Tonight, the Miami HEAT close out a five-game homestand against one of only two other Eastern Conference teams with a winning record, the Atlanta Hawks. This is the second of four contests between the Southeast Division rivals this season. The HEAT took the first, 104-88 on November 19th in Miami. The two will face off twice in Atlanta, on January 20th and on April 12th.
Through the first four games of the homsetand, they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 114-107 last Saturday, the Utah Jazz, 117-94 on Monday, the Indiana Pacers, 97-94 on Wednesday, and the Sacramento Kings, 122-103 on Friday. After tonight's matchup, they'll play 11 of their next 14 on the road. They'll start out with a four game roadtrip, facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day, the Kings again on Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, and the Denver Nuggets next Monday.
The Hawks just closed out a very successful three-game homestand, defeating the Lakers, 114-100 last Monday, the Kings, 124-107 on Wednesday, and the Jazz, 118-85 on Friday. They'll play in Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Thursday night before returning to Atlanta.
On November 19th, the 7-3 HEAT hosted the 5-5 Hawks at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Chris Bosh led the HEAT with 19 points on eight-of-nine shooting with five rebounds, Ray Allen tossed in 17 off the bench on three-of-six three-pointers, and Mario Chalmers scored 14 with four assists and three steals. LeBron James scored 13 with six boards and five assists on a slow night for him, and Norris Cole dished out a season high nine assists in the 104-88 HEAT win. For the Hawks, Mike Scott scored 15 off the bench with 10 rebounds, while Al Horford scored 12 with seven boards and seven turnovers. * Box Score * Full Recap
HEAT coach Erik Spoelstra spoke later about Miami's enviable depth:
The depth is important. Understanding how we play. Making sure we get to our identity. As long as it's the right fit there and guys are committed to getting off to a good start, our guys feel comfortable there.
Read more about the Hawks at Peachtree Hoops.
Miami's last game, on Friday, would see the HEAT easily handle the Sacramento Kings, 122-103. Chris Bosh led Miami with 25 points and eight rebounds, Dwyane Wade pitched in 20 with five rebounds, five dimes and three steals, and LeBron James scored 18 points with eight assists and six rebounds. Mario Chalmers scored 16 with five dimes and four steals, while Ray Allen came off the bench for 18 points and five assists. Each of the Sacramento starters reached double figures, led by DeMarcus Cousins' 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists. * Box Score * Full Recap
Sacramento Kings vs Miami Heat | December 20, 2013 | Full Game Highlights | NBA 2013-14 Season (via NBACalifornia)
Chris Bosh spoke later with the media:
They were running a little bit more than usual. They kind of caught us off guard but we had to really just get used to the pace of the game and basically kind of slow it down and get what we want.
Head over to Sactown Royalty for more on the Kings.
The Hawks last game was on Friday, a 118-85 blistering of the Utah Jazz. Louis Williams led the Hawks with 25 points and four steals off the bench, Al Horford scored 23 points and four rebounds, and Paul Milsap pitched in 14 with 10 boards in the win. Alec Burks and Enes Kanter led Utah with 13 points each, while Kanter also had 13 rebounds. * Box Score * Full Recap
Utah Jazz vs Atlanta Hawks | December 20, 2013 | Full Game Highlights | NBA 2013-14 Season (via NBACalifornia)
Horford spoke later about his 11-for-15 performance from the field:
I made good shots. I missed a few that I thought I should've made ? a few jump shots ? being the perfectionist I am. Our energy was the difference tonight.
Check out SLC Dunk for news on the Jazz.
Gametime: 7:30 PM
TV: LEAGUE PASS, SunSpM, SportSouth
Radio: NBA Game Time Audio, WAXY, WQXI
Season Series: Second game of four. Miami took the first contest by 16 points on November 19th.
All-Time Series: Miami leads the all-time series, 56-40.
Line: Miami by -8
Miami HEAT: 20-6, .769, on pace for a 63-19 season. First in the Southeast Division, Second in the Eastern Conference, Fifth in the NBA. Last five: L-W-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 99.99%
Atlanta Hawks: 15-12, .556, on pace for a 46-36 season. Second in the Southeast Division, Third in the Eastern Conference, tied for ninth in the NBA. Last five: W-L-W-W-W. Playoff odds: 98.0%
This Date in HEATstory
Miami has played 19 times on December 23rd, and have a 12-7 record on the date. They've won their last four and six of their last seven.
1988 - Jazz 101, HEAT 80
1989 - Nuggets 135, HEAT 104
1990 - HEAT 99, Jazz 93
1991 - HEAT 113, Magic 102
1992 - Jazz 92, HEAT 86
1993 - HEAT 109, Lakers 92
1994 - HEAT 116, Hornets 93
1995 - Hornets 87, HEAT 75
1996 - HEAT 90, Spurs 79
2000 - HEAT 86, Nets 80
2001 - Raptors 83, HEAT 76
2002 - Cavaliers 74, HEAT 72
2003 - HEAT 79, Wizards 72
2004 - HEAT 109, Kings 107
2005 - Nets 95, HEAT 88
2006 - HEAT 105, Warriors 92
2008 - HEAT 96, Warriors 88
2009 - HEAT 80, Jazz 70
2010 - HEAT 95, Suns 83
PG - Mario Chalmers
PF - Shane Battier
C - Chris Bosh
SF - LeBron James
SG - Dwyane Wade
PG - Jeff Teague
PF - Paul Millsap
C - Al Horford
SF - DeMarre Carroll
SG - Kyle Korver
MPG: LBJ - 35.3, DWade - 33.6, BOSH - 28.7
PPG: LBJ - 24.9, DWade - 19.9, BOSH - 15.0
RPG: LBJ - 6.8, BOSH - 6.2, DWade - 4.8
APG: LBJ - 6.6, DWade - 4.9, Rio - 4.8
SPG: DWade - 2.1, Rio - 1.9, LBJ - 1.5
BPG: Birdman - 1.2, BOSH - 1.1, Battier - 0.7
PER: LBJ (918 minutes) - 29.9, DWade (672 minutes) - 22.5, B Eazy (247 minutes) - 22.0, BOSH (717 minutes) - 19.3, Birdman (453 minutes) - 17.2