Having won six straight games, the defending champs next host the surprising Suns. Obviously the Heat are favorites, but which side has the most value?
No surprises here. Phoenix is playing well, but this is Miami we're talking about. LeBron James and company will have another double-digit spread to deal with, as they're favored by 11.5 points by oddsmakers. The Heat are 10-3 SU and 6-7 ATS, while the Suns are 6-6 SU and a mighty profitable 9-2-1 ATS.
The Suns have been one of the surprises of the season so far. They're battling hard each and every game under new coach Jeff Hornacek, who's obviously endearing himself to this young collection of players.
Phoenix notched their second straight win last night, beating Orlando 104-96 on the road. They came in as slight underdogs and were able to cover for the third time in four games.
Goran Dragic was amazing in the win, scoring 23 points (10-of-17 FG) and dishing out 13 assists while not turning the ball over once. Meanwhile, Gerald Green, picking up another start at the two with Eric Bledsoe unavailable, had 20 points and eight boards. Markieff and Marcus Morris totaled 28 points and 13 rebounds between them off the bench.
Keep tracking the injury to Bledsoe. He's missed a few games already with his bruised shin and there's a very good possibility he'll have to sit tonight's encounter out too. The Suns have held on without their starting guard, but they could use all the help they could get against Miami.
Still, Phoenix, widely picked to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season, has impressed. They've been decent offensively but their biggest success has come on the other end, as they're near the top of the league in terms of defensive efficiency.
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The Heat have been off since Saturday's 101-99 win over Orlando in which they were 13-point favorites ahead of tipoff.
Believe it or not, Miami was down by 16 at half, but they came out firing after the break, out-scoring the Magic 62-44 to win by two. The Heat shot 47.4 percent overall but hit only 6-of-25 from three, with Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Rashard Lewis going a combined 3-for-16.
Dwyane Wade made an emphatic return though, netting a game-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He added four rebounds and four dimes.
Once again, LeBron had a stat-stuffing line, finishing with 22 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals. He was 7-of-13 from the floor and also hit three threes in the victory.
It's a little scary how good the Heat have been offensively this season, but that's what happens when you've got a group that's built up some unmatched chemistry over the years. Miami is scoring 110.7 points per 100 possessions, putting them atop the NBA by over three points. They also haven't been too shabby (101.1, #11) defensively.
You've got to respect what the Suns have been doing, especially given the fact they're an amazing 7-0 ATS on the road heading into tonight's game in South Beach.
Phoenix did however have to partake in a tough battle last night and that could prevent them from being at full strength for this immense challenge against the Heat.
So, despite the Suns giving a good account of themselves so far, we feel more comfortable in backing Miami to win convincingly for our NBA picks. The Heat have shown countless times they can cover these lines and we expect them to take care of business in their own building.
NBA Pick: Miami Heat -11.5