Miami (29-24) at Atlanta (31-24)
When: Friday, February 19th 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: FSN Sun, FSN Southeast
The Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks continue their battle for first place in the Southeast Division when the teams meet on Friday night. The Heat come out of the All-Star Break just one game behind Atlanta, but might be without leading scorer Chris Bosh (19.1) for a while. One season after missing 30 games with blood clots in his lung, Bosh reportedly is back on blood thinners due to a clot in his left leg, which caused the forward to pull out of Sunday’s All-Star game with what was described as a calf injury. “He’s not here right now. He’s not going to be with us in Atlanta,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after practice Wednesday. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Bosh, the Heat did not make a major move at Thursday’s trade deadline, dealing role players Jarnell Stokes and Brian Roberts to shed salary. Center Hassan Whiteside, who leads the NBA in blocked shots (3.89), is second in field-goal percentage (61.7%), and fifth in rebounding (11), will miss Friday’s game while serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant-2 foul he received on February 9th against San Antonio. The Heat have won two of the first three meetings with Atlanta this season after losing all four games last season
Atlanta was the subject of fierce trade rumors leading up to the deadline, but only managed to part ways with reserves Shelvin Mack and Justin Holiday while acquiring guard Kirk Hinrich from Chicago. Hinrich played 72 games for Atlanta from 2010-12, averaging 7.3 points. The Hawks have shown signs of getting its offense on track, eclipsing 100 points in five of its past six games after falling short of that mark in five of its previous six. All-Star forward Paul Millsap has been the most consistent performer, averaging 17.7 points and 8.6 rebounds, but is shooting a dismal 44.3% in five February games after hitting 51.7% of his shots in January. Guard Jeff Teague is averaging 17.6 points and five assists while shooting 45% from 3-point range in his past five games. Teague and center Al Horford (15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds) were the subject of much speculation leading up to the trade deadline yesterday. The Hawks went 4-2 in their final six games before the break and both losses were to Orlando on back-to-back nights. Atlanta will get their next five at home before hitting the road and will play Golden State twice in the next two weeks.
Tonight’s Fantasy Picks: None
Without Bosh and Whiteside, the Heat will struggle down low tonight. These two teams have been going back-and-forth all season in the Southeast Division, but it looks like Atlanta might have the opportunity to start pulling away.
Pick: Hawks -9