The Miami Heat was up to the task of keeping up with the Denver Nuggets for the first half.
But the Heat was running on empty after intermission and was routed 102-82 by the Nuggets (10-12) on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center.
Miami (10-12), who broke a four-game losing streak on Tuesdayat Phoenix, was buried in the second half. The Heat struggled to slow down the Nuggets’ aggressive offense on the second night of a back-to-back but Denver outscored Miami 31-14 in the third quarter to take command of the game.
“This is the worst back-to-back in league,” Dwyane Wade said. “It just got away from us in the third quarter. We did a good job of fighting but the third quarter was just a terrible quarter.”
The Heat fell behind 16-4 in the first quarter but battled back to be only down one at the end of the first 12 minutes. The teams went back-and-forth up until intermission. The score was tied at 48 at halftime but it fell apart after that.
“In the first half I liked the way we responded a couple times,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were able to fight back and keep the game close. We just didn’t have enough juice.”
The Heat fell to 4-3 in second games of back-to-back this season.
Chris Bosh led the team with 14 points in the loss. Luol Deng contributed 12 and Wade finished with 10.
Coach Spoelstra mentioned before the game that the team needed to slow down Ty Lawson on Wednesday. The Heat struggled to pull that off as the speedy Denver point guard went for 10 points and nine assists while getting into the paint with ease. The Nuggets finished with 23 fast-break points and 40 points in the paint.
“Just didn’t come out with enough energy (in the third quarter),” Spoelstra said. “They were scoring very easily and put a lot of pressure on our offense to keep up.”
The offense that kept with the Nuggets in the first half faltered in the second. The Heat scored 34 points in final two quarters after netting 48 in the first half. Miami finished the game shooting 36.6 percent from the field while the Nuggets shot over 44 percent.
“We didn’t have any easy buckets or looks,” Bosh said. “We kind of just folded in the second. We played decent in the first but after that it shifted quickly. Give Denver credit, they played their game.”
The Nuggets got the momentum right from the start of the third quarter. Denver went on an 11-2 run fueled by Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo that sealed the Heat’s fate. Another 14-4 run to start the fourth sent Miami to its fifth loss in the last six games.
“You certainly don’t like it to get like that, but I wouldn’t compare it to other blowouts,” Spoelstra said. “We made some progress on this road trip and our goal is to end this road trip with a win.”
Chandler led the Nuggets in scoring with 17 and Afflalo added 16. Kenneth Faried returned from injury with 13 points and eight rebounds.