Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference will go head-to-head on Tuesday night in Miami as the Heat (30-12) host the Atlanta Hawks (27-15).
I would like to take a look at five key reasons the Hawks will soar into Miami and fly away with an important victory.
The Heat Are Banged Up
The trio known as LeBron James, Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh are all nursing injuries.
Bosh and James both have ankle injuries. While James is questionable and expected to start, Bosh has already been ruled out.
Wade, on the other hand, is nursing knee and wrist injuries and skipped Tuesday's shootaround, but is expected to be fine.
Slumping Heat, Rising Hawks
The Heat are returning from a five game road trip and are in a three-game losing skid.
They lost consecutive games to the LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls.
The Heat are giving up 113 PPG on their losing streak, which is ten points higher than their season average of 103 PPG before the losing skid.
Meanwhile, the Hawks have won eight out of their last 10, including a four-game road winning streak.
A Cup Of Joe
The Hawks' star player, Joe Johnson, scored a season-high 36 points on 16-27 shooting (1-7 from downtown) with five rebounds, six assists and a steal in the Hawks' 100-98 win over the Kings on Monday.
Johnson is spreading the ball well, pulling up for some nice jumpers outside the paint and looks nearly unstoppable at this point, regardless of what team he is playing.
J-Smoove With A Huge Game
Without the big man Bosh playing for the Heat tonight, I look for Hawks forward Josh Smith (pictured above) to build off of his recent double-double on Monday night, where he scored 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Tonight's line could be something along the lines of 24 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
The Hawks Want It More
The Hawks are looking to avenge their 89-77 loss in Miami on December 4th and work their way out of fifth place in the Eastern Conference, where they have been stuck for a while now.
The Hawks remain in that gray area as a team that is good, but not great and isn't getting much respect.
A big win in South beach, regardless of Miami's injuries, will be a nice emotional boost for the Hawks and could help them climb up the ranks in the East.
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