Atlanta (3-1) at Miami (2-1)
When: Tuesday, November 3rd 2015
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: NBA TV
Two of the three favorites to win the Southeast Division meet Tuesday night in Miami as the Heat host the Atlanta Hawks from American Airlines Arena. Atlanta opened the season with a loss to the Pistons, but have since won three-straight including a home-and-home sweep over the Hornets this past weekend. Kent Bazemore shined in both victories over Charlotte, scoring 39 points in the two games on 13-of-25 shooting. Atlanta tightened up on defense late in both games but especially Sunday, when the Hawks held the Hornets to 4-of-24 shooting in the fourth quarter with all four baskets coming from 3-point land. The Hawks did not shoot a free throw until the 6:14 mark of the third quarter Sunday, finishing 13-of-14 from the line. Atlanta has held opponents to just 39.4% shooting in four games, which ranks 4th in the league, while they are shooting 45.2%, ranking them 7th. The Hawks spread the ball well as they have five players averaging over 9 points a game led by Jeff Teagues’s 18.2. Thabo Sefolosha is among the NBA leaders in steals per game with 2.7 a game.
The Miami Heat looked as though they would be coming into this game at 1-2 before a furious second half rally against Houston on Sunday. Down 19 at half, the Heat controlled the final 24 minutes, hitting nine 3-pointers after the break and finishing the half at 58.5 percent from the field while forcing 11 turnovers. Hassan Whiteside, who scored 15 points with 15 rebounds combined in his first two games, gave Miami 25 points and 15 rebounds in the win. Dwayne Wade has scored 20 or more points in each of his first three games for Miami. The Heat are the number one 3-point shooting team in the NBA at 42.9% and second in free throws at 87.5%. Wade leads the team with 21.7 points and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 60% from beyond the arc. Miami rookie Justise Winslow hit two 3-pointers off the bench on Sunday and finished with 10 points and two steals in 31 minutes.
The Atlanta defense should be able to cool off the hot shooting Heat tonight in Miami. These teams, along with Washington, will battle all season long for the Southeast title. I’m taking the Heat to win tonight, but the Hawks cover in a close game.
Pick: Hawks +4