Three Keys to the Game: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks

Mike Ehrmann

Following a convincing victory at home against the Indiana Pacers, the Miami Heat (54-25) travel to Atlanta (36-43) in their third to last regular season game.

1. Which starting lineup will Spoelstra use?

The Heat lead the season series against the Hawks 2-1, winning both at home and dropping their lone matchup at Phillips Arena and they were, surprisingly (/sarcasm), without Dwyane Wade for their last 121-114 loss to the Hawks on January 21st, and look to be without Wade again for tonight's game.

LeBron James led the way for the Heat last night, going off for 36 points on 55% shooting and made 12 of 13 free throws. He's averaging a cool 34.8 points per game on 56.2% shooting in Miami's last five games. Light work.

With Chris Andersen returning to the rotation last night, that leaves just Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden as the only two Heat players battling injuries. I'm not expecting either of them to play tonight, or really again until the playoffs. I also have a sneaking suspicion that, should the Heat win tonight, this will be the last time we see LeBron James and Chris Bosh this regular season as well.

2. Hawks can clinch playoff berth with one more win

The Hawks enter tonight's game winners of 4 of their last 5, including a huge victory last night against the Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks currently hold a 2 game lead over the Knicks for the #8 seed in the East with 3 games to play.

3. Containing Paul Millsap

The biggest thing for the Heat in tonight's game is containing the versatile big man, who's killed the Heat in the last two games these teams played. He's averaging 25.5 points per game on 51.5% shooting, including a ridiculous 63.6% from beyond the arc.

Newly acquired defensive stopper Udonis Haslem (/sarcasm again) could potentially start the game on Millsap, which should be an interesting battle - Haslem has done a great job of banging bodies with Hibbert, but Millsap is more of a finesse player, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. The Heat could also move Haslem on to Elton Brand and let Chris Bosh handle Millsap, which might seem like a more natural fit but would require more effort out of Bosh when the Heat are probably trying to keep him fresh for the playoffs.

The game tips off at 7:30 PM Eastern, and can be seen on Sun Sports.

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