Preview: Miami Heat (21-9) at Phoenix Suns (13-14)

Miami Heat 95, Phoenix Suns 83


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PHOENIX — It’s curtains up time for the new-look Suns.

After all the talk and speculation since the blockbuster six-player trade with the Magic was announced Saturday, Phoenix will finally get to see what it acquired out on the floor.

Newcomers Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat will make their debuts Thursday night against the Heat, but according to The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro, Vince Carter will not be in uniform.

Still, after playing two straight road games undermanned, it will be a breath of fresh air to get Pietrus and Gortat into the mix.

And what better team to start out against than their old in-state rivals, Miami.

“We all [will] have to help each other; they are a great team who plays hard,” Gortat said. “We have to play our style and run, run, run to make sure we make them tired.”

The Magic were 1-1 against the Heat before the trade.

“[You have to] challenge their shots and make them work on defense,” Carter said. “You’re definitely not going to shut all three of them down.”

Referring to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Carter is right. The Big Three each pose a different threat that makes the Heat difficult to defend.

“They’re great players; they’re very unselfish guys,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “They know how to win. Any one of those guys are capable of averaging 30 points in this league. They’ve [also] got some support players that have surprised people.”

Coro also reported that Wade sat out the team’s afternoon shootaround with a sore knee and his availability against the Suns would be decided later tonight by coach Erik Spoelstra.

Miami is coming off a tough two-point loss at home to the Mavericks that snapped a 12-game winning streak.

“I don’t think losing to Dallas is anything to turn up your nose about,” Gentry said. “We’ve watched a lot of tape of what Dallas has done to those guys [in its two wins against the Heat].”

Before the winning streak that vaulted Miami back to the top of its division, the team had problems adjusting to each other’s style of play.

“It was inevitable that they were going to struggle a little bit,” Steve Nash said. “It was a whole new team. Having said that, their struggles are probably behind them and it’s going to be a big challenge.”

As for how Phoenix’s new players will affect rotations, that’s still being kept under wraps.

“I might play Gortat, Robin [Lopez] and Channing [Frye] all at the same time; it’s all a possibility, it’s just good for us to have some size,” Gentry said. “We [just] have to manage our turnovers and do a better job on the offensive boards.”

Regardless of how he is used, Gortat is excited about the possibility of playing at the same time as Lopez. At practice Wednesday, Gortat played the four and Lopez was at the five.

“If you’ve got two 7-feet guys in the paint, then that’ll be tremendous,” Gortat said. “When you have guys like LeBron James and D-Wade driving in the lane, they are going to have to think about us.”

And 1

The Heat defeated the Suns by 27 in Miami on Nov. 17. … In their last five trips to Phoenix apiece, James and Wade have averaged 34 and 31 points a game, respectively.

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