In the getaway game right before the long All-Star break, the Phoenix Suns face the Heatles in the valley of the sun.

The Miami HEAT beat the upstart Phoenix Suns by 15 points back in November when the Suns were also without Eric Bledsoe (shin that time).

This time, the 30-20 Suns know more about who they are as a team. The Suns play high-powered offense and fight hard every game to the tune of 30 wins in 50 games, just 5 wins behind the two-time defending champs.

But the HEAT are LeBron James' team and any time you're playing LeBron, you're playing catch up.

The opponent - #Heatles

This is all that needs to be said about that.

The Suns

In the words of opposing coach Erik Spoelstra to Paul Coro after practice on Monday:

"At this point, they're not a surprise. We're in the last third of the season. They're for real."

While the Suns are good overall, they are really bad on two days rest, losing 6 of their first 8 such games this season. Luckily, they won on Saturday night against Golden State in the same such situation, so maybe they have broken that bad habit.

If Gerald Green can put up 20 points, the Suns can win the game. The Suns are 10-0 in Green's last 10 20-point games. Green had 12 points as the starting shooting guard in the early-season loss to the HEAT in Miami that dropped the Suns to 7-7 overall.

Unfortunately, Green has more games scoring fewer than 10 points (15 such occasions) than games scoring 20+ (13 games) despite playing 20+ minutes in 44 of 50 games. Coach Hornacek loves Green's attitude though, and will continue to play Green even when he is in a slump. Recently, Green has developed a pattern of over-shooting threes to get himself out of a slump in a game while he is a better offensive player when he shoots from various distances.

Markieff Morris may be the Suns barometer, but Green can be the Suns' solar flare on any given night.

The stats


The lineups


The key matchup

Sure you can say it's LeBron James vs. anyone who is guarding him (mostly P.J. Tucker), but LeBron cannot be controlled by anyone but LeBron and it's boring to say it's LeBron against himself.

So let's focus on the big men. That's not a typo in the stats - the Miami Heat are pulling down only 36 rebounds per game (worst in the NBA) while the Suns are up to 17th in the league overall with more than 43 per game. The poor rebounding is hurting the Heat's defensive efficiency.

If you think the Suns are bad on the boards, the HEAT are a new level of bad. The Heat, playing Bosh and James as the bigs, are the league's worst defensive rebounding team and they have the league's worst defensive field goal % allowed. It's not like they force other teams to play small to negate their rebounding problems - they just cannot pull down the boards and stop other teams from getting points.

If Channing Frye, Miles Plumlee, Markieff Morris and Alex Len can extend possessions and get second-chance points, the Suns can keep the game close against the league's second-best offense overall.

The prediction

The Suns can keep it close by playing hard and crashing the boards, but the HEAT are the HEAT. Any win by the Suns would be a huge, huge upset.

But, I said that about Indiana too.

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PHOENIX — In preparation for a Tuesday night game at U.S. Airways Center, the Miami Heat on Monday took in what appeared to be a loose practice on the Suns’ practice court. Afterward, the...

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It’s 10 days from the Feb. 20 trade deadline, and though any trade rumors involving the Suns seem murky at this point, it’s quite clear Phoenix is busy working the phone lines. The...

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The Phoenix Suns face the two-time defending champions Miami HEAT in Phoenix on Tuesday, their final game before a long All-Star weekend that most players will get to enjoy with rest.

Bright Side of the Sun exchanged some a series of questions with our Miami HEAT SB Nation partner, Hot Hot Hoops.

This is a great way to get some inside scoop on the opponent - in this case, the Suns' Tuesday night foe.

Obviously, the HEAT are doing fine with a great offense and 35-14 record. But they are only 15th in defensive points-per-possession this season. Are they just going through the motions of the regular season, or is there something wrong that bodes poorly for the post season?

Matt Pineda, Hot Hot Hoops: Part of the problem is that the Heat are seeing everyone's best effort every single night. Nights in Utah, Charlotte, and Sacramento that normally are dull come with extra motivation from the opponent. The Heat are in their fourth year of being the target and honestly are just buying time until the playoffs. Their only motivation is to be healthy, get some good rhythm and not far too far behind Indiana. It scares us, because you don't always know if that switch can get flipped, but they've been here before.

What's the latest on Michael Beasley's contributions for Miami? Is he still a great contributor to the rotation, or has his star dipped a bit?

MP: Michael Beasley was contributing very nicely until the beginning of January, and then he lost touch a bit. Spoelstra has given him much less time, and more recently has tightened his bench even more. I believe Beasley will be a spot player in the playoffs, unless things change. It seems as though he couldn't do enough defensively to warrant more time on the floor. What we are happy about....he hasn't gotten in trouble and is always saying the right things. There will come a time when the Heat really need him and he will come through.

Dwyane Wade has played the last several games at regular minutes and scored well. Is he back to his old self?

MP: No. Wade will not be his old self again. We have just accepted it over here. We hope that he can be his old self for some of the playoffs, because honestly that's all we need. We saw flashed of it against the Spurs and Pacers. And when he is that, the Heat are really really good. But the truth is that the Heat just don't need Wade to out-do himself in the regular season.

Tell us something about Greg Oden's production. What has he shown that he can bring to the playoffs for this team?

MP: Greg Oden is progressing, but at a slow pace. He is getting more action, and we anticipate that it will take some time for him to find his niche and groove in the offense. He has protected the rim well, and once his timing is back, he should be much better on the glass. He seems to move well out there, and it's all about the playoffs for Greg. The Heat signed him to play some hard minutes on Roy Hibbert. If Oden can challenge Roy for 10-12 minutes in the East Finals, then it will be a success, anything until then is just progress and Greg is going through it now.

What's your prediction on Tuesday's game against the Suns?

MP: I anticipate the Suns to push the Heat as far as they can. Miami should be upset with how they played in Utah, especially LeBron James who had 5 turnovers and only 13 points. I think he will come out much more aggressive. I will not be surprised to see the Suns win, from what I have seen, they play very good basketball, and the Heat will have their hands full knowing they have the Warriors the very next night. But because it comes with 2 days off and a loss before hand, I think the Heat grind out a win, a high scoring win.

Follow the HEATs progress on Hot Hot Hoops and follow Pineda on twitter: @PinedaHEAT

And if you are curious, here are my answers their questions on the Suns

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