National Basketball Association
Miami at Atlanta
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, February 20, 2020
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
The Miami Heat come out of the All-Star break still on the road, but at least they're back on the east coast. The Heat will finish off a six-game trip that spanned the break when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday.
Miami looks like an NBA title contender at home but owns 13-16 record on the road and dropped four of the first five on the trip, including a 116-101 setback at Utah heading into the break. "We're excited about our team," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "Nobody wants to go 1-4 on the road trip, but it doesn't take the eternal optimist to see there are good things going on in this locker room. We'll get this thing right and get our game together for this final push. It should be exciting. It's really competitive in the Eastern Conference." The Hawks are slightly ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race to avoid the worst record in the Eastern Conference but have an All-Star starter in second-year point guard Trae Young and believe the future is bright. "What is the future of the Atlanta Hawks?" coach Lloyd Pierce asked the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It's to grow these young guys, but be a destination that players want to come to. We want to be a contending team for years to come, and it starts with having a young, second-year player as an All-Star."TIME:
7:30 p.m. ET. TV:
FS Sun, FS SoutheastABOUT THE HEAT (35-19):
Miami was well represented at All-Star weekend and came away with some trophies with Derrick Jones Jr. winning the slam dunk contest and Bam Adebayo taking the skills competition. Adebayo and swingman Jimmy Butler both played for Team Giannis in Sunday's All-Star Game and combined for 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting off the bench. "We've been down a couple years," Adebayo told the Miami Herald of the Heat during All-Star weekend. "But that's what I like about this organization. We never stop fighting no matter what our year is like. We always come in with positive intentions and trying to find a way to win. ... It just shows how much talent we have on this team."ABOUT THE HAWKS (15-41):
Young, who also participated in the Rising Stars game on Friday and the 3-point contest on Saturday, started for Team Giannis on Sunday and delivered 10 points and 10 assists in 16 minutes, including a half-court buzzer-beater to end the first half. Young ranks third in the NBA in scoring (29.2 points) and second in assists (9.2) but went into the break frustrated after Atlanta dropped games at Orlando and Cleveland. "I'm tired of kind of saying it's encouraging, because we've done that all year," Young told reporters. "We've got to figure out a way to start off better and finish, close out games. Even though we're young, that's not an excuse. We've got to learn to get better, and it's going to come."BUZZER BEATERS
1. Hawks C Clint Capela (heel), who was acquired from Houston before the trade deadline, will miss at least two more weeks.
2. Heat rookie SG Tyler Herro (foot) is expected to miss his sixth consecutive game but is nearing a return.
3. Miami took each of the first three meetings, including a 106-97 triumph at Atlanta on Oct. 31.PREDICTION:
Heat 124, Hawks 118
Stats and Records