The goal for the Phoenix Suns when they face the Miami Heat for the first and only time this season should be to keep the game close and wait for LeBron James to choke in the fourth quarter. Everyone knows that LeBron, who is having one of the best statistical seasons in the history of the NBA, is "unclutch" which is why his Miami team has "only" won 33 games while losing a massive 11.
James is averaging a ridiculous 27.4 points per game, along with 8.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists. He's shooting 54.3% from the field and 40% from three. He's a beast on defense and a terror in the open court.
As for the clutchiness of King James, he does seem to take a slight knee. With five minutes or less in games within five points, he's 16-41 from the field (39%) this season. So keep the game close and you might have a chance (as long as Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have fouled out of the game).
The Heat are 3-2 over their last five games with losses coming on the road to the Bulls and Magic. They are 19-2 at home this season. They are second in the league in offensive efficiency (109 pts/100 poss) and sixth in defensive efficiency (100 pts/100 poss).
The Suns are ranked...well, let's not go there since those numbers include the first half of the season which we are all better off pretending everything before the All-Star break never happened. In March, the Suns are scoring 108 points per 100 possessions and giving up 102.7 and that's FIFTH and TENTH respectively.
That's right, the Suns have had the 5th best offense and 10th best defense in the league in the month of March. Now that's how you build a 9-2 record.
The defensive rebounding has even improved from 26th to 20th while the offensive rebounding has gone from 25th in January to seventh best in March.
WHOA!!! I had no idea!!
Ed note: At this point I broke off the preview and did a separate story on rebounding and turnovers. Read it here.
So yeah, the Suns are playing well. They are as hot as any team in the league and now they get a real test against the best. Are they up to the challenge? We'll see, but don't give up hope if they can't beat the team many expect to be this year's NBA champs. As the wise man said, be patient like old bull.
Game time is 4:30 p.m. Arizona Time (the only time that matters other than Beer Time). The game is on Fox Sports Arizona.