Atlanta Hawks Host Miami Heat in Exhibition Matchup


The Atlanta Hawks welcome their Southeast Division Rival the Miami Heat to Philips Arena for a Sunday evening preseason contest.

The Atlanta Hawks are undefeated thus far in the preseason at 4-0, coming off a victory at Dallas on Friday. Al Horford led the team in scoring with 16 points, while Shelvin Mack led all reserves with 13 points off the bench. Head Coach Mike Budenholzer elected to rest three of his players on Friday: Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore. By starting Al Horford and Kyle Korver on Friday night, expect Bud to rest both Horford and Korver in today’s match.

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The Miami Heat are projected as one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference after making some offseason moves to improve their squad. Many pundits believe that the Miami Heat, not the Atlanta Hawks, are the team to beat in the Southeast Division this season. With Chris Bosh fully recovered from blood clots that prevented him from playing for the majority of last season, re-signing PG Goran Dragic, a healthy Hassan Whiteside and an intriguing first-year player in Justise Winslow, the Miami Heat are a formidable threat in the division and in the conference.

Given the rivalry between these two teams and the fact that they will play each other 4 times during the regular season, this exhibition contest gives Head Coach Mike Budenholzer an early look at the Heat, and will continue to experiment with different lineup combinations. The Miami Heat are one of the most balanced teams in the league from top to bottom. They possess a dynamic point guard, an aging super-star in Dwyane Wade, an All-Star PF in Bosh and perhaps a blooming All-Star center in Hassan Whiteside. 

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Whiteside has transformed into a best in the paint, offensively and defensively. His size will present the Atlanta Hawks with a challenge. Expect Budenholzer to utilize a combination of Tiago Splitter, Mike Muscala and Walter Tavares to counter the entire game. I also fully expect to see more of Lamar Patterson, Terran Petteway, and the rest of the non-roster invitees play in this game. Patterson currently leads the race for the 15th and final roster spot, but that could quickly change if Terran Petteway gets hot or if Patterson reverts to his erratic ways on the court.

This is an exciting contest early on that will give fans a glimpse of what to expect in the regular season in the Southeast Division. Go Hawks!

Next: Atlanta Hawks: Preseason Game 4 Takeaways

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