Game #32: Atlanta Hawks (21-11) vs. Miami Heat (16-15)

While it's a game that I'm sure most of you have been looking forward to (I know I have), Miami and Atlanta come in to tonights contest struggling.  After a great 6-1 stretch, the Heat have now dropped three straight.  Atlanta was one of the best teams in the NBA, starting the season 19-6, but since then the Hawks have won just 2 of their last 7 games and like the Heat, 3 straight.  Their most recent loss came on Friday at home to the New York Knicks.  (Remember...Nate Robinson...41 points?)

One of the more recent problems with the Heat have been turnovers by D-Wade.  The Heat have identified this problem as Wade getting the ball more then usual in the post and as a result, facing more double teams.  Dwyane is averaging 3.44 turnovers a game, but at one point this season had that number down to 3. 

I was also reading about Michael Beasley taking his fluctuating minutes in stride, handling things in a very mature, professional way.  The main problem has been his defense, which at times has been good but too often has him in situations where he can't adjust to the opponents adjustments. 

"I just take my minutes in stride, whether I play the fourth quarter or not," Beasley said. "I think the lineup coach (uses) is a reliable lineup . . . I'm not upset. Of course I want to be out there, but I'm learning and waiting for my opportunity."

You've gotta love how Beasley is handling things.  It's funny...if you asked me last year which of the two Heat rookies (Beas and Rio) would be the more professional, mature one, I'd have picked Chalmers without thinking twice.  Beasley always came across as a goofy kind of guy, but he has certainly grown and will continue to do so.  We can only hope that Chalmers will come around...

GAME NOTES

  • In the standings, the Heat and Hawks are exactly where they were at the end of last season.  Atlanta is the 4 seed, Miami the 5.
  • It was disappointing how Quentin Richardson fizzled out at the end of Saturday's game against Charlotte, his 4th game with 20 or more points. 
  • The Heat have averaged just 88.7 points in their 3-game skid while giving up 103.3. 
  • An interesting stat...the Heat are 4-0 against the Hawks in the last two years (including the playoffs) when scoring at least 95 points.  Scoring less, Miami is 0-8. 
  • Miami is also just 10-13 when Wade fails to score 30 points. 

I'm really hoping for a big, rowdy crowd tonight at the AAA.  Normal 7:30 tipoff time tonight from Bayside.  Go Heat!!

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