more than 20 points in four of his five trips to Phoenix.

He scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, including a deep buzzer-beating three in the third quarter, to help the Heat hold off any comeback attempt by the Suns. He finished the game with six rebounds and four assists while shooting 9-of-16 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.

One off-night or sign of things to come?

The standings will show this as the third loss for the Suns but as mentioned earlier, this was the first game of the season that they were thoroughly outplayed.

The team's star Devin Booker had an off-night by his standards. He had 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting while committing six of the team's 15 turnovers. In fact, the team, as a whole, didn't shoot it well - 37-of-84 from the field and 11-of-32 from the 3-point distance.

While these aren't exactly bad shooting numbers, the Heat just outshot them in every aspect. Miami's 124 points were the most allowed by the Suns this season and only the second time they have allowed more than 110 through their first eight games.

Over the next couple of weeks, the Suns do have a couple of big tests to look forward to in the Lakers and the Celtics. A chance to show that this game was an off-night defensively rather than a sign of things to come.

Heat's best start in six years

The Heat have had the Suns' number in the recent past.

This one comes with the Heat shooting 45-of-82 (54.9%) from the field and 15-of-28 (53.6%) from 3-point land. They committed as many turnovers as the Suns (15) but outscored their opponents 22-12 in points off turnovers.

The Heat had six players score in double figures as the team improves to 6-2 for the season, their best 8-game start since the 2012-13 season.

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