Saddled with an uncharacteristically poor performance from LeBron James, the Miami Heat couldn’t avoid a loss to one of the worst teams in the league.
James will try to help his club bounce back Tuesday night when it visits the Phoenix Suns, whom he dominated in a victory earlier this season.
Miami (35-14) shot 52.9 percent during a 6-1 run that included wins over Western Conference powers San Antonio and the Los Angeles Clippers. James scored 30 or more in three of the last four of those games and had hit 52.0 percent or better in nine of his past 10, but he endured his worst shooting effort of the season in a 94-89 loss at Utah on Saturday.
James was 4 of 13 with 13 points — just one more than his lowest total since joining the Heat.
"It was just one of those games where offensively we were out of rhythm and you try to win on the defense end," James said.
The Heat lost for just the second time when holding their opponent to fewer than 100 points. They missed their last four shots from the field after Ray Allen cut the deficit to two on a 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining.
Miami shot 43.3 percent for the game and 11 for 30 (36.7) in the second half, posting its lowest point total since a 90-84 loss at Indiana on Dec. 10.
Chris Bosh also struggled to find his shot, scoring 13 and going 3 of 12.
"We didn’t shoot the ball well like we are capable of doing," James said. "We had some great looks, including myself, some really open looks."
He’s made quite a few of those against Phoenix recently, averaging 32.4 points and 55.1 percent shooting in his last seven games in the series. James shot a season-best 78.6 percent in a 107-92 home win over Phoenix on Nov. 25, going 11 of 14 with 35 points.
Dwyane Wade scored 21 with 12 assists in Miami’s 10th win in 11 meetings.
The Suns (30-20) were 8 of 32 from 3-point range in that contest but are coming off an efficient performance from beyond the arc, going 11 for 21 in a 122-109 win over Golden State on Saturday as they avoided a third straight loss.
Phoenix led by only four in the fourth until Goran Dragic took over late, scoring 13 of his career-high 34 points in the last 6:56, going 5 for 5 from the field including three 3-pointers.
Dragic has averaged 26.9 points in his last seven games while shooting 62.7 percent and going 19 of 30 from 3-point range.
"I was kind of cruising the third quarter," said Dragic, who was left off the Western Conference All-Star roster despite averaging a career-best 20.4 points. "I just hit one 3 and I was not aggressive enough, and then the fourth quarter I just started playing. I just started feeling good."
Gerald Green scored 25 points and was 10 of 15 after totaling 23 points while going 9 for 33 in his previous three games.
"These guys were sharp," coach Jeff Hornacek said. "The one thing I told them, especially that fourth quarter, they played smart."
Dragic was 5 of 12 with 14 points in the first meeting with Miami, while Green was 2 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Bosh had just seven points in that contest after averaging 26.2 in his previous 13 games against the Suns.