Phoenix Suns (52-13) at Miami Heat (44-22)
Wednesday, March 9th, FTX Arena in Miami, FL
How to Watch
- 7:30 ET on ESPN
- MIA -4.0 (Caesars) MIA -5.0 (DraftKings, and FanDuel) MIA -5.5 (BetMGM)
- O/U 218.5 (Caesars, DraftKings, BetMGM) 217 (FanDuel)
- Phoenix: 34-31 ATS, 18-12 ATS on the road, 33-32 O/U
- Miami: 39-26-1 ATS, 17-13 ATS at home, 39-27 O/U
Recent Play (last 10 games)
- Heat: 8-2; 113.9 PPG, 44.2 RPG, 24.6 APG, 6.6 SPG, and 3.8 BPG, while shooting 48.2% from the field and allowing 106.8 points per game.
- Suns: 7-3; 115.8 PG, 42.0 RPG, 29.3 APG, 9.0 SPG, and 5.1 BPG, while shooting 48.9% from the field and allowing 109.6 points.
- Cameron Johnson, PHX, SG: Out (Quad) Has now missed three straight games
- Jimmy Butler; MIA, SF: Questionable (Sinus congestion) We expect him to play
- Caleb Martin; MIA, SF: Questionable (Achilles) He played on Monday, so he should be OK.
- Markieff Morris, MIA; PF: Doubtful (Neck)
This is the best game on Wednesday’s NBA slate with the first-place teams in each conference facing off. The big story will be the health of each teams’ star player. Devin Booker has been in quarantine since March 2, but it was just reported Wednesday afternoon that he was officially cleared to play, which is great news for NBA fans. As is the news that Jimmy Butler appears to only be battling a cold. Considering the opponent, we’d expect Butler to be on the court for this one, which means both teams should be near full strength.
While the two teams are at entirely different ends of the spectrum in terms of their pace of play, they are both in the top-10 in offensive efficiency (Phoenix ranks third and Miami ranks sixth). The Suns are seventh in the league in field goal attempts per game, while Miami ranks just 28th, so we know Miami will want to play the game at a slower pace, where they can use their elite three-point shooting (first in 3PT%) to keep the game close.
However, that will be a tall task against a Suns defense that is best in the NBA in three-point defense, allowing only 33.3% shooting from deep. Miami will have to hope they can capitalize on the few open looks they get and also make sure they take care of the ball since the Suns are 6th in the NBA in steals per game while the Heat are 25th in the league in turnovers per game.
When the Suns have the ball, they will obviously be looking to push the pace and get the ball to the basket. Despite shooting well from three, the Suns are only 26th in the NBA in three-point attempts per game. The diversity of their offensive attack might work in their favor since Miami is also a top-10 defense against the three, allowing only 34.1% shooting from deep. In fact, both teams are in the top-5 in defensive efficiency (Phoenix ranks third and Miami ranks fifth), so despite their strong offensive make-ups and combination of playmakers, points are not going to be easy to come by in this game.
If the Suns can speed up the Miami offense and force them into mistakes, they should come away with the win here on the road. However, if Miami is able to keep the pace under control and prevent second-chance points (they allow the 4th-fewest offensive rebounds) then they should take this one at home. The key will obviously be how Devin Booker looks after missing a week of action and whether or not he can handle his full workload, so keep an eye on that news prior to tip-off.
Popular Player Props
(These are the most popular props for the game as of this writing. They are not predictions or recommendations. We advise doing your own research before placing bets on any props mentioned.)
- Kyle Lowry, G Miami: Over 11.5 points (-150)
- Lowry has gone over this total in each of his last six games and pushed this total the game before that.
- Phoenix is also below-average in points allowed to point guards, so if Lowry is handling the ball a lot, that should help him.
- Jimmy Butler, F, Miami: Over 5.5 rebounds (-164)
- Butler has gone over this total in six of his last ten games, but Phoenix ranks 18th in rebounds allowed to the opposing team. They are also exactly at league average in rebounds allowed to small forwards.
- Devin Booker, G, Phoenix: Under 4.5 rebounds (-167)
- Booker has only hit this total in four of his last ten. There is also a chance he is not 100% or will play his full allotment of minutes. Miami is also tough on opposing shooting guards when it comes to rebounds.
- P.J. Tucker, F, Miami: Under 1.5 assists (-150)
- Tucker averages 0.06 assists per minute when both Lowry and Butler are on the floor. He also played 25 minutes last game, when both Lowry and Butler were healthy. That would put him at exactly 1.5 assists in 25 minutes. However, we already talked about Miami likely wanting to slow the pace down, and the Suns allow the second-fewest assists per game.