The Miami Heat are back in action 10 days after losing at home to the San Antonio Spurs in what feels like a fitting end to a significant chapter of this season. They hit the road to face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at 8:00pm but it's almost an afterthought to all of the developments that have affected the team since the last time they were on the court.
First the team loses Chris Bosh for an extended amount of time due to issues with blood clots for the second year in a row after the All-Star break. As he awaits the results of further testing that has been done and what course of action to take, his long-term health of course remains first and foremost his number one priority. Whether or not that includes him returning to action this season, as some of his teammates such as Dwyane Wade remain hopeful will be the case, remains to be seen.
Further complicating matters for the Heat basketball-wise, the ensuing trades made to shed salary and get them below the luxury tax will greatly benefit them in the future to help rebuild the roster but did nothing to address Bosh's situation. But for now, the departures of Chris Andersen and Jarnell Stokes reduces the roster to 13, including a sidelined Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, who will serve his one-game suspension for his ejection against the Spurs. Wade (knee) sat out Thursday's practice due to soreness and is a game-time decision.
This will mean more minutes and an increased workload for Amar'e Stoudemire and Josh McRoberts as well as potentially more time at small forward for rookie Justise Winslow. Brian Roberts was only a Heat player for a few days before he was also shipped out, so Josh Richardson may also see some more action.
The Hawks didn't end up breaking up their core but did make a small move trading for Kirk Hinrich in a deadline deal with the Chicago Bulls. Al Horford and Jeff Teague remain on the team and will surely cause headaches for the Heat tonight. Though the Hawks have been unable to replicate last season's success despite having largely the same roster, they remain a tough opponent on the road for the Heat.
Miami leads the season series 2-1. Atlanta won their first matchup 98-92 on Nov. 3 and the Heat came back with a 100-88 win on Dec. 14 and a 105-87 home victory on Jan. 31.
The Hawks are leading the Southeast Division, one game ahead of the Heat.
- Luol Deng
- Udonis Haslem
- Amar'e Stoudemire
- Dwyane Wade
- Goran Dragic
- Kent Bazemore
- Paul Millsap
- Al Horford
- Kyle Korver
- Jeff Teague
- Tip-off time: 8:00pm
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