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HHH GameTime Preview: Rising Hawks visit struggling Heat

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The Heat host the Hawks tonight at the triple-A in Miami.

NBA: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7:30 PM, the Miami Heat will host the Atlanta Hawks at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. This will be the first of four games this season between the intra-division foes. They’ll meet in Atlanta on December 7th, Miami on February 1st, and again in Atlanta on February 24th.

After finishing a one-game road trip last night in San Antonio, Miami is starting a quick two-game homestand. They’ll host the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday before heading out for a four-game trip against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, the Detroit Pistons next Wednesday, and the Memphis Grizzlies next Friday.

The Hawks have won four games in a row, and are just finishing up a two game homestand where they defeated the Chicago Bulls, 115-107 on Wednesday and the 76ers, 117-96 on Saturday. They’ll return to Atlanta for a matchup against the Bucks tomorrow night before getting back on the road again.

The last time the two teams faced off was on February 19th last season, when the Heat defeated Atlanta in a high scoring affair, 115-111. Luol Deng led Miami with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting, with 11 rebounds and four steals, while Josh McRoberts came off the bench to shoot eight-for-13, scoring 19 with 10 helpers and six boards. Goran Dragic scored 17 with 10 assists of his own, along with five rebounds and four steals. The Hawks were led by 23 from Jeff Teague, who also had seven assists. Paul Millsap had 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Kyle Korver hit four-of-seven from deep to finish with 18.

We knew we were missing those guys. We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy. Throughout the whole game we did a good job of keeping the pace up. - Deng, on playing without Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade

Peachtree Hoops has more on Atlanta.

Last night in San Antonio, Miami charged back after trailing by 15 at the half to ultimately fall short to the Spurs, 94-90. Dion Waiters led Miami with 27 points, and Hassan Whiteside scored 23 with 17 boards. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 24 points and 12 rebounds, with sidekick LaMarcus Aldridge pitching in 18.

You can read up on the Spurs at Pounding the Rock.

Atlanta’s last game, a 117-96 home win against the 76ers on Saturday, would see Tim Hardaway lead the Hawks with 20 points off the bench. Kent Bazemore had 17 points with five rebounds, Dennis Schroder scored 16 with eight helpers, and Dwight Howard scored 10 with 11 rebounds. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 18 points and six boards, while Sergio Rodriguez scored 13, Dario Saric and Nik Stauskas scored 12, and Robert Covington scored 11 in defeat.

It was like we’re handing them the ball and they’re going and scoring. Credit our guys to kind of flip that and just still play with great ball movement and great confidence and reduce the turnovers. - Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer

There’s more on the 76ers at Liberty Ballers.

All-Time Standings: Miami holds a 60-47 edge in head-to-head play with the Hawks. Their resultant .561 winning percentage is their 11th best against the 29 other NBA teams.

Current Standings

Miami Heat: 2-7, .222, tied for fourth in the Southeast Division, tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 27th in the NBA. On pace for a 21-61 season. Last Five: L-L-L-L-L.

Atlanta Hawks: 7-2, .778, first in the Southeast Division, tied for second in the Eastern Conference, tied for fourth in the NBA. On pace for a 61-21 season. Last Five: W-W-W-W-W.

Probable Starters

Miami Heat
PG - Josh Richardson
SG - Dion Waiters
SF - Justise Winslow
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside

Atlanta Hawks
PG - Dennis Schroder
SG - Kyle Korver
SF - Kent Bazemore
PF - Paul Millsap
C - Dwight Howard


Goran Dragic has 599 career assists with the Heat. If he plays, he needs 17 assists to tie Heat all-time 21st Jamal Mashburn.

Hassan Whiteside is fifth all-time in blocked shots for Miami, with 415. He needs 41 to pass Joel Anthony into fourth, and 195 to reach Rony Seikaly in third.

Best Case Scenario

Whiteside gets 25/15/5, pwns Dwight Howard, and makes eight-of-10 from the line. Waiters starts to build on last night’s hot streak, hitting four-of-six from outside and finishing with 22 points and six helpers. Miami’s defense shuts down the passing lanes and plays tight on Kyle Korver, Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway, and Kent Bazemore at the arc, holding Atlanta to a nine-for-32 night from outside. Miami leads by 10 at halftime, goes dead cold in the third quarter, letting the Hawks take the lead by outscoring the Heat 26-to-12 through the frame, then ride Josh Richardson’s hot hand to win by nine.

Worst Case Scenario

Winslow, Waiters, TJ, JRich, JJ, Babbitt, and McGruder each take at least five three-point shot attempts and make a total of seven of them. Josh McRoberts gets six assists and six rebounds, but shoots just two-of-10 from the floor. Howard goads HW into a technical foul and ends up getting him fouled out with eight minutes left in the game. The Heat score 38 in the first half and end up losing, 109-93.

Check back here for the GameThread, going live tonight at 7:30PM.