The reigning Eastern Conference champs, the Miami Heat, will travel to the Peach State for a showdown against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. The fixture represents their third meeting of the 2020-21 season.
The two Eastern Conference clubs have done well in the second half of the campaign. Their matchup offers a preview of what could turn out to be a thrilling playoff series in the making.
The Miami Heat have been on a roll, winning three games in a row ahead of this contest. Erik Spoelstra's men are in 7th place in the East, 0.5 games behind the Boston Celtics (6th). Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks have won seven of their past ten games. Adding Nate McMillan to the mix as their new head coach has done wonders for them this season. They will roll out at home with a 32-27 record, trailing the New York Knicks by just half a game.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks - NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Friday, April 23rd, 2021 7:30 PM ET. (Saturday 5:00 AM IST)
Venue: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
Miami Heat preview
Despite their ups and downs this season, the Miami Heat remain one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They have their pieces intact and could deliver another strong showing in the upcoming postseason campaign.
After their takedown of the Nets and Rockets, the Miami Heat thrashed the San Antonio Spurs in their previous outing. Jimmy Butler returned to action with an all-around performance as he raked in 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Bam Adebayo dazzled with a team-high 23 points, while Tyler Herro added 22 points off the bench as the Heat routed the Spurs to a 107-87 decision.
Key player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way guards in the game today. The 5x All-Star is known for his competitive spirit and never-surrender attitude. Fans can expect the Miami Heat star to elevate his game with the playoffs inching closer. Jimmy 'Buckets' delivered the goods last postseason and could repeat the magic this time around as well.
In 42 appearances for the Miami Heat, Butler has averaged 21.4 points per game on a stellar 49.4% shooting display from the floor. The 10th year guard is dishing out 7.3 assists per game while collecting 7.2 rebounds per contest.
Butler was on the sidelines as the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Miami Heat in their previous matchup last month and will be hungry to help his side return the favor in Friday's contest.
Miami Heat predicted lineup
Point Guard - Kendrick Nunn l Shooting Guard - Duncan Robinson l Small Forward - Jimmy Butler l Power Forward - Trevor Ariza l Center - Bam Adebayo
Atlanta Hawks preview
The Atlanta Hawks have a worrying concern with the health of their two best players this season. Both Trae Young and Clint Capela are being monitored on a day-to-day basis after their overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday. Capela is dealing with soreness in his back, while Young is attending to his ankle injury.
The Atlanta Hawks are already shorthanded with several players on the sidelines. The team will be praying for better fortunes the rest of the way as they prepare for the 2021 playoffs.
Playing against the Knicks, the Atlanta Hawks witnessed Capela deliver a tour de force performance as he registered 25 points to go along with a whopping 22 rebounds. Meanwhile, Young recorded a 20 point outing in 30 minutes in which he also added an impressive fourteen assists.
Key player - Trae Young
Trae Young has been in stellar form this season. He and Capela have proven to be the driving force behind their resurgence in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign. Besides being the most productive duo, Young and Capela have also been the most durable members of the Atlanta Hawks.
Ice Trae has played 54 games for Nate McMillan's side, averaging 25.3 points in 34.2 minutes per game. The 1x All-Star has been splendid with his playmaking abilities, averaging 9.6 dimes per contest. On the defensive end, Young is collecting 3.9 rebounds and nearing one steal per game.
Atlanta Hawks predicted lineup
Point Guard - Trae Young l Shooting Guard - Bogdan Bogdanovic l Small Forward - Kevin Huerter l Power Forward - John Collins l Center - Clint Capela
Heat vs Hawks match prediction
Both the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks have done well in recent stretches. Their season series stands at one win apiece for each side. The Miami Heat have winning momentum behind them and will fancy their chances of stealing one on the road, especially if Jimmy Butler gets off to a good start. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks could exercise restraint in this matchup as they continue to deal with the injury bug. Much will depend on Young and Capela's status and availability. On that note, we predict that the Miami Heat will emerge as victors in this tie.
Where to watch Heat vs Hawks?
The game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks will be telecast on Bally Sports Southeast (Atlanta) and Bally Sports Florida and Sun. Fans can also live stream the game via the NBA League Pass.