When: Monday, March 2, 2015, 5:30 local time (7:30 EST)
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Watch/Listen: TV: NBATV/Fox Sports Arizona Radio: Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
December 9, 2014 (at Phoenix) - Heat 103, Suns 97
Chris Bosh was electric for the Heat in this one, putting up 34 points (14-21 from the field) to go with 9 rebounds, four steals and four three pointers. The Suns led late in the game before Bosh put the Heat up for good with a jumper that made it 92-91 with 2:54 remaining.
Marcus Morris had a (then) career high 25 points in the loss. Gerald Green and Marcus both hit five threes off the bench for the Suns. Eric Bledsoe had just four points to go with seven turnovers as the starters had a less than stellar performance.
If you're not an avid basketball fan it's possible you've never heard of Hassan Whiteside. After a few good showings early in January, the 25 year old (basically rookie) Whiteside exploded onto the scene with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks against the Chicago Bulls on January 25th. Even more impressive, he did it in less than 25 minutes... off the bench. The 12 blocks tied him for 8th most in a single game in NBA history. Whiteside, who has transitioned to a full time starter, has been a force on the glass, devouring at least 13 rebounds in nine of his last 13 games.
The emergence of Whiteside, however, has still not palliated the loss of the Heat's best player, Chris Bosh, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season after blood clots were discovered on one of his lungs. Bosh, a 10 time All-Star, was averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Not to bury the headline, this game (hopefully) has special significance due to a reunion with Goran Dragic, who was traded to the Heat before the trade deadline on February 19th. Dragic hasn't quite performed like the team leader/max player he deems himself to be so far for the Heat, scoring in single digits in two of five games. Miami is 2-3 in Dragic's five games with the team and is currently 7th in the Eastern Conference, but is a scant 1.5 games ahead of the 11th place Boston Celtics.
What else can you say about the Phoenix Suns this season? Coming off one of the team's best games of the season with a 117-113 overtime win against the Oklahoma City Thunder the Suns just didn't show up at all in a humiliating 101-74 thrashing at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs. Phoenix set a franchise record low with a measly 24 points in the first half. If the Spurs hadn't called off the dogs the Suns might not have scored 60.
While the Suns should have been busy licking their wounds and introspectively wondering how they had just played their worst game of the season, Markieff Morris took the opportunity to pontificate about the listless nature of the fans.
I know we have a lot of genuine fans in the first row, the second row, the third row, but once you go up it seems like fans are at the game just watching. We stand up and fight and I got to do this (mimicking riling up the fans) 15 times to get the fans up. I don't think that's fair to us, putting our heart and our soul out there trying to get in the playoffs for this organization and this city, to try and bring this city back to where it was, to get that type of treatment. I'm not just talking about this game. I'm talking about the whole year.
Meanwhile, the Suns are sleep walking through games and getting their asses kicked and are currently 3-9 in their last 12 games in the middle of a playoff race. Good luck with that criticism, Kieff.
Markieff already got in trouble earlier this season for not talking to the media, but this sure seems a lot worse than reticence.
Maybe it's better for him to keep his mouth shut and let people think he's a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
What To Watch For:
Knight and Dragic are both game time decisions. Hopefully Goran plays... so the Suns can destroy him. Hopefully Knight plays... because go Suns.
Alex Len will draw the daunting task of corralling Whiteside, who has been one of the league's most stunning surprises this season. Alex's minutes continue to ramp up as he has played at least 31 minutes in five of the past six games.
After playing one of the best game of his career against the Thunder (28 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists and 4 blocks) Bledsoe fell off a cliff, like the rest of the team, with just 12 points and zero assists against the Spurs. While Eric needs to bounce back this game, he needs to bring a more even effort in general as the leader of this team.
The Final Word(s):
Buzzer beaters, technicals, sideline shouting matches, trust issues, a playoff race collapse and ripping the fans... Your 2014-15 Phoenix Suns!
Try to show up tonight, Suns.
Your crappy fans deserve better.