NBA Pick: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks Preview
This is tremendously important game for the Heat, just like last night’s game was against the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are one of the upstart teams in the league right now, and they are certainly not the easiest team to put away, but Miami took care of them without any fuss or muss in a blowout win. Now, it’s back to the matter at hand, and that means taking care of the Atlanta teams which beat it just a few nights ago. You don’t think of Miami as the top scoring team in the league, but that is precisely the case. Obviously, LeBron James is LeBron James, and he is averaging just a tick under 30 points per night, while Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are getting their numbers as well. The real difference maker has been rookie, Norris Cole. The man from Cleveland State has been on fire, averaging 11.4 points per game and essentially taking the role as the fourth man on the team away from the likes of Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers, significantly more experienced players.
The Hawks have absolutely proven that they can beat any team in the league when their defense is on its game. Atlanta not only took down the Heat in South Beach, but the very next night, it nearly beat the Chicago Bulls in the Windy City. In fact, the defense held the Bulls, one of the more talented offensive teams in the league to just 42 points in three quarters worth of ball before self-destructing in the fourth quarter. This still isn’t a particularly deep team, but it is one that is finding a way to match wits with another team that really isn’t that deep either. Joe Johnson and the gang aren’t nearly as talented as the three amigos for Miami, but there is still some talent here. Tracy McGrady has come in and become an admirable player for the Hawks, averaging right at 10.0 points per game, and he is one of the six averaging in double figures. The rest of the team though, is really a waste, as the only the other even remotely viable option to use is Zaza Pachulia, who is only playing 14 minutes per game and averaging 6.5 points per game.
Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks Trends: Miami may have been beaten as 9.5 point favorites at home on Monday, but it is still 6-2 ATS in its last eight clashes with the Hawks. Atlanta is 7-1 ATS in its last eight divisional games. The road team has won four in a row both SU and ATS in this series. Even though the Heat have the best offense in basketball, don’t be surprised if this one stays ‘under’, as 20 of the last 28 meetings have failed to reach the ‘total’.