The Miami Heat will be visiting the Phoenix Suns tonight at 9:00 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, AZ. Tonight will mark the second and final meeting of the season between the two clubs. The Heat will be playing in the final game of a six game road trip. The first five games would see the Heat stagger wins and losses, with a win over Atlanta, a loss to the Grizzlies, a win over Houston, a loss to the Clippers, and a win on Thursday night in Denver. They hope to buck the trend tonight by finishing off the trip with a second straight victory. After keeping it close through the first half, the Suns couldn't keep up with the new look Los Angeles Lakers late last night, losing by 12. They try to turn it around tonight with the first game of a three game homestand. They'll also face the Portland Trail Blazers and the New Orleans Hornets.
The teams last met on November 5th at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Here's NBA.COM's official recap (partial).
LeBron James had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 22 points and the Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 124-99 on Monday night. Chris Bosh finished with 18 points, Ray Allen had 15 and Mario Chalmers finished with his second 11-assist, one-turnover game of the young season for Miami (3-1), which is averaging 111.8 points in the early going.
"It's all geared to our defense," James said. "When we defend, we can do whatever we want offensively."
Which is why, when he took his first look at the stat sheet, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra quickly focused on two numbers - Phoenix shooting 39.8 percent, and Miami holding a 49-38 rebounding edge.
After struggling in those areas over the first three games, Spoelstra demanded change, and his team listened.
"I'll take those two things," Spoelstra said.
The Heat had eight different players make at least one 3-pointer, a franchise record according to STATS LLC.
Shannon Brown led Phoenix with 18 points off the bench. Luis Scola had 15 points, Goran Dragic finished with 13 points and nine assists, and Marcin Gortat scored 12 for the Suns (1-3).
Suns coach Alvin Gentry talked about what how Miami made a championship team even better during the offseason:
"There is a reason they (Miami) have a ring and I think they are a much better team this year than they were last year. When you add Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the mix, two guys that are spacious, obviously keeps the pressure on you to try to guard LeBron James and Dwyane Wade."
For the Suns point of view, check out Bright Side of the Sun.
On Thursday night, Miami visited the Nuggets in Denver to try and reverse a 10 game winless drought in the Mile High city. Here's an excerpt from the NBA.COM recap:
LeBron James had 27 points and 12 assists, Shane Battier was 6-for-7 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points and the Miami Heat ended more than a decade of futility in Denver with a 98-93 win over the Nuggets on Thursday.
Mike Miller had 14 points for the Heat, who snapped a 10-game losing streak in Denver despite not having guard Dwyane Wade, who sat out with a strained right foot.
Andre Miller scored 19 points and nearly brought the Nuggets back from 19 down. JaVale McGee had 18 points and Kenneth Faried scored 16 and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds.
Nuggets veteran point guard Andre Miller spoke about the unfairness of it all:
"The first quarter, that was pretty much the deciding point of the game. And them knocking down 3s. You've got Wade out and you surround LeBron James with 3-point shooters and they knock them down."
To find out what they're saying one mile above sea level, make sure to check in with Denver Stiffs.
The Suns played the Lakers late last night. Partial recap courtesy of NBA.COM:
The Lakers showed off their new look Friday night, even with new coach Mike D'Antoni watching the game with his leg propped up in a back room. They ran, they rebounded and, most of all, they seemed to score at will in the 114-102 victory against the visiting Suns at STAPLES Center.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry was defensive in explaining his teams 4-6 start to the season:
"We've got to be much better in our execution. ... We are still trying to find each other, still trying to figure out rotations."
For more on the Lakers, check out their SB Nation blog, Silver Screen and Roll.
Game Time: 9:00 PM ET
Current Odds: Unavailable
All-Time Series: 31-17, Suns
Season Series: 1-0, Heat
Miami Heat: 7-3, first in the Southeast Division, fourth in the Eastern Conference, tied for seventh in the NBA. Last five: W-L-W-L-W. Current odds of making the postseason: 88.8%
Phoenix Suns: 4-6, fourth in the Pacific Division, tied for 12th in the Western Conference, tied for 21st in the NBA. Last five: W-L-W-L-L, Current odds of making the postseason: 19.4%
Phoenix center Channing Frye is out for the season with an enlarged heart. Miami will be missing Dexter Pittman with a strained quadriceps, maybe for the entire season. The Heat may also sit PG Mario Chalmers (strained right triceps) and SG Dwyane Wade (sprained left foot), although both are listed as questionable.
Starting Lineup/Team Stats: (MPG, PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, BPG); PER
PG - Norris Cole (19.9, 4.8, 1.4, 2.1, 0.3, 0.1); 3.8
SG - Ray Allen (26.9, 12.4, 3.0. 2.4, 1.3, 0.2); 19.5
SF - Shane Battier (25.2, 7.0, 2.1, 0.8, 0.7, 1.0); 10.5
PF - LeBron James (35.9, 24.8, 9.2, 6.8, 0.8, 1.1); 30.4
C - Chris Bosh (32.2, 19.2, 7.1, 1.3, 0.8, 1.3); 24.7
PG - Goran Dragic (33.9, 16.7, 2.7, 7.2, 1.8, 0.2); 21.8
SG - Jared Dudley (28.3, 8.9, 2.4, 1.6, 0.8, 0.2); 9.5
SF - Michael Beasley (29.7, 13.2, 5.1, 3.0, 0.5, 0.9); 10.4
PF - Luis Scola (31.4, 15.6, 8.8, 2.0, 1.2, 0.8); 19.8
C - Marcin Gortat (34.1, 11.7, 10.2, 0.7, 0.8, 3.2); 18.4
Fifth-year Suns starting small forward Michael Beasley played the first two seasons of his career with the Heat, averaging 14.3 points in 28 minutes per game. He spent the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons in Miami, playing 159 games. 17th year veteran Suns reserve center Jermaine O'Neill spent the same period in South Beach, averaging 13.4 points and 6.5 boards through 97 games.
Heat reserve guard James Jones, now in his 10th season, spent two seasons with the Suns, in 2005-06 and 2006-07. He averaged eight points per contest while hitting 38 percent of his three-point attempts in 151 Phoenix games.
If Mario Chalmers plays, it will be his 300th contest as a member of the Heat.
Chris Bosh needs three more field goals to give him 990, moving him past Voshon Lenard into 18th on the all-time list.
Nine rebounds will move Joel Anthony past Bimbo Coles into 19th with 1070.
Seven rebounds for LeBron James will move him past Tim Hardaway into 13th all-time, with 1,181.
With eight more rebounds, forward Udonis Haslem will become Miami's all-time leader, passing Alonzo Mourning with 4,808.
Psychobilly Freakout by Reverend Horton Heat
What happens when the Sun crashes into some Heat? I don't know...what happens when water gets wet? Anyway, whatever happens is sure to overwhelm the casual observer, as will this Music Video.
The model I used tonight (some hard stats, some Kentucky windage) has Miami winning the game 110-92. I have LBJ with 33, Ray Allen with 17 (with at least three three-pointers), and Bosh with 24. Goran Dragic leads the Suns with 20, while Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat pitch in with 16 each in the losing effort.
Back in the real world, Miami is short their starting backcourt, and Cole is a dropoff from the "sexiest man in Alaska," Mario Chalmers. At shooting guard, Ray Allen will more than compensate for the recent play of Dwayne Wade. Look for the usual theatrics from the King (someone will throw him an alley-oop). As for the United Nations of Phoenix....regardless of the team's relative health, the Suns rank last in the NBA in team defense. Although Miami is hobbled, the NBA's most explosive offense could make things ugly for the Suns real fast.