The leaders of the Eastern and Western conference are set to meet on Wednesday night as the Miami Heat will host the Phoenix Suns at 7:30 PM ET at FTX Arena. The two teams have both had seasons to remember thus far, with the Suns having a clear edge in the standings on paper.
There’s a lot more to unpack in this game than meets the eye, though, and this has the potential to be one of the best regular season matchups of the season.
Phoenix Suns-Miami Heat Game Preview
This will be the second of two regular season meetings between the Suns and Heat. The first matchup was two months ago, and saw a convincing Heat victory on the road, 123-100. The Suns come into Miami with the clear moniker of best in the west. They’re 52-13 after a Tuesday night victory over Orlando and have an eight game lead as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
To put it simply, the Suns have been an absolute force this season. They have veteran Chris Paul who is leading the league in assists per game and tied for second in steals with 10.7 and 1.9, respectively. Unsurprisingly, Devin Booker has been their best player as he is 12th in the league in points per game with 25.6. However, Booker has been out due to COVID protocols since February 27th, and his status is unclear for Wednesday night.
The Suns as a team are top five in points per game, just barely second in field goal percentage and they lead the league in point differential at +7.7. Their defense is nothing to be scoffed at either as they’re 7th best in the league in points allowed per game, 10th in rebounds per game and 6th in steals per game.
On Miami’s side, they’ve had a very successful regular season at 44-22 under longtime head coach Erik Spoelstra. They currently have a three game lead over the Sixers and Bucks atop the Eastern Conference and are 8-2 over their last 10.
The Heat have been dominant at home with a 23-7 record in the 305 and are 16-9 against Western Conference opponents. At the same time, the Suns have actually been better in these two regards though, as they’re 24-6 on the road and an astounding 22-4 against the Eastern Conference.
The Heat’s leading scorer is the young Tyler Herro who is 24th in points per game with 20.8. Kyle Lowry has also been a force for them at point guard as he is 8th best in the league in assists with 7.8 per game. Shooting guard Duncan Robinson has also been solid as he is 13th best in 3 pointers made per game.
As a team, the Heat are middle of the pack in points per game at 16th best, 12th best in field goal percentage and 5th best in point differential at +5. On the defensive side the Heat have been elite as they’re 4th best in points allowed at 104.6. However, they’ve struggled in rebounds and blocks as they’re 17th and 30th in those stats, respectively.
The Heat are a well-rounded team, but they’ve had a much more uphill battle in the Eastern Conference due in part to the closeness of their immediate competition in the standings.
The Heat have home court and are red hot of late. It’s a tough call because the Suns have been so dominant over their competition all season, but their loss to Miami at home, coupled with the potential continued absence of Devin Booker bodes well for the Heat.
This will be a close game but the Heat will win by five. Final score prediction: 108-103.
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