Fans of the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat both entered Thursday's trade deadline with sky-high expectations for wild roster movement. In the end, both teams simply pulled off peripheral moves that could be attributed to cost/salary cap savings in the future. With that as the backdrop, the two teams will take to an NBA floor on Friday night in the first basketball action since All-Star Weekend and the trade deadline, and Atlanta will host the festivities.
The "headline" of the on-court contest is that Miami will be without both Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside for this game. Bosh experienced a scare concerning blood clots (the same blood clots that cost him half of last season) over the break, which paved the way for Al Horford to attend the All-Star Game. While the prognosis appears to be better in this instance, the Heat are rightfully taking a measured approach and the absence of Bosh is significant. In the case of Whiteside, he will serve a one-game suspension for an errant elbow prior to the break, and the Heat will be quite short-handed in the frontcourt.
As for the home team, only the addition of old pal Kirk Hinrich (in place of Shelvin Mack and Justin Holiday) adds any sort of outside intrigue. Hinrich will likely serve as a "break in case of emergency" piece given the presence of Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder, but Mike Budenholzer already indicated that there is a role for Hinrich, and it could come in the form of minutes at the shooting guard spot, however ill-advised that may be.
The Hawks will be at full strength with the exception of Tiago Splitter (out for the year with hip surgery), and as such, Atlanta has the upper hand on paper. Nonetheless, the game must be played, and the Hawks must perform in a situation (after a long break) that they have not always embraced with fervor. Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest.
Game Date/Time: Friday, February 19, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM