The Atlanta Hawks haven't been spotless in accumulating three consecutive victories, but they will test their new-found momentum on Friday night, as the Miami Heat coming calling for a tilt at Philips Arena.
Other than the obvious story line of an attempt to unseat the four-time defending Southeast Division champions, the Hawks will once again be operating without the services of their starting small forward in DeMarre Carroll. Carroll has been ruled out for the second consecutive game as a result of a groin issue, and although Atlanta fought valiantly in his absence on Wednesday, the visiting Heat are a different beast than the Utah Jazz.
On the positive side, the Hawks will likely have Mike Scott in the lineup, as the team announced that the offensively aggressive forward is listed as "probable" after missing Wednesday's game with a back contusion. Scott's presence should help to sure up the rotation, but we should again see a significant dose of Thabo Sefolosha, especially in attempting to defend Heat star Dwyane Wade.
Aside from containing Wade without the benefit of Carroll, the Chris Bosh-Al Horford match-up is always exceedingly interesting. Bosh is playing extremely well this season, averaging 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while Horford is struggling to get his "sea legs", as evidenced by an uneven (to be kind) performance against Utah.
It is too early to rationally discuss playoff positioning or anything of the sort, but facing off against the Heat at full-strength should be an interesting barometer for where the Atlanta Hawks are at this point. Erik Spoelstra and company will certainly be well-prepared for Mike Budenholzer's offense, and Miami has the firepower to off-set a lot of positive things that Atlanta should try to employ. Regardless, this should be the first of four intriguing battles between the two teams this season.
Game Date/Time: Friday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM