Atlanta Hawks host division rival Miami Heat


The Atlanta Hawks hope to end their two-game losing streak when they face the Miami Heat tonight. Tipoff is at 8:00 PM ET and it will air on Fox Sports Southeast.

The Atlanta Hawks (14-11) sit tied with the Detroit Pistons for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, but only 2.5 games back of first-place Cleveland in the conference. Atlanta will get to take on a familiar foe in their Southeast Division rival the Miami Heat. Miami (13-9) is only half a game better than the Hawks in the East are have a tie with the Indiana Pacers for fifth place.

Since the LeBron James era came to an end in South Beach, the Atlanta Hawks have had the upper hand in this division rivalry. Atlanta has yet to lose a division game at 4-0 in 2015-16, while Miami are 1-3 in the Southeast.

The Atlanta Hawks are coming off a tough last three games against three of the four best teams in the Western Conference: beating the Dallas Mavericks on the road, but falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Center and at home to the San Antonio Spurs. Atlanta is still playing at least .500 ball both at home (8-5) and on the road (6-6).

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The Miami Heat are a strong home team (11-4), but they won’t play in their house tonight. Miami has played 15 of their 22 games in South Beach, but have not proven themselves yet as a competitive team on the road (2-5).

With an extra day of rest and having this game played at the Highlight Factory in Downtown Atlanta, the Atlanta Hawks should come out energized to play one of their bigger division rivals tonight. A 15th win on the season would no doubt advance the Atlanta Hawks up the standings in the ultra tight Eastern Conference.

While Saturday night’s home loss to the Spurs was a blowout, if the team can play like they did in the second half as opposed to how they dropped the ball in the first half with only 25 points scored, then Atlanta should stop their losing skid and move to 15-11 on the year.

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Eventually the Eastern Conference will have a clear separation one through eight, but for now it is as exciting as it has been in over a decade and a half. Over a quarter of the way through the 2015-15 NBA season and the 13th place Milwaukee Bucks are only 6.5 games back of first place Cleveland at 10-15. For the record, the 3rd place team in the West is OKC and they are 7.5 games back of top-seeded Golden State. Let’s Go Hawks.