Coming out of the All-Star break, it seems the Atlanta Hawks are just as busy trying to get a good trade for Josh Smith as they are trying to get home advantage for the postseason, while the Miami Heat are hoping that the winning streak they were building before the weekend will continue.
You can’t talk about the Miami Heat without the role LeBron James has been on – averaging 30.8 points on 71.7 percent shooting during his run of six games with at least 30 points and 60% from the field as the Heat beat the Rockets, Clippers, Lakers and Thunder during their 7 game winning stretch. Miami averaged 111.8 points and made 52% of its field goal attempts during the last five games, coming to play an Atlanta team that allowed an average of 104.5 points over a four-game span before their most recent 108-76 win against the Orlando Magic.
The Hawks have won three of their last four, putting them at sixth in the East, 1.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets at the fourth position. Josh Smith may be the number name mentioned when it comes to the trade deadline, but he’s been on a tear lately, averaging 28 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the last couple of games, maybe as an incentive for teams to pull the trigger on a trade for him. Smith isn’t too worried though, knowing he’s becoming a free agent in the summer. Again the Heat it’s a different story, with Smith shooting 36% while averaging 15 points during the last six games between the two teams.
They’ve already met twice this season – the Heat won the first encounter in Atlanta 95-89 and the second one, coming a month later, in Miami, winning 101-92, as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined for 53 points while the team shot over 58% from the field.
Prediction – There’s no doubt who the better team is in this one, but the Heat have had energy problems on the road this season, and despite the rest, this could get tricky. If Josh Smith puts up big numbers and gets over his usual problems against the Heat, the Hawks have a chance of winning this one.