Miami Heat vs. Phoenix Suns Pick & Prediction JANUARY 29th 2024

The Miami Heat have lost six straight games — their longest skid since March 2021.

On Monday night, the Heat will set out to break their slump against the visiting Phoenix Suns, who have lost two straight games after winning seven in a row.

Miami is coming off a 125-109 loss at the New York Knicks on Saturday afternoon. In that game, Miami trailed by just three points entering the fourth quarter, but the Knicks pulled away with a 13-3 run to start the final period.

“I don’t remember us getting any stops,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team’s fourth-quarter defense.

So, what’s suddenly wrong with the Heat, a franchise that made it to the NBA Finals last year?

Their offense is certainly an issue. Miami is averaging just 110.5 points, which ranks 27th in the 30-team NBA. During their six-game losing streak, they have been held under 100 points three times.

Only four teams have a worse shooting percentage than the Heat, who also rank 25th in offensive rebounds and 26th in total boards per game.

Injuries are another factor. Tyler Herro has missed 19 games, Jimmy Butler has missed 15, Bam Adebayo has missed 10 and Jaime Jaquez Jr. sat out six this month.

Those are Miami’s top four scorers, and the same absences are true further down the depth chart, making it hard for Spoelstra to find continuity.

The good news for Miami is that all four of its top scorers were available for the Knicks. That includes Jaquez, a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate who returned on Saturday after missing time with a groin injury.

Miami also acquired Terry Rozier in a trade last week after averaging 23.2 points in Charlotte. Duncan Robinson, meanwhile, is making 40.5 percent of his 3-pointers while averaging 13.5 points.

Meanwhile, the Suns are coming in after a 113-98 loss to the host Orlando Magic on Sunday night.

Phoenix entered Sunday ranked seventh in shooting percentage (49.1), eighth in 3-point percentage (37.8) and 12th in scoring (116.8).

On the other end, things aren’t quite as good for the Suns, who rank 15th in points allowed (114.5), 17th in 3-point percentage allowed (37.0) and 21st in steals per game (7.8).

“We’ve got some things to figure out,” said Devin Booker, who has scored 106 points over his past two games, “especially on defense.”

Booker is part of a trio of Suns stars. Kevin Durant, 35, was recently named an All-Star for the 14th time. Booker, 27, is expected to be named an All-Star for the fourth time, and Bradley Beal, 30, is a three-time All-Star.

The Suns, who operate without a true point guard, have a supporting cast that features stellar 3-point shooter Grayson Allen and sixth man Eric Gordon.

But in Sunday’s loss, Phoenix blew a 13-point lead. The Suns managed to lose despite getting 44 points from Booker and shooting 56.2 percent as a team. The Suns were minus-13 on turnovers, and Durant and Beal combined for just 24 points.

Suns center Jusuf Nurkic, who averages 11.6 points and 10.3 rebounds, missed the game due to a sprained left thumb.

–Field Level Media

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