Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat Preview and Pick

Atlanta Hawks (26-17) at Miami Heat -3.5 (23-19) O/U 193.5 7:30 PM ET Monday January 26, 2009
by Jason Green of

Tonight the Atlanta Hawks travel to the Sunshine State to play the Miami Heat. Both these teams are in the playoff race, but neither is playing great as of late, as the Heat are coming off a win and are 5-5 in their last 10 games and the Hawks are coming off a loss and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Heat have already surpassed last year’s win total and the main reason is Dwayne Wade, who is healthy and the league’s leading scorer. Even though these two teams should make the playoffs, they may have to make a deal to bring in a player to beat the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Magic in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

This season the Hawks are 9-12 on the road and the Heat are 13-7 at home.

Hoops bookies have the Heat as 3.5 point favorites with a total around 193.5. The Heat are posted at -125 as home favorites and the Hawks are posted at +105 as away dogs.

The Hawks come into this game after losing last night to the Phoenix Suns 104-99. The high scorer for the Hawks in that game was Josh Smith going for 19 points on 9/18 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 35/84 from the floor for a FG% of 41.7%. On defense the Hawks took the night off allowing the Suns to shoot 36/65 from the floor for a scorching FG% of 55.4%.

The Heat are coming off an impressive win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night 103-97. The high scorer in that game was, no drum roll needed, Dwayne Wade going for 27 points on 11/21 shooting. For the game the Heat shot well going 33/69 for a FG% of 47.8%. On defense the Heat allowed the Magic to shoot 37/78 from the field for a FG% of 47.4%.

This season the Hawks rank 14th in scoring (98.7 ppg) and the Heat rank 23rd (96.5 ppg). On defense both these team are even, in terms of opponents scoring, as each team is giving up an average of 96.6 ppg. Neither of these teams are great at hitting the glass, as the Hawks have a rebounding differential of -1.7 rpg and the Heat are even worse at -3.3 rpg.

This season the Hawks are 23-19 ATS and the Heat are 19-22-1.

On the injury front the Hawks are banged up, as PG Acie Law and PF Marvin Williams are both day-to-day and Al Horford is Out and SF Shaun Marion is day-to-day for the Heat.

The Hawks are having trouble on the road and against legit teams, as they last decent team they beat was Houston back on January 3rd and the least win against a decent team on the road was against the Miami way back on December 12th of last year.

The Heat are lucky that Al Horford is out, as they have trouble defending against big men.

Wade (28.7 ppg) will get his points, but the Hawks cannot let him have a huge game. The Hawks will have to play good D against the trio of Udonis Haslem (11.1 ppg), Shaun Marion (12 ppg), and Michael Beasley (13.5 ppg) and not let them have a big scoring game. That will not be easy, as Horford is out and all 3 of these guys like to attack the rim.

The Heat have to play good perimeter D on PG Mike Bibby (16.2) and SG Joe Johnson (21.6 ppg). The Heat cannot let these two bomb from the outside. If the Heat play good D on these guys it will be tough for the Hawks to win, since their inside offense is missing Horford. Johnson is struggling with his shot, big time, lately, as he is only shooting 26.5% from the field and averaging 13.3 points in his last 3 games.

The Hawks need to have a big man step up and pick up the scoring slack inside, as the Heat will leave the lane open to guard the perimeter.

The Heat are currently in the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference and the Hawks have the 4th spot. There are only a few games separating these 2 in the standings and the Heat can move closer to the coveted 4th spot, to host a playoff series, with a win tonight.

Jason’s Pick: I like Atlanta plus the points.