The Miami Heat will return home Wednesday night to host the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. For Miami, this game represents a chance for the team to regroup after a thorough beatdown at the hands of another Southeast division rival -- the Washington Wizards. Miami lost in the nation's capital by 21 points Monday evening in a game the Wizards led wire-to-wire.
This game also stands as a chance for the Heat to improve their home record. Miami is a puzzling 4-5 at the AmericanAirlines Arena, including a loss to the Indiana Pacers with Dwyane Wade. Wade missed the first meeting between the Heat and Hawks, a 114-103 Atlanta win in which Miami also trailed from start to finish.
Several problems Miami showed against Washington Dec. 1 cropped up earlier in the season against Atlanta. Chief among them was the lack of defensive intensity; the Hawks shot 56 percent from the field and had eight players score double-figure points. Kyle Korver shot 4-of-5 from beyond the arc that night, so Miami has to keep a body on him at all times Wednesday.
Miami has to show that with Dwyane Wade, it is a top Eastern Conference playoff team. Beating a good Hawks team that has registered a 10-6 record thus far at home would be a good way to demonstrate that. The Heat had some impressive wins earlier in the year, including a home win over the East-leading Toronto Raptors and a road win over the Dallas Mavericks. With Wade back and at home, a win tonight wou