What: Phoenix Suns (8-4) @ Miami Heat (6-7)
When: 5:30 p.m. AZ Time
Where: FTX Arena (at least for now) — Miami, Florida
Watch: Bally Sports AZ
Listen: 98.7 FM
DraftKings Betting Lines: Miami -1.5 favorites, over/under 217
The Phoenix Suns will look to get back on track after a sloppy loss to the Magic in Orlando on Friday night.
Miami has gotten off to a slow start this season, but they currently do hold a 5-4 home record and have won their last two contests. The Suns have had some trouble on the road early on this season with a 2-3 record, while their home record sits at a pristine 6-1.
Chris Paul’s status remains in question, as the veteran point guard is gearing towards a return, but the Suns won’t rush him.
Monty Williams stated: “As much as he wants to get out there, there’s no way we’re going to push it in any regard. We just have to wait and see. Unless he’s 150%, we’re not going to put him on the floor.”
“As much as he wants to get out there, there’s no way we’re going to push it in any regard. We just have to wait and see. Unless he’s 150%, we’re not going to put him on the floor.” #Suns Chris Paul (heel) questionable Monday at Miami https://t.co/TmVPQTt5EC via @azcentral pic.twitter.com/MQ8abiA0AV— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) November 14, 2022
- Cam Payne*
- Devin Booker
- Mikal Bridges
- Torrey Craig
- Deandre Ayton
- Kyle Lowry
- Max Strus*
- Jimmy Butler
- Caleb Martin
- Bam Adebayo
*dependent on status of Paul, Herro
- Landry Shamet (concussion-like symptoms) OUT
- Chris Paul (right heel soreness) is questionable
- Cameron Johnson (knee) is OUT
- Jae Crowder (not with team) is OUT
- Tyler Herro (ankle) is questionable
- Victor Oladipo (knee) is OUT
- Dewayne Dedmon (foot) is questionable
- Omer Yurtseven (ankle) is OUT
What to Watch
Battle of the bigs: Ayton vs. Adebayo
This will be a game that Deandre Ayton will need to have his hands all over on both ends if the Suns want to escape Miami with a win.
Ayton has had a slow start to the season, battling an ankle injury and inconsistent play. He’s also struggled to get to the line, attempting just 1.9 free throws per game, a career-low.
'He's taking a beating down there': How Phoenix Suns big Deandre Ayton can get to the line https://t.co/frFcaqqdf8— azcentral (@azcentral) November 13, 2022
Phoenix needs continued growth from both Ayton and Bridges desperately if they want to reach the status of being a title contender. Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger, so it’s time for the young core to soar and take matters into their own hands.
That starts in the regular season. I’d like to see Deandre be more assertive and engaged, because we know he can do it in the playoffs more often than not. Tonight’s battle against Bam Adebayo would be a great place to start.
Role Players shining
Miami has been getting steady contributions from their role players for several years now, and their depth + system is similar to Phoenix in the sense that anyone can beat you on any night.
Cam Payne has been magnificent filling in for the injured Chris Paul the past two games, averaging 22.5 points, 6.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals on a 50/47/100 shooting split.
First start of the season for @campayne!— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 10, 2022
1 STL pic.twitter.com/FuWT9OWdtJ
On Miami’s side, Phoenix will have to contain guards Max Strus and Gabe Vincent and potentially the streaky shooting Duncan Robinson who can erupt at any moment. Miami has been a hit-or-miss team from deep this season, but hit 16 of their 41 attempts in a 132-115 win over the Hornets on Saturday.
The Suns will need to play team defense and close out hard on the shooters in this one. Especially if Tyler Herro (questionable) does decide to suit up.
Crowder to Miami?
Over the weekend, Ian Begley reported that the Suns and Heat have reignited Jae Crowder trade discussions. A name that Phoenix has insisted on being involved in any Crowder trade is Miami Heat guard Max Strus.
Report: Suns seeking Max Strus in a potential Jae Crowder trade https://t.co/zOEr4LrJPW— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) November 12, 2022
Read Dave King’s take on the Miami options here.
Other names or pieces would have to be involved of course, but Crowder to Miami does make sense on the surface. I’m keeping an eye on three Eastern Conference teams in particular in Miami, Milwaukee and Cleveland in the Crowder “sweepstakes”.
Suns take it in dramatic fashion, 110-109.