The Phoenix Suns will be playing the second game of a back-to-back situation when they entertain the Miami Heat at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Friday night. Phoenix had lost six in a row and nine of its last 10 heading into a road date with Portland on Thursday. The Heat ended a four-game home-stand with a setback against Orlando on Tuesday and they are now embarking on a six-game road trip.
Miami center Hassan Whiteside did not stick around for the final minute of Tuesday’s 105-90 home loss to the Magic. Instead, the 7-footer left the bench and headed to the locker room by himself. Head coach Erik Spoelstra weighed in on the matter while also indicating that he had not yet received an explanation from Whiteside.
“(He was) probably extremely upset, like we all are,” Spoelstra commented after watching his team shoot a mere 41.8 percent from the floor and just 2-for-5 from the foul line.
When on the floor and interested, however, the former Marshall standout has mostly been outstanding. He went 6-for-7 from the field against Orlando one game after pouring in 23 points and corralling 20 rebounds during a 102-100 win over Utah. For the season, Whiteside is averaging 13.5 points and 13.7 rebounds per contest. Unfortunately for the Heat, he will be sidelined from Friday’s game while expecting the birth of his first child.
It’s hard to play when you don’t make shots
Phoenix’s six consecutive losses have sent it to the NBA’s worst record, putting the franchise in position for back-to-back lottery victories. The Suns found themselves trailing 36-9 after the first quarter of Tuesday’s 122-105 home loss to Sacramento. They are predictably struggling with star shooting guard Devin Booker (hamstring) and forward T.J. Warren (ankle) out of the lineup. In turn, Phoenix has lost by an average of 14.5 points per game during this skid and only one of the setbacks has come by single-digits.
“It is really hard to play a game where we don’t make shots,” forward Josh Jackson assured. “There are going to be times like that. It’s basketball, but the times we don’t make shots we have to make sure we play good defense and not let the other team score.”“We lost the game in the first quarter, then from there it was just competing to show we had character, which we did in the second half,” head coach Igor Kokoskov reflected. “No excuses, the effort wasn’t there.”
Shooting guard Jamal Crawford is just 9-of-32 shooting over the past four games.
The Phoenix Suns are:
- 0-6 ATS in their last six overall
- 0-4 ATS in their last four home games
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games against teams with losing records
The Miami Heat are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five road games
- 7-2 Under in their last nine overall
- 4-0 Under in their last four games against the Western Conferenc