Rewind, for a moment, to the 2005-06 NBA season. The Miami Heat visit the Phoenix Suns in a marquee matchup. Talk of a future NBA Finals series between the two powerhouses flood the sports talk airwaves.
But despite Shaquille O'Neal's (playing for Miami at the time) team-leading 13 rebounds, the Suns pull off a relatively seamless 111-93 victory at U.S. Airways Center. (The Heat wound up holding up its end of the deal, beating the Dallas Mavericks, who killed the Suns' season, for the NBA crown.)
These days, the Heat aren't playing like they did when they pulled off that Marericks-killing. But you never can tell with the Suns, who nearly lost to the worst team in the NBA the other night in Oklahoma City. The discombobulated team could lose to anybody.
But the game will feature some interesting subplots. For one, the aforementioned Shaq Diesel gets another shot at his former squad. Also, Mr. Underappreciated and ex-Sun Shawn Marion returns to the purple and orange hardcourt for the first time since that crazy trade that brought Shaq to the desert.
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The game tips off at 6 p.m. tonight at U.S. Airways Centert. The nationally televised contest will be carried on ESPN. Check out www.suns.com. -- Steve Jansen