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News » Suns-Heat Preview 2009-11-03

Suns-Heat Preview 2009-11-03

Suns-Heat Preview 2009-11-03The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat have very different styles of play, but one thing they have in common is undefeated records.

They won't have that in common anymore after Tuesday night.

The Suns and Heat both try to avoid their first loss when they meet at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Phoenix and Miami are both off to 3-0 starts, but they've gotten there in contrasting fashion. While the Suns are relying on a high-scoring offense, the Heat have been using defense to shut down the opposition.

Miami will try to contain the Suns after holding its last two opponents below 90 points, including a 95-87 home win over Chicago on Sunday.

Miami has held its first three opponents to 38.6 percent shooting, including 21.6 from 3-point range. The Heat have yet to be outrebounded.

Dwyane Wade scored 25 points Sunday, surpassing 10,000 for his career in the third quarter. The Heat limited the Bulls to 17 points in the fourth.

The only bad news from the otherwise solid victory was that Jermaine O'Neal broke his nose late in the fourth quarter. The oft-injured center doesn't expect to miss any playing time, though, and said he won't wear a protective mask.

Against the potent Suns, Miami may need its offense to score more than the 95.5 points it has averaged in the last two games.

Phoenix will be looking to force Miami to play up-tempo - a strategy that has paid off against other opponents. The Suns have given up 100 points in each of their first three games, but they are averaging 117.3 of their own and have reached 120 in their last two games.

Much of Phoenix's success has come from beyond the arc. The Suns are shooting 52.4 percent (33 of 63) from 3-point range for the season and are coming off a 120-112 victory over Minnesota on Sunday in which they connected on a season-high 14 3-pointers. Channing Frye hit six for a second straight game.

Steve Nash had another solid effort with 25 points and 14 assists. He had another scorer on the court with the return of Jason Richardson, who finished with 23 points in his first game following a two-game suspension for a drunk-driving conviction.

"I was definitely excited to get back on the floor," said Richardson, who shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range. "I feel I'm now a better person and a better player."

Richardson will be looking to help the Suns get their five-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams off to a good start. Phoenix will also visit undefeated Orlando and Boston, as well as Washington and Philadelphia. The Suns are looking for their first 4-0 start since 2004-05.

"It's great to start 3-0, it's important for us to do it while at home," coach Alvin Gentry said. "We have a huge, huge test coming up. We have five tough road games. But if we go 5-0 on the road, I'm not going to think we're great. And if we go 0-5, I'm not going to think the season's over."

The Heat swept last season's two-game series with the Suns, including a 135-129 victory in Miami led by 35 points from Wade, who is averaging 36.3 in his last three games against Phoenix.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 3, 2009


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