The Miami Heat have gotten off to an excellent start, with a perfect 3-0 mark to start the 2009-2010 NBA season. They will look to remain undefeated when they square off with another unbeaten team in the Phoenix Suns tonight at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
The Heat are looking solid after three convincing wins over Eastern Conference opponents New York, Indiana, and Chicago. They will now face their first Western Conference test of the season against a high octane offensive team in Phoenix.
Fortunately for Miami, their defense has been the story of the young season. They held their last two opponents to below 90 points and have kept their first three opponents to 38.7 percent shooting, including 21.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The Heat’s defensive intensity will be key against the potent offense of the Suns, who are averaging 117.3 points in their first three games. Phoenix is being led by two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, star forward Amar’e Stoudamire, and scorer Jason Richardson. Newly acquired Channing Fyre is also making an early impact, averaging 19 points and six rebounds in his first three games as a member of the Suns.
Miami is being led by their superstar Dwyane Wade, but unlike last season, the supporting cast has had a significant impact in the Heat’s hot start. Oft-injured center Jermaine O’Neal looks to have regained some of his former self after beginning the year with back-to-back 22 point, 12 rebound efforts. O’Neal broke his nose in Miami’s victory over Chicago on Sunday, but doesn’t expect to miss any time.
Michael Beasley has been solid in his new starting power forward role and team co-captain Udonis Haslem has been thriving in his new role as reserve forward. He invigorates the second unit with energy, hustle, and strong rebounding.
Miami will look to continue its recent string of success against Phoenix tonight, after sweeping the season series last year 2-0. Wade was an integral part of those victories as he has torched the Suns, averaging 36.3 points in the team’s last three meetings.
If Miami can limit Phoenix’s offensive attack and not get forced into a high tempo game, then they will have an excellent chance to start the season 4-0 for the first time since the 2004-2005 campaign.