Atlanta Hawks vs Miami Heat

 

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The Atlanta Hawks make a visit to American Airlines Arena in South Beach for a 2-game road set versus the Miami Heat with the opener scheduled for Sunday night at 8 pm EST. Currently, the Heat are favored by 6.5-points while the total stands at 222.5-points.

The Hawks enter this contest losers of 2 of 3 games as they fell on the road by 9-points against the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night as their attempted rally from 16-down at the end of the 3rd-period fell short as Atlanta fell for the 19th on the year. The bigs for the Hawks both had solid nights at John Collins led with 25 points and 8 boards while Clint Capela had a monster night with 17 points, 21 boards, along with 4 blocks. Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, despite going 6-18 from deep, shot a combined 12-25 FG in the contest to post 17 and 15 points, respectively, with Young committing 3 turnovers. The Hawks also failed to cover as 5.5-point favorites and hold a record of 3-6 in their last 9.

The Heat have certainly caught fire as of late picking up 5-straight wins after taking what a solid Utah Jazz team at home Saturday night after a clutch 4th-period from Jimmy Butler along with hot-shooting from reserve Goran Dragic. Bam Adebayo also posted a double-double as the Heat shot over 51% from the floor while nailing 14 3-pointers. On the other hand, despite allowing 30 from Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz only shot 43% from the field in addition to 33% from deep (15-46). The Heat was able to cover for the 5th-straight game as 6.5-point underdogs versus the Jazz.

Miami possesses a slight edge versus the Hawks in recent meetings picking up wins in 6 of 10 matchups, including 4 of 5 at American Airlines Arena. The Hawks, however, are 6-4 ATS during this time while covering in 3 of 5 on the road versus the Heat.

Hawks continue to slide in division

At a record of 14-19, the Hawks are currently in 3rd-place in the Southeast division only 2 games behind the Hawks while being just 1.5-games ahead of the surging Washington Wizards. However, they enter this matchup losers of 7 of their last 10 (including 5 of 6 on the road) as their defense continues to suffer from mental breakdowns on a consistent basis. In fact, the Thunder was able to destroy Atlanta from the perimeter shooting well over 50% in the home win, but connected on 16 3-pointers as well with Lugentz Dort along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander combining for 7 total.

In all, the Hawks’ defense has allowed an average of 121 points in their last 10 games.Unfortunately, their defense has not been much better versus Miami in recent outings giving up 123 points in their last 5 meetings, including 135 in their last meeting at American Airlines Arena.

The offense for Atlanta certainly possesses talent in the front and back-court with Capela and Collins along with Young and Huerter. However, despite Young being a spectacular talent while posting huge numbers on the offensive end, he has done this on just 43% shooting (37% from long-range). Furthermore, turnovers continue to be a weak point for the point guard as he has posted 29 in his last 6, overall.

To make matters worse, Cam Reddish is questionable for this contest with an Achilles injury while forward De’Andre Hunter is not due back in the lineup until early March with a knee injury. Both are averaging double-digits on the season.

Heat seek to continue their win streak

Miami has been able to weather the storm from a horrendous stretch of play earlier in the month to take over the top spot in the division as they possess a slim lead over the Charlotte Hornets, currently, thanks to a 5-game win streak. The offense, which is putting up 107 points per game, has increased their output by more than 10 points during this time with Butler, Adebayo, along with Dragic each providing some huge minutes. However, it should be mentioned that Adebayo is questionable for this game with a knee injury while guard Tyler Herro may miss his 4th-straight game due to an ongoing hip injury.

Despite the Heat having to deal with ongoing injury issues throughout the year, they have also been able to rely on a strong defensive effort on a nightly basis as the unit is ranked in the top-6 in the league in points allowed per game along with opponent field goal percentage. In fact, aside from giving up 116 to Utah in their most recent win, the Heat are only giving up an average of 108 points during their win streak.

Miami has done well for themselves on the defensive end of the floor in recent homers versus the Hawks as well as surrendering just 107 points in their last 5, overall. Important to add that in an overtime win in their last matchup versus the Hawks December of 2019, the team gave up 47% shooting to the Hawks (20 treys); Yet, boasted 3 30-point scorers with Adebayo posting a triple-double with 30, 11, and 11 dimes while Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn scoring 34 and 26 points. Butler ended with 20 points, 18 rebounds, along with 10 assists in the 14-point home win.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
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The Hawks have certainly put their offensive talent on display throughout the season; However, the problem continues to be their lack of perimeter defense as they continue to get destroyed in this area.  Miami will certainly test their resolve on defense as Butler leads a patient and efficient offense that thrives off defensive mistakes.

And though Miami may be without Adebayo and Herro due to injury, the Hawks have failed to cover in 3-straight roadies while Young may possibly feel the residual effects of an ailing groin at some point in this contest.

Prediction:
Miami Heat -6.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
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While the over has been the result in past outings for both teams, with the Heat continuing to deal with key injuries while Young hitting the injured list with a groin injury last night, I see the defenses taking control of this contest.  Look for Butler to have a big game for Miami, however, the total will not surpass its set limit when the final buzzer sounds.

Prediction:
Under 222.5