Atlanta Hawks - Miami Heat Preview

At 7:30 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, the Miami Heat will host the Atlanta Hawks for the first of four contests during the 2015-2016 season. The Hawks will enter the matchup with a 3-1 record, having won three consecutive games since falling to the Detroit Pistons on opening night one week ago. Meanwhile, the Heat (2-1) are coming off a historic victory against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, in which they became the first team since 2000 to win a game by 20 after trailing by 20.

The Hawks will be without key role player in Thabo Sefolosha, who will be sitting out due to this game being the front end of a back-to-back. They will, however, be with Jeff Teague who had to have an X-Ray done on his hand after their game on Sunday. 

Teague is leading the team in scoring, averaging over 18 points a game. The Hawks have gotten a big boost from offseason addition Kent Bazemore, who has led the team in scoring in their last two games. Bazemore is replacing DeMarre Carroll in the Hawks starting lineup this year, and has filled in well averaging 11 points while shooting almost 54% from behind the arc. They'll look for him to remain hot as the Heat have made it a priority to defend the three as teams are shooting 22 for 81 (27.2%) from behind the three point arc against them.

Dwyane Wade has been the hot hand for the Heat to this point in the season, he is averaging just under 22 points per game and has yet to miss a free throw attempt in his 20 attempts so far. Although Wade is a 77 percent free-throw shooter during his career, he has been known to go on hot streaks from the free throw line and appears to be on one of those right now. 

The victory on Sunday was by far the best game Miami has gotten from their center, Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 15 boards, while shooting 80 percent from the field. He received four stitches above his eye after the game but will start for Miami Tuesday night. The Heat has high expectations for first round rookie Justise Winslow and so far he has exceeded expectations. In the team’s two victories, he has had a plus/minus of plus-26 and plus-24. His defense was huge for the Heat on Sunday as he spent most of the contest guarding last year’s MVP runner-up James Harden, who finished the contest 2 for 15 from the field, while missing all of his 10 three-point attempts.

Both of these teams have expectations to win the Southeast division, their four matchups this year could make or break each teams chances of finishing on top of the division.