- Atlanta hosts Miami on Friday, April 23rd
- The Hawks will be without Trae Young, who suffered an ankle sprain in Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks
- Get the odds, preview, and pick for this contest below
The surging Miami Heat visit the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, April 23rd, tip-off 7:30pm ET at State Farm Arena. Miami is winners of three straight and just one game separates these two in the Eastern Conference standings.
This will be the third and final contest between the Heat and Hawks this season, with each team winning once apiece thus far.
Heat vs Hawks Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Miami Heat||-5 (-110)||-200||TBD|
|Atlanta Hawks||+5 (-110)||+168||TBD|
Odds as of April 22nd.
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Butler’s Comments Made a Difference
Last Friday, Miami lost for the third straight game and this time, it was at the hands of the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. Jimmy Butler clearly had enough of what he was seeing, proceeding to call his team “soft” and claiming they need to play with more toughness.
Since Butler made those remarks, the Heat haven’t lost. Better yet, two of their three wins have been without him. They went on to beat the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, thanks to a Bam Adebayo buzzer-beater, then also took down the Rockets and Spurs earlier this week.
The victory over San Antonio was particularly impressive, with Jimmy Buckets returning to the lineup. He pounded home 18 points and dished out 11 assists in the 20-point win, while Adebayo dropped a team-high 23.
Miami shot 42% from downtown while outrebounding their opponents 44-38. They also moved the ball around extremely well, collecting a total of 28 dimes.
💥 @Bam1of1 was in attack mode all night
23 Pts / 8 Rebs / 5 Asts / 1 Blk / 3 Stls pic.twitter.com/Dv5V8iPHM8
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 22, 2021
Needless to say, Erik Spoelstra’s team is getting hot at the perfect time. There is currently just a game and a half separating Miami in eighth and the red-hot Knicks in fourth, which means there is still a strong possibility this team can finish as a much higher seed for the postseason.
Despite the Hawks going 7-3 in their last 10 games, this is an opportunity for Miami to take advantage of them without floor general Trae Young.
Good News on Trae
Nate McMillan and the rest of Atlanta certainly cringed when Young hit the ground in pain after twisting his ankle in a loss to the Knicks on Wednesday night. But luckily, the Hawks star suffered a Grade 2 lateral sprain, which isn’t expected to keep him out for long. Once the inflammation and discomfort subside, Young will be able to return.
This is the best-case scenario for a team that is in the heart of a playoff race. After all, Young has missed just five games this season and has been one of the more durable superstars in the association.
But, Atlanta will now have to figure out how to make up for 25.3 points per night. The next handful of games won’t be easy either, as they play the Heat, Bucks, Pistons, and the Sixers twice. Detroit should be no issue, but all of these other meetings will be a tough task without Trae.
Brandon Goodwin and Lou Williams will see increased minutes as a result, while John Collins, Clint Capela, and Bogdan Bogdanovic will need to step up their offensive production.
Speaking of Capela, he was an absolute beast on the boards against New York, dropping 25 points and collecting 22 rebounds. When Young exited late in the third quarter, the Hawks blew an 11-point lead and allowed the Knicks to claw their way back into the game. Eventually heading to OT, Tom Thibodeau’s squad outscored ATL 15-5 en route to the victory.
25 PTS x 22 REB 💪
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 22, 2021
On a more positive note though, Atlanta has a 3-2 record this year when Young has been sidelined. Friday’s meeting with Miami will be an opportunity to keep their impressive play at State Farm Arena going, where they’ve compiled a 16-11 record this year.
Miami doesn’t play well on the road, while the Hawks love playing in Atlanta. But, it’s tough to bet against a team who is at close to full-strength and firing on all cylinders lately.
The Heat is just 17-21 as ATS favorites, while the Hawks have a 14-14 record as underdogs. But, given how they played when Young departed on Wednesday, I think this squad is going to feel lifeless in the first full contest without the focal point of their offense on the floor.
Take Miami to cover the spread and as the Moneyline favorite.
Pick: Heat ML (-200)
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