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PreHeat: Miami Heat (21-9) face analogously nicknamed Phoenix Suns (13-14)

  • No matter what the Heat will do tonight versus the Phoenix Suns, it won't prove to the critics that they can't beat +.500 teams as the Suns dropped to 13-14 with their loss 118-110 Wednesday night to the unstoppable San Antonio Spurs (24-3).
  • This is the first game that the Suns can count on their recently acquired zombie-Magic trio Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus. As for 33 year-old Carter, he'll avoid knee surgery that would have set him back about four weeks but is diagnosed with a quad strain. This is Carter we're talking about so we just won't know if he can push through the pain and suit up anyway. The Suns must have been so desperate to unload Hedo Turkoglu that the results of their physical on Vinsanity must have been good enough for them regardless.
  • The loss of their leading scorer Jason Richardson (19.3 points) in the blockbuster trade will hurt them but their interior defense against the Heat in their first matchup (a 123-96 bloodbath in Miami) was positively atrocious and Gortat can certainly help. Pietrus can also give them quality minutes on both ends of the floor.
  • Chris Bosh is averaging 28.1 points and 11.7 rebounds through his last seven games against Phoenix. James has averaged 34.0 points over his last five games in Phoenix and Wade has averaged 31.4 in five career visits (via ESPN).
  • The Suns have already used seven different starting lineups in 2010-11 (26 games) after using eight in 82 games in 2009-10. Tonight will likely match that total.
  • Grant Hill became the first NBA player over the age of 38 to record a game of at least 30 points and 10 rebounds since Michael Jordan on February 27, 2003. Perhaps Carter can emulate another former Magic player who has overcome a lengthy injury history to maintain a high level of production deep into his late 30s. Or not.
  • Mike Miller at Wednesday's Heat practice - "I’ll just go out there and have fun. Obviously for me, I’m just happy to be back. So I just try to make the most of it. Phoenix is going to be a fun game. Just go out there and see if we can handle business."
  • Erik Spoelstra - "Probably, the reality (is that) Big Z and Damp probably won't play big minutes. Against the Lakers, you can imagine that both of them probably will play a little more."
Probable Heat starters: Carlos Arroyo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Probable Suns starters: Steve Nash, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, Robin Lopez

Tipoff: 10:30 p.m., US Airways Arena.

TV: Sun Sports, TNT. Radio: WAXY (790-AM), WQBA (1140-AM, Spanish)