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If the Heat didn't realize it last year, the first game against the Suns this season should have gotten the message across again: To beat the Suns, you have to think offense first.
It goes against everything the Pat Riley has been trying to teach his guys lately, but there's just no way for the Heat to keep the Suns from putting up numbers, especially because of the unorthodox lineups the Suns put out there against the very traditional Heat lineup.

Last year when the Heat beat the Suns at home, the team scored 125 points and won by just 10. And this year, in the Suns' 11 regulation losses, the winning team is averaging 106.2 points, including 111 points given up to the Magic, who average less than 93 a game.

I think Jason Williams is going to be pretty crucial, not necessarily in how he defends Steve Nash, but how he scores against the Suns defense. WIlliams and Dwyane Wade missed the first game against the Suns, so the Heat had to try to force it to Shaq, which the Suns just wouldn't allow. Now Williams and Wade should make the Suns pay for doubling Shaq.

J-Will has done well against the lesser defensive teams in the league. In games he has played against five of the 10 worst defensive teams in the league, Williams has averaged 19.8 points a game, which is significantly better than his 14.5 season average. Phoenix gives up more than 100 a game, putting them in the bottom 10 of the league in points allowed. It might be a little misleading because they only allow opponents to shoot 44 percent from the field, but the point is you have to outscore them, and Williams should be able to put up numbers against Phoenix.

Udonis Haslem is going to be left open a lot, so his pride will be tested, too.

And, finally, a weird stat: Wade's points, blocks, assists, rebounds, shooting percentage and free throw percentage are better in road games than at home. That probably means he concentrates a little more on the road and takes on more responsibility in adverse situations. He also averages 28.7 points in losses compared to 25.5 in wins this season.




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