Dec 9, 2003 6:23 AM


Suns (—5) at Heat: The back end of consecutive road games for Phoenix, which played the night before in Orlando. Fatigue figures to be a factor down the stretch. Miami has played hard for Van Gundy and is a good cover team as a home dog. MIAMI.

Knicks (+12) at Lakers: Can anyone stop the Lakers machine? Certainly, not the Knicks on this long road trip. Los Angeles can name the score, which should be around 20. Maybe Luke Walton will get more playing time in this sleeper. LA LAKERS.

Last week: 2-0, Season: 9-3


Lightning at Islanders: After a great start, the Isles are only a few points ahead of lowly Pittsburgh for the Atlantic cellar. On the other side, Tampa Bay has been consistent all year and in great shape to pass Atlanta for first in the Northeast. Go with the better team. TAMPA BAY.

Penguins at Canucks: We’ve already mentioned how bad the Penguins are, even when Super Mario makes a rare appearance. The Canucks are home, third in the league in offense and heavy favorites. We’ll take a chance and give the 1½ goals. VANCOUVER.

Last week: 1-1, Season: 7-9