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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 4th (All times eastern)

Phoenix Suns (34-26) at Miami Heat (31-28), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat will close out a three-game homestand Wednesday versus the Phoenix Suns at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Miami has alternated wins and losses over its last 11 games and is coming off Monday's 107-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron James registered a game-high 42 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Heat superstar Dwyane Wade was no slouch either, as he ended with 41 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and seven steals in defeat.

Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon scored 16 and 11 points, respectively, for the Eastern Conference's fifth-seeded squad, which is 1-1 on the residency and 20-11 as the host this season.

The Suns, meanwhile, are fighting for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference and sit two games behind the eighth-place Dallas Mavericks. They didn't help themselves by dropping a 111-99 decision to the Orlando Magic Tuesday from Amway Arena, with Jason Richardson leading the way for Phoenix with 27 points.

Shaquille O'Neal ended with 19 points and 11 boards for the Suns, who got two- time MVP guard Steve Nash back in the lineup after he missed three games because of an ankle injury. Nash posted 20 points, eight assists and seven boards in 41 minutes of work, just one game after the Suns defeated the mighty Los Angeles Lakers in the desert.

Phoenix made a roster move before the game, signing free-agent forward Stromile Swift for the remainder of the season. Swift became available after the New Jersey Nets waived him on March 1, making the veteran eligible for postseason play.

"We are very pleased to be able to add a player of Stromile's caliber at this late date," said Suns general manager Steve Kerr. "We believe that his athleticism, length and experience will be valuable to us as we head down the stretch run."

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Swift was the second overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies and has spent his nine-year career with Vancouver/Memphis, Houston and New Jersey. Swift owns career averages of 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 534 career NBA games. The LSU product is expected to be uniform tonight.

Phoenix will also visit the Rockets and Spurs on this three-game trek and is 15-15 away from the Valley of the Sun this season.

Miami defeated Phoenix, 107-92, on November 28 at US Airways Center, with Wade torching the competition for 43 points on 15-of-24 shooting from the field. Phoenix has still won six of nine and seven of the last 11 meetings in the series.

The Suns have also won three straight after losing in their previous four trips to South Beach.

03/04 12:30:01 ET


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