Heat resume homestand vs. Atlanta
(Sports Network) – The Miami Heat continue a six-game homestand this evening
when they welcome the ice-cold Atlanta Hawks to the AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Heat got their residency off to a great start on Friday behind one of
Shaquille O’Neal’s best games of the 2006-07 campaign.
The center had a season-high 31 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and added a
season-best six assists, as Miami blew a 22-point lead before pulling out an
85-82 triumph over Detroit.
O’Neal will be expected to carry the load for the Heat as Dwyane Wade is still
out indefinitely because of a dislocated left shoulder.
Antoine Walker added 22 points for Miami, which won its eighth in a row at
home to move its mark at AmericanAirlines Arena this season to 17-10. The Heat
have won three of their last four overall and are tied with Indiana for the
sixth overall spot in the Eastern Conference.
Miami, which will also host Chicago, Minnesota, Washington and Utah on its
stand, trails the Wizards by four games in the Southeast Division.
The Hawks, meanwhile, will try to prevent their losing streak from reaching
six straight games against a team it has had little success against as of
Atlanta has dropped 11 of its past 12 games to the Heat, and nine in a row at
Miami. In fact, the Hawks have just one win in their past 19 road games
against the Heat.
Miami recorded a 93-88 overtime triumph over Atlanta in November in the first
meeting between the two clubs this season. The teams will meet two more times
this year in late March.
Atlanta’s current losing skid reached five games on Saturday when the Hawks
fell to New York, 104-100 in overtime. Joe Johnson had 32 points, eight
rebounds and seven assists in the loss.
Josh Smith added 20 points, 11 boards and three blocks for the Hawks, who had
a three-game home win streak halted and are on their longest losing streak
this season since dropping eight in a row from December 16-January 5.
The Hawks are 12-20 on the road this season and is currently in a three-way
tie with Charlotte and Philadelphia for the second-worst record in the Eastern
Atlanta returns home for four games, beginning with a tilt against Washington