Heat at Hawks
The Miami Heat have been tough to handle at home so far in their NBA title defense, but the Heat laid an egg in their first road trip, something the defending champs will try to avoid when they set out for six straight contests away from home starting Friday at Atlanta. The Hawks are soaring after a remarkable comeback win over Indiana on Wednesday in which they reeled off an 18-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Miami has breezed to two straight blowouts, beating Phoenix 124-99 on Monday and thumping Brooklyn 103-73 on Wednesday. Whether that will translate on the road is a concern after Miami was beaten 104-84 by the New York Knicks in its first road game of the season. The Heat have won five straight in Atlanta, though, and nine of 11 overall against the Hawks.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Sun Sports Miami, SportSouth
ABOUT THE HEAT (4-1): Miami's "Big Three" continues to put up huge numbers, as LeBron James leads the way with 22.4 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Dwyane Wade isn't far behind in the scoring and assist columns at 20.4 points and 4.6 assists, and Chris Bosh is off to a great start with 19.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (2-1): Atlanta's outlook on its first three games changed dramatically with its fourth-quarter rally against Indiana. Even so, the Hawks had their worst game of the season at the offensive end, and they'll need to step it up to keep pace with the high-scoring Heat. Forward Al Horford leads the team with 17.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, with Josh Smith adding 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists and Lou Williams kicking in 16.7 points off the bench.
1. Miami has made double-digit 3-pointers in three consecutive games for just the third time in franchise history. It has never done so in four straight games.
2. The Hawks have won five straight against Southeast Division rivals dating to last season.
3. James has scored in double digits in 424 consecutive games, including all 146 he has played for the Heat, which is two games shy of Wade's franchise record.