Preview: Suns at Heat, 5 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona
MIAMI – After a narrow loss on Sunday in Atlanta, the Suns (19-46) get right back into action Monday as their four-game southeastern road trip brings them to Miami to take on the Heat (33-30).
The Suns fell to 10-22 on the road after Sunday afternoon’s 113-112 loss to the Hawks.
“I got the shot I wanted,” Booker told the media. “I picked a point on the floor. I got to it, but I just missed.”
Booker finished with 20 points, snapping his streak of him 30-plus in four straight games — the longest such streak by a Suns player since Amare Stoudemire in 2004. The 21-year-old Booker is averaging 25.2 points per game and joined LeBron James and Kevin Durant as the three youngest players in NBA history to score 4,000 career points.
TJ Warren scored in Sunday’s loss and is averaging 19.5 points per game.
The Suns have also gotten a nice lift from point guard Elfrid Payton, acquired from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline. He is averaging 17.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists since joining Phoenix and produced his second triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high 14 assists.
Miami’s major trade-deadling acquisition was Dwyane Wade, and coach Erik Spoelstra says he will continue to serve in a reserve role, even with starting shooting guard Tyler Johnson and primary backup Wayne Ellington out with injuries.
Spoelstra wants Wade, a 12-time NBA All-Star now on the down side of his basketball career, to get comfortable in his role as the igniter of the Heat’s second team.
Wade, who essentially played that role in 2008 when he helped Team USA win Olympic gold, is fine with Spoelstra’s plan.
“It’s not weird,” Wade said. “I came off the bench for a long time before you all knew who I was. My ego is not too big, especially at this point. I am 36 years old.
“These guys are the future of this organization. I am definitely not the future. I am cool with that. I have done a lot of work. To be able to come off the bench, play 20 to 25 minutes and help this team win — that is what I am cool with at this point in my career.”
Wade had a two-game stretch last week in which he combined for 52 points. In other words, he can still be very effective, even in shorter minutes. Miami needs that type of productivity as it starts its playoff push.
The Heat open Monday’s games in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
Miami’s starting lineup is led by former Sun Goran Dragic, who leads the team in scoring (17.4) and assists (4.9). Center Hassan Whiteside is averaging 13.9 points and leads the team in rebounds (12.0) and blocked shots (1.7).