After a costly loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, the Miami Heat simply can’t afford to lose a home game, especially to a lesser opponent, at this stage of the season when they host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
Phoenix already beat them at home 99-90 on January 3, snapping a 12-game losing streak against Miami, and will seek a season sweep for the first time since the 2006-07 season. They are currently on a six-game road trip, tied for their longest this season, and they lost the first game of the trip to the Detroit Pistons 112-95 on Sunday as part of a four-game losing streak.
This will be the Heat’s 36th home game of the season and they are 7-6 against Western Conference teams at the AA Arena. Dion Waiters remains hobbled by his ankle injury and the team sorely missed him in his first game out against Portland when they could have used his firepower to counter Damian Lillard’s onslaught. Speaking of firepower, sensational second-year Suns guard Devin Booker sat out their last game with right ankle soreness and is questionable for tonight.
Miami has scored 100+ points in 15 consecutive home games — the second-longest streak in franchise history — but their defense has yielded too many points as of late, allowing 100+ points in the last four games.
GameTime: 7:30 PM ET, AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida
All-Time Heat-to-Head: The Heat is 24-32 all-time versus Phoenix during the regular season and is 13-15 in games played in Miami. Despite their setback in Phoenix, the Heat have won a franchise-best six straight games against the Suns in Miami.
Probabilities: numberFire.com is currently giving Miami an 82.6% chance of victory. They also have them ranked as the 10th best NBA team with a 60.1% chance to make the playoffs. Here is a full breakdown of projections for the game as it compares the matchup to similar games and teams in the past.
Miami: Waiters is out with a sprained left ankle. Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and Justise Winslow are all out as well.
Phoenix: Booker is questionable with right ankle soreness. Leandro Barbosa (illness) and Ronnie Price (left lower leg contusion) are also questionable. Dragan Bender has missed 23 games so far after right ankle surgery. Tyson Chandler (rest), Eric Bledsoe (knee) and Brandon Knight (back) are all out.
Miami: 34-36, .485. Third in the Southeast Division, eight games behind the division leading Washington Wizards. Ninth in the Eastern Conference, 12.5 games behind the East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers. Last Five: W-L-W-W-L.
Phoenix: 22-48, .314. Fourth in the Pacific Division and 14th in the Western Conference, 34 games behind the division and conference leading Golden State Warriors. Last Five: W-L-L-L-L.
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Josh Richardson
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside
PG - Tyler Ulis
SG - Devin Booker
SF - T.J. Warren
PF - Marquese Chriss
C - Alex Len