Game #11: Phoenix Suns (6-4) vs. Miami Heat (6-4)

The Heat is coming off of their longest break of the young season, and tonight they start a run of 3 games in 4 nights.  Actually, looking ahead at their schedule I noticed that the Heat play 3 games in 4 nights every week until the end of December.  Playing games so often and frequently will only help the Heat adapt to one another and work on their offensive playbook. 

Getting back to the aforementioned ‘longest break' the Heat just got, the timing of it couldn't have been better for the banged up Miami squad.  Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade were held out of practice on Monday to rest their respective injuries but both returned to the practice floor on Tuesday and will play tonight.  It also helped LeBron James' bruised shin and James Jones' sore back heal up a bit. 

Miami will have their work cut out for them in more then one category.  We all know how the Heat have struggled against the better point guards in the league and tonight will get to chase around the great Steve Nash.  Over his last six games, Nash is averaging 19.8 points 12.0 assists.  He also loves playing in Miami, scoring 29.7 points on 70.8% shooting over his last three visits to the AAA. 

The other area where the Heat will have their hands full is defending the three-pointers.  Phoenix is ranked 5th in the NBA, hitting 39.8% of their shots from downtown.  This past Sunday the Suns played in Los Angeles and hit a franchise record 22 shots from beyond the arc en route to handing the Lakers their first home loss of the season. 

For the second game in row Erik Spoelstra is expected to start center Zydrunas Ilgauskas and bring Joel Anthony off the bench.  Spo explained his decision after the Heat's win over Toronto last Thursday, saying that the majority of teams in the NBA start games with a bigger lineup and go smaller as the game goes on.  Ilgauskas told Coach Spo that he wanted to continue coming off the bench and not take Anthony's job, but for now Spoelstra is going to keep the lineup like this and see how it goes.  

Big Z ended up scoring a season-high 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting against the Raptors. This is in no way surprising because his long-range jumper has been the most consistent thing on the Heat this year.  Zydrunas' 12-point total against Toronto almost matched the total amount of points scored by Joel Anthony this season (15).

GAME NOTES

  • After starting the season just 1-3, Phoenix has won three straight games and five of their last six. 
  • They have also had some recent success in Miami, winning four of their last five inside the Heat's house. 
  • Chris Bosh might be in store for a big night.  In his last 5 games against the Suns, Bosh is averaging 27.2 ppg and 12.4 rpg. 
  • Wade has had similar success against Phoenix in his last 5 games against them, averaging 33.0 points. 
  • Suns guard Jason Richardson is leading the NBA with 31 three-pointers and averages 21.2 ppg.
  • On the injury report, its D-Wade (shoulder) and Udonis (knee) officially listed as probable. 
  • As for the Suns, center Robin Lopez (knee) is out and expected to stay out until at least December. 

Tonight's game has an early 7pm tipoff.  It will be broadcast nationally on ESPN as well as locally on Sun Sports.  If you want to go to the game but don't have tickets, don't forget about Peninsula Is Mightier's new partnership with TiqIQ that not only helps you get tickets right here on PIM but they also search through several ticket selling websites and finds you the best deals out there. 

For tonights game I see some great seats in the bottom of the 300 level for as low as $15 each.  Just click here to check them out.  You can always find tickets for any Heat game just by clicking the 'Tickets' tab located towards the top of the PIM home page underneath where it says "Where we all live in Miami-DWade County"

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