Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat Preview and Pick – 28875

Atlanta Hawks +2.5 (12-9) at Miami Heat -2.5 (12-9) O/U 195.5 7:30 PM ET Friday December 12, 2008
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Hawks go south to sunny Florida to play the Miami Heat. Both teams are 12-9 and tied for 2nd place in the Southeast Division 4.5 games back of the 1st place Magic. This is a match up of 2 teams that are heading in different directions, as the Hawks have lost 3 in a row, while the Heat have won 4 in a row. The Hawks have fallen down to earth after a fast start and the Heat are staying in the playoff race after last season’s nightmare of having the worst record in the NBA. Dwayne Wade is back and playing great and Michael Beasley has been a good fit for the Heat.

This season the Heat are 7-3 at home and the Hawks are 5-8 on the road.

Basketball Sportsbooks have the Heat as 2.5 point favorites with a total around 195.5. The Heat are posted at -220 as home favorites and the home favorites and the Hawks are posted at +180 as away dogs.

The Hawks come into this game after losing 95-89 to the San Antonio Spurs 95-89 last night. The high scorer for the Hawks in that game was Joe Johnson going for 29 points on 13/20 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 36/77 from the floor for a FG% of 46.8%. On defense the Hawks allowed the Spurs to shoot 35/79 for a FG% of 44.3%.

The Heat come into this game after beating the Charlotte Bobcats 100-96 on Monday night. The high scorer for the game was Dwayne Wade going for 41 points on 12/22 shooting. For the game the Heat shot 32/75 from the floor for a FG% of 42.7%. On defense the Heat allowed the Bobcats to shoot 34/78 for a FG% of 43.6%.


The Heat rank 13th in the league in scoring (99.1 ppg) and the Hawks rank 19th (97.5 ppg). Atlanta is one of the best 3-pt shooting teams in the league with a 3-pt FG% of 40%. On defense both these teams are pretty even, as the Hawks rank 12tt in points allowed (96.7 ppg) and the Heat rank 13th (96.5 ppg). Both teams have a rebound differential of around -25 rpg.

This season the Hawks are 11-10 ATS and the Heat are 8-12-1. In terms of Over/Under the Hawks are 9-14-1 this season and the Heat are 15-9-1.

On the injury front C Al Horford is day-to-day for the Hawks and SG Dorell Wright is Out and PG Chris Quinn is day-to-day for the Heat.

The main difference between last season and this season for the Heat is the play of the healthy Dwayne Wade. He is the leading scorer in the league and he is on fire lately, as in his last 5 games he is almost averaging 35 points per game.

The Hawks are struggling, as Josh Smith is having a hard time finding his stroke after missing 12 games with an ankle injury. Since he returned he is only averaging 12 ppg and he is shooting bricks with a FG% of under 40%.

The key match up in this game is between the 2 star shooting guards of Wade and Joe Johnson. If Wade goes off and has another huge game the Heat will be sitting pretty.

A key to this game will be if Hawks C Al Horford can play. He is banged up and if he does play he will have to play good D, since Wade, Shawn Marion, and Michael Beasley will attack the rim all night.

For the Hawks to win this game they will have to stop the penetration of the Heat’s slashers, especially Wade, which will be far from easy.

Mike Bibby (15.8 ppg) is having a good year and he will have to play well tonight and get some points, especially if Josh Smith continues to struggle.

Both these teams can shoot the rock from the outside and the team that can play some good D on the perimeter will win this game.

If the Heat win this game they will take over 2nd place in the Southeast Division and the Hawks woes will continue. The Hawks have to right their ship now, as 2 of their next 3 games are against the Cavaliers and the Celtics.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Hawks to steal one on the road here.