The Hawks have quietly won six of ten and are one of three teams with a better than .500 record in the Eastern Conference. They have won three straight while putting together a string of solid offensive performances.
Atlanta has scored at least 100 points in each of its last five games. They have scored at least 114 in each game of its current three-game winning streak. They will look to continue that streak against Miami who is the true measuring stick of the Eastern Conference.
The Heat have defeated the Hawks eight straight times and have won four straight to improve to 20-6 on the season. They are just a game behind the Indiana Pacers for the top spot in the conference and once again provide a formidable challenge both offensively and defensively.
Miami's offensive attack led by LeBron James is naturally one of the best in the league. Currently they are scoring over 109 points per 100 possessions which is second in the league. Conversely they are seventh in the league in defense surrendering just under 100 points per 100 possessions. The Heat are 13-2 at home and currently undefeated at 6-0 against Southeast division opponents.
Miami won the previous meeting between the two teams 104-88 on November 19. Atlanta was without Paul Millsap and Lou Williams due to injury while Dwyane Wade sat out for the Heat. Mike Scott led the Hawks with 15 points off the bench while Chris Bosh led the Heat with 19. The two teams meet twice more at Philips Arena later this season.
On the injury front, Gustavo Ayon and Cartier Martin are both listed as questionable. Ayon has missed the last six games with an ankle injury. Martin is battling an ankle injury of his own and has missed the last four games. For the Heat, Michael Beasley is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and is close to returning. Ray Allen sat out Sunday's practice but is expected to play on Monday.
It probably wouldn't be correct to call this game a statement game or measuring stick game. Even if the Hawks went into Miami and came away with a victory it probably wouldn't move needle on the national scene. However, any victory over the Heat would be a boost of confidence to these Hawks and would give them their longest winning streak of the season to date.
Game Date/Time: Monday, December 23, 7:30 p.m.
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Radio: 92.9 FM "The Game"