This Friday, February 19, the Miami Heat will take on their division rival Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena in Atlanta. Teams in the middle of the pack of the Eastern Conference are in need of a big push for the postseason. For the Miami Heat, the situation is no different. At 29-24, the Heat find themselves positioned at the 5 seed in the East.
To give an idea of how congested the standings are, the Heat are only two games out of the 3 seed and two games ahead of the 8 seed. As the season wears on, every game holds an immense amount of weight. The Heat’s upcoming game against the current 4 seed Atlanta Hawks carries extra importance for their division race as much as their conference race.
The last time the Heat matched up with the Hawks, the game was played at American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat came out with fire and intensity, leading to a spirited 105-87 win on their home floor. Chris Bosh led all Heat players with 18 points while also adding seven rebounds in his 34 minutes played.
As the Heat look forward to their Friday matchup, the team is coming off a rough game against the Spurs. The Heat were handily beaten 119-101, and Heat Center Hassan Whiteside was ejected for elbowing Spurs Center Boban Marjanovic.
The team has much to improve on in order to beat a Hawks team coming off of a big win in Chicago against the Bulls last week. For the Heat to win, they will have to make three point shots, rebound, and not commit an excess number of turnovers.
In terms of health, the Heat will officially be without backup guard Tyler Johnson, who may miss the rest of the regular season due to shoulder surgery. Johnson is a key component of the team as one of the only two consistent three point shooters along with guard Gerald Green. The Heat will also be monitoring the minutes of Chris Bosh, who had to withdraw from participating in All-Star Weekend due to a strained calf.
The NBA Trade Deadline is set for this Thursday, February 18. A number of Heat players have been featured in trade talks, such as Center Hassan Whiteside, Forward Luol Deng, Forward Jarnell Stokes, and Guard Beno Udrih. As a result, a major trade could change the outlook of this game along with the Heat franchise’s outlook on the rest of this season.