Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks Prediction & Match Preview - January 21st, 2022 | NBA Season 2021-22

The Miami Heat are still unbeaten against the Atlanta Hawks this season. [Photo: AP News]
The Miami Heat are still unbeaten against the Atlanta Hawks this season. [Photo: AP News]
Michael Macasero

The Miami Heat will interrupt their four-game homestand with a trip to State Farm Arena to face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. After the said matchup on the road, Miami will stay at home for the next four games again.

Erik Spoelstra’s charges are unbeaten in two games against the Atlanta Hawks this season. They won the first game without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and won the second one without the latter. Both players will play in the upcoming match, but the Miami Heat will be without Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro.

The Heat will count on their suddenly impressive depth to seal the season series against last season’s Eastern Conference finalists.

The Atlanta Hawks will try to extend a modest two-game run and get over the hump this season against the Miami Heat. Superstar point guard Trae Young has been very impressive in the last few games and will continue to lead the host team.

Young’s 37 points and 14 assists were the main factors in dragging the Atlanta Hawks to their first back-to-back wins in almost two months. They will have to do much better to win against an inspired Heat team that will be without two of their best playmakers.

Match Details

Fixture: Miami Heat vs Atlanta Hawks | 2021-22 NBA season

Date & Time: Friday, January 21st; 7:30 PM ET (Saturday, January 22nd; 6:00 AM IST)

Venue: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Miami Heat Preview

The Miami Heat continue to look at adversity with disdain this season. After getting Bam Adebayo back from injury, they will not have Kyle Lowry for a third straight game. They will also miss Tyler Herro, who just entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Despite players coming in and out of the lineup, including their superstars, the Miami Heat have surged to a 15-5 record in their last 20 games. They are now technically tied with the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the East.

The game against the Portland Trail Blazers was the perfect example of how resilient and stubborn they have been. They lost Herro before the game and saw Jimmy Butler get ejected less than 24 minutes later. They responded with yet another impressive showing from unheralded players like Caleb Martin and Max Strus.

The team is looking more and more like a legitimate contender to challenge this year’s title.

Key Player - Jimmy Butler

Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has been joking with the media, telling them that they don’t need Jimmy Butler to win games. The Miami Heat are 12-6 this season without their vocal leader. But this team is a reflection of the bruising forward’s identity and playing style. They are, without question, a significantly better team, with the snarling Butler displaying his all-around performance.

The five-time All-Star is averaging 21.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.9 steals per contest. Without Herro and Lowry in the lineup, he became their de facto playmaker. He dished out three assists in 15 minutes before his ejection against the Blazers.

Dewayne Dedmon: I tell Jimmy Butler all the time we don't need him. We play great basketball without Jimmy. 😂You saw Caleb tonight? I tell him he's the second light skinned player I love watching play, right behind Steph Curry

When he played as the main playmaker in the game against the Toronto Raptors without Lowry, the 32-year-old forward had a masterful triple-double, including 10 assists. Butler’s versatility and leadership are still irreplaceable in this team.

Miami Heat Predicted Lineup

G - Gabe Vincent | G - Duncan Robinson | F - Jimmy Butler | F - P.J. Tucker | C - Bam Adebayo

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Atlanta Hawks Preview

The Atlanta Hawks' almost non-existent defense is nullifying their hot offense. [Photo: Peachtree Hoops]
The Atlanta Hawks' almost non-existent defense is nullifying their hot offense. [Photo: Peachtree Hoops]

The Atlanta Hawks are 7-13 in their last 20 games and have struggled until they scored an upset victory over the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks. They then won two straight games in a long while with a big comeback against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Nate McMillan, who’s known as a defensive coach, has got his work cut out for him. In the last 20 games, the Atlanta Hawks’ defense has been the worst in the league by a ridiculous margin. Their defensive rating of 120.4 is nearly 6 points worse than the bottom-ranked defensive rating of the Houston Rockets.

At the other end of the floor, their offensive rating of 115.4 in the same span is second behind the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, when the Atlanta Hawks have an off-night, their defense is unable to get them out of trouble. They need to be consistent on both ends to string more wins together and get back into playoff contention.

Key Player - Trae Young

Trae Young is the only player in the NBA this season that is ranked in the top five in assists and points. He is fifth in scoring with 27.9 PPG, highlighted by 37.2 shooting from beyond the arc. The former Atlanta Hawks All-Star is third in assists with 9.5 APG. His assist percentage, 47.5%, leads the league by a good margin.

Ice scored 23 of his 37 PTS in the 3rd quarter alone last night 🤯📊 37 PTS | 14 AST | 6/10 3PTM@TheTraeYoung x @UPS

The Atlanta Hawks are so dependent on the sharpshooter on offense that the team struggles when he sits. It’s when Young rests or is having an off-night that their defensive liability is explicitly highlighted. With the way he’s playing, he deserves his second All-Star nod this coming February.

Atlanta Hawks Predicted Lineup

G - Trae Young | G - Kevin Huerter | F - De’Andre Hunter | F - John Collins | C - Onyeka Okungwu

Heat vs Hawks Match Prediction

Lowry's absence will make the job of containing Trae Young more difficult. However, the Miami Heat is the more well-rounded team with a significantly better defense than the Hawks.

The Miami Heat could win a close one in Atlanta on Friday.

Where to watch the Heat vs Hawks game

The NBA League Pass will stream the game live. Local coverage of the matchup is available via Bally Sports Atlanta and Bally Sports Sun.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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