Game #11: Miami Heat (7-3) vs. Atlanta Hawks (9-2)

After some serious thought, I've decided that the Heat-Hawks series is going to be the most heated of the season.  It's no secret that these two teams do not like each other.  The players are still bothered by the way last spring's 7-game playoff series went down.  But any of them will tell you, it's a new year.  Both teams are off to excellent starts this season and share very similar goals.

Here's the bottom line.  The Heat have played pretty crappy over the last 2+ games and are going to have to take this victory tonight in Atlanta.  The addition of Daequan Cook is a big boost because our outside shooting has been struggling. 

Another guy who really needs to kick it back into gear is Michael Beasley.  It's almost like he's become scared to do anything offensively, as I've seen him pass up open looks and just put his head down and drive, getting himself into bad situations in which he either dishes the ball off or turns it over. 

I'm hoping that last night's game loosened up Mario Chalmers' sore shoulder after he sat out most of Saturday's game with a pinched nerve.  It took him until there was 4:23 left in the 1st half to take his first shot, and none of his jumpers looked particularly good. 

For the Hawks, their big star Joe Johnson is coming off of his highest scoring output of the season. He dropped 35 on the Blazers including 18 in the 4th quarter and OT.  Johnson leads the Hawks in scoring with 23.0 points/game. 

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat have gone 1-3 against the Hawks in each of the last two seasons.
  • Josh Smith has 33 rebounds in his last two games.  This is a guy who has been given a lot of grief for not attacking the boards, so it appears that he may be improving on that this season. 
  • The Hawks have won five games in a row and are 5-0 at home.
  • The Heat were held to under 90 points over the last two games.  The Hawks have gone 3 straight games holding their opponent under 100 points. 
  • Miami has played the fewest road games of any team in the NBA, but are a perfect 2-0 in those games. 

Tipoff from Philips Arena is at 7. It will be worth losing last night if the Heat can get out of Atlanta with a big fat victory on their home court.

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