Phoenix Suns v Miami Heat 1/3 Game Preview

Phoenix Suns (10-25) v Miami Heat (10-25)

Tuesday 1/3/2017 7pm
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ
Fox Sports Arizona/Arizona Sports 98.7FM

Season Series – Series tied 1-0
All-Time Series – Phoenix leads 31-24 (Miami has won 12 in a row)
Last Matchup – March 3, 2016, Miami won 108-92
Suns’ Last Game – Loss to Los Angeles Clippers 109-98
Heat’s Last Game – Loss to Detroit Pistons 107-98
Suns’ Scoring AveragesPTS/G: 105.9 (10th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 112.8 (29th of 30)
Heat’s Scoring Averages – PTS/G: 98.4 (29th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 101.9 (7th of 30)

Preview

Phoenix Suns

The Suns never led as the Clippers controlled last night’s game in a wire-to-wire victory, never really giving the Suns any hope or opportunity to steal a game on the road. Missing both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the Clippers defense kept the Suns at arms length for 48 minutes, with the Suns shooting an abysmal 38.2%, making only 2 three-pointers all night. For a complete wrapup and Valley of the Suns opinions, read here…After last night’s terrible shooting night that included 2-15 from three, the Suns are now 3rd worst in the NBA in eFG% with only 48.7%…They are 6th worst in 3PT% with 34.1%…They are 9th worst in FG% with only 44.2%…Phoenix upped it’s fouls per game average to 25.4 after 29 fouls against the Clippers – 9 players recorded at least 2 fouls for Phoenix…Tonight’s game with be the 7th time this season that the Suns will play a back-to-back. They are 2-4 thus far in the second game. They have been outscored 111.5-103.8 on average in those games; although their assist rate (20.2 per game) and steal rate (10.5) are above average in the second night of a back-to-back, so too are their turnover (17.3 per game) and personal foul rates (26.7)…All that being said, of Phoenix’s 10 wins this season, 7 of them have come against Eastern Conference opponents. Although, the only game that the Suns have played against an Eastern Conference opponent who had a winning percentage worse than Miami’s current 28.6% win percentage, was the then 3-10 (23.1%) Philadelphia 76ers on November 19, and the Sixers won 120-105…Devin Booker is a better road scorer than a home scorer, and the breakdown is fascinating. Booker averages 20.6 points on the road, and only 16.3 at home. For a further breakdown of Devin Booker: Road Warrior, read here…Booker, on the second night of a back-to-back, averages only 14.4 points per game on 31.9% shooting, and 22.7% from beyond the arc…Eric Bledsoe loves to dip his toe in the 20.0 points per game scoring average on the season, which is exactly where he sits after last night’s game…In the second of a back-to-back, Bledsoe remains very consistent – if not turning up his game a bit – to his season averages, carrying a 19.5pt, 6.3ast, 5.8rb, 48.4 fg%, and 92.0 ft% in those games. His three-point shooting does wane, however, as he averages only 21.1%…Brandon Knight’s three-point percentage, however, skyrockets on the second game of a back-to-back, as he averages 47.1% from three. He generally receives fewer minutes than the two starting guards, so there may be a correlation between his fresher legs vs theirs that may argue that Knight should get additional minutes – or even start. Devin Booker averages 9 more minutes in the second game of a back-to-back than Knight…

Miami Heat

Miami’s 98.4 points per game and have a 100.9 OFFRTG are both 2nd worst in the league. The Suns historically hold the Heat to only 101.0…The Heat care for the ball on offense and are 9th in the league with only 13.3 turnovers per game, 1.3 off of the league best…Miami is 5th worst in steals per game with 6.8, only .6 off of the league’s basement…The Heat block the 5th most shots per game with 5.6…The Suns are Heat are neck-and-neck in own shots blocked per game, with Miami averaging 5.6, and the Suns 5.7. The Nets are the league’s worst with 5.8 own shots blocked per game…The Heat are fouled the second fewest times per game with only 18.4, 1.0 more than league least Detroit…Miami has a 49.1% eFG%, 5th worst in the league…Collect the ball on a Heat turnover? Don’t expect to score easily. Miami only gives up 14.1 points off of turnovers, 4th best in the league…The Suns lead the league in fastbreak points; Miami is 3rd in the league in opponents fastbreak points with only 10.6…The intangibles can sometimes get the Heat in trouble as Miami is 4th worst in deflections with only 13.5 per game and they draw the 2nd fewest charges per game with only .23…Like the Los Angeles Clippers last night, the Miami Heat boast 8 players who average double-digit scoring this season (by contrast, Phoenix has four)…The Heat are led by Goran Dragic, who averages 18.8 points and 6.7 assists, and Hassan Whiteside who averages 17.3 points and 14.3 rebounds (which leads the league)…This season Dragic has been a consistent three-point shooter, averaging 40.8% from long distance and comes into tonight’s game with a 50.0% eFG%…Goran Dragic loves to play against his former team – the Phoenix Suns. In 9 games against Phoenix, he averages 14.8 points, 3rd highest against any team in his career; 3.0 rebounds, tied for 7th highest against any team; his 45.8% three-point percentage is 3rd highest in his career; and his 45.8% fg% is 7th highest; Last season he torched the Suns for 23.5pts, highest against any team in the league, and with 54.5% shooting, tied for his second highest percentage against any team. His 54.5% three-point percentage was the highest against any team that he played more than one game against…Fortunately for Phoenix but unfortunately for fans of the player, Hassan Whiteside is not expected to play tonight, missing his second game in a row due to an eye injury he suffered late in the game against Boston three nights ago. The injury was serious enough that following an MRI yesterday, he was told by doctors not to fly and thus will not even be in Phoenix for tonight’s game. When on the court, he has had 24 double-doubles so far, not reaching the plateau only ten times this season. Whiteside also averages 2.2 blocks per game, below his 3.7 from last year, but still good for 4th best in the league this season…Wayne Ellington shoots 7.1 three-pointers per game, making up 66.0% of his field goal attempts. He is a 33.6% three-point shooter…

For the most in-depth statistical analysis of the Phoenix Suns out there and opinions you won’t hear anywhere else, be sure to follow Valley of the Suns on Facebook a facebook.com/PhoenixSunsBlog and on Twitter at @ValleyOfTheSuns

As always, we love to hear from you! Leave your comments below on any post!

This article originally appeared on