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Heat Win Again But Without Wade, Pacers Look for Win Against the Hawks

Lost in the excitement of this weekend’s NCAA hoops action was the Miami Heat’s 26th consecutive win. The team defeated the Charlotte Bobcats (16-54), 109-77, on Sunday.

LeBron James again stole the show as the team’s leading scorer with 32 points, 10 assists with eight rebounds. He had an audience of fellow sports talents including tennis’ Novak Djokovic, boxing great Wladimir Klitschko and top golfer, Rory McIlroy.

Heat Forward LeBron James

Heat Forward LeBron James

James said of their attendance via ESPN, “I think it’s very humbling that you can have some of the greats from other sports come to see your team play, come to see you play. You try to leave an impression on them, as a team and as an individual, absolutely. So it was great to have them in the building, for sure.”

Chris Bosh and Norris Cole each added 15 points apiece for the Heat on Sunday. They were without Dwyane Wade, who sat on the bench thanks to a sore right knee. It isn’t considered serious and the team is taking it day-by-day.

He is second on the team after James with his 21.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists averages over his 64 games.

For the Heat (55-14), they’re now seven wins short of tying the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA 33-game record of straight wins.

The team will hit a four-game road trip this week, starting on Monday against Orlando (18-52), followed by stops in Chicago, New Orleans and San Antonio. For Monday’s game, the streak should continue as Miami is -12.5, 198 o/u for the win.

The over/under for the Heat’s streak is 29 games.

They sit at the top of the Eastern conference and are leading the San Antonio Spurs (53-17) by 2½ games for the league’s top record.

Behind the Heat in the conference is the New York Knicks (42-26). They have a four-game win steak and in their last game on Saturday, they defeated the Toronto Raptors (26-44), 110-84. Next up is the Boston Celtics (36-33) on Tuesday.

For the Knicks, they’re +2800 to win it all in June.

Looking at Monday’s games, there’s the Eastern Conference’s third place team, the Indiana Pacers (43-27), hosting the Atlanta Hawks (39-31). They sit in the conference’s fifth spot and will look for a third straight road win.

The Pacers have played three games without power forward Davis West and have won but on Saturday, their luck changed as they lost to the Chicago Bulls 87-84. His 17.3 points per game was missed by the team and on Monday, they will again have to play without their second-leading scorer as he tries to recover from a sprained lower back.

Pinch hitting for West has been Tyler Hansbrough. In his first three games, he averaged 18.0 points with 12.3 rebounds but against the Bulls he had seven points with six rebounds.

In their three match-ups this season, the Pacers have lost two of three.

The Hawks will enter the game confidently after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks (34-35) 104-99 on Sunday. This represented their fifth win over seven games.

Hawks Al Horford

Hawks Al Horford

Contributing to their good play has been Al Horford who had six consecutive double-doubles; this did end on Sunday but he still had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Josh Smith added 23 points.

Against the Pacers this season, Horford has averaged 17.0 points (66.7 percent shooting).

On Sunday, Hawks guard Devin Harris exited the game in the fourth quarter due to an injured left foot; he was not seen for the rest of the game. Harris will undergo an evaluation; previously he did not play in two of the three Pacers games.

The team will now rely on DeShawn Stevenson. He didn’t play on Sunday and usually doesn’t play in back-to-back games but could be an asset against the Pacer’s large perimeter players.

For the Pacers, they’ll take the win on the home court (-7, 186 o/u).





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