The Phoenix Suns (4-6) are set to take on the defending NBA champion Miami Heat (7-3) tonight in downtown Phoenix. The Suns have lost their last 2 games and will look to bounce back against Miami at home; the Suns are 3-2 at home this season.
Miami is currently on the final game of their 6 game road trip, they’ve gone 3-2 on this trip thus far with losses against the Clippers & the Grizzlies.
Miami has been stellar at home winning all 4 games in south beach however they are only 3-3 on the road. The Suns are fresh off a tough loss to the Lakers in their first meeting with the Lakers this season. The Suns and Heat are even in this match-up according to ESPN.com; neither team is the favorite.
LeBron James has been on a tear lately averaging nearly 32 points per game in his last 3 games and in his last game against the Suns on November 5th LeBron scored 23 points in a 124-99 Miami victory.
Both Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade listed as day to day on the injured list for Miami. Markieff Morris and Jermaine O’Neal are listed as day to day for the Suns but both players played in the game against the Lakers last night; expect both guys to play in tomorrow night’s game as well.
Keys to the game: Suns
– Don’t turn the ball over. The Suns have done a great job taking care of the ball all season but committed 15 turnovers against the Lakers last night that led to 26 points for L.A. Miami has an easy time scoring the basketball as it is, the Suns cannot afford to give these guys more easy points.
– Slow down LeBron! LeBron has scored 38, 30, and 27 in his last 3 games. Michael Beasley didn’t do a good job slowing down LeBron the first time; maybe Alvin Gentry should consider sticking Jared Dudley or P.J Tucker on him for most of the game.
– Super-Subs let’s go!! The Suns need to take a page out of the Clippers formula when they beat Miami down the stretch with their bench guys. The Suns bench may not be as good as that of the Clippers but when those guys get hot watch out.
Keys to the game: Heat
– Get everyone else going. LeBron will do this thing regardless of what happens but he needs help. If he’s going to be a one man army all night long, Miami becomes a mediocre team.
– Rebounding. Miami is a small team which is their single weakness. LeBron and Wade makes up for that because they are such good rebounders but Miami can’t give Phoenix 2nd chance points all night long if they want to win this game.
– Play 48 minutes. The Suns has had a knack for making comebacks all season long, partly because of their ability to get hot but also because teams tend to relax against the Suns because comebacks haven’t really been part of their game the last couple years; well this year is different.
– Dwyane Wade. Wade has been completely off this season averaging only close to 17 points a game. Wade is questionable for tonight’s game and Wade also missed Thursday night’s game against Denver. If Wade plays it changes the landscape of the game but if he does play he’ll need to step it up. Should Wade miss the game, Mike Miller will probably start in his place again like he did Thursday.
Match-up of the night!
– Here we go again, Michael Beasley vs. LeBron James. Beasley has yet to have a breakout game this season and the last time he faced LeBron, he wasn’t so hot. Michael Beasley has played well the last 3 games but lately it seems he’s trying harder to get his teammates involved than he is trying to scorer so we’ll see what goes on tonight. Michael Beasley has started off the last couple games well but he’s yet to have a complete game this season.