Miami Heat Returns from All-Star Break Hoping to Remain Red HotBy David A.
The Friday NBA calendar features a Southeast division showdown when the Miami Heat visits the Atlanta Hawks. The current line has Atlanta favored by 3.5 points with the over/under total on 207.
Entering this game, Miami has an overall record of 25-32 straight up and 32-24-1 against the spread. On the road, the Heat is 12-18 SU and 18-12 ATS. Atlanta on the season has an overall record of 32-24 SU and 28-28 ATS. At home, the Hawks are 16-11 SU and 13-14 ATS.
Miami looks to continue its great play leading up to the All-Star break on their visit to Atlanta. The Heat won 117-109 prior to the break that was their 14th win in their last 16 games. The Heat did not make any trades on deadline day and will move ahead with the roster they have.
Dion Waiters, who scored 20 points earlier in February against Atlanta and 23 in each of the last two games prior to the All-Star break, has become one of Miami’s most important offensive contributors.
Atlanta made two moves during the week. The Hawks acquired Ersan Ilyasova from the Philadelphia 76ers and traded forward Mike Scott to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for cash.
Atlanta will play 7 of its next 9 games at home. The Hawks defeated the Heat at home 103-95 in December.
Josh Richardson participated with Miami in practice on Wednesday and should return after missing 15 games. This season Richardson scored 19 points in the one game he has played versus the Hawks.
Atlanta is ranked No. 25 in the league in shooting from 3-point territory, and should get help from newly acquired Ilyasova who averages two baskets from that range per game.
Thabo Sefolosha has recovered from his groin injury that kept him sidelined for 9 games and should be in uniform for the Hawks on Friday.
Miami point guard Goran Dragic has averaged 24 points per game versus the Hawks this season.
Ilyasova has averaged 15 points and 6.6 rebounds this season against Miami in three games while playing with the 76ers.
Atlanta center Dwight Howard is No. 2 in the league in field percentage and No. 4 in rebounding.
Miami is 6-1 ATS in its past 7 games on the road.
Atlanta is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 games versus Southeast opponents.
Prediction: The Heat have played well coming off extended periods of rest, while Atlanta is just the opposite. Lean toward the Heat here.