NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, February 20th
(All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (36-14) at Atlanta Hawks (29-22), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - LeBron James didn't reach the 30-point mark in the All-Star
game, but will have a chance to continue his scoring tear when the Miami Heat
resume a four-game road trip Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks.
James has scored 30 or more points in seven straight games, averaging 32 ppg
in that stretch, and netted 19 for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's All-Star
game. James, one of three Miami players selected to start the mid-season
extravaganza, was one of three players to compete for at least 30 minutes.
"It was an unbelievable weekend, it was a success. I had a lot of fun here in
Houston and I'm blessed," James said the day after the All-Star game. "I'm
blessed and very very humbled to be here and be a part of this. Tomorrow we
get a day a off, a well-needed day off. Tuesday we get back to work and head
The Heat have won seven in a row and closed out the first half of the season
with an impressive 110-100 win against All-Stars Kevin Durant, Russell
Westbrook and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder in an NBA Finals rematch.
James had made 60 percent or better from the floor in six straight games, but
was still able to keep his 30-point streak intact, finishing 14-of-24 shooting
(58.3 percent) with 12 rebounds and seven assists.
James, the reigning and three-time NBA MVP, is third in the NBA with 27.3 ppg
and the first player since Wilt Chamberlain (1962-63) to score 30 or more
points in seven straight games.
"We had a great game plan and went out and executed it," James said.
Fellow Miami All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade combined for 33 points in
the win. Bosh had 20 and Wade ended with 13. Wade was asked after the All-Star
game if it would be a challenge to go from the weekend's festivities to the
second half of the season.
"It's just a part of being a professional," Wade said. "So hopefully everybody
who had a "vacation," the Miami Heat organization, come back Tuesday ready to
attack the second half of the season. It starts fast for us: four games in
five nights, three of them on the road. We gotta bring our hard hats early and
understand it's gonna be a tough second half."
Miami has won two in a row on the road, is 13-11 as the guest (23-3 at home)
and still has Chicago and Philadelphia remaining on the road trip. In injury
news for the Heat, forwards Udonis Haslem (leg) and Mike Miller (flu) are
listed as probable for Wednesday's game.
Atlanta has been playing well the past few weeks with seven wins in the last
11 games, and headed to the All-Star break riding a two-game winning streak.
The Hawks routed the Orlando Magic, 108-76, last Wednesday behind Josh Smith's
30 points. Smith has been the subject of trade rumors lately with the NBA
deadline set for Thursday afternoon. Al Horford scored 26 points in the recent
win for Atlanta, which got seven points and 11 assists from Jeff Teague.
Smith was asked if he had any extra motivation for the night.
"It might be from the All-Star snub, I don't know," Smith told NBA.com. "Al's
been playing great as well. We've all elevated our game after the decision (on
All-Star reserves). Teague has been playing well for us. We've been doing the
right things and we've been clicking on all cylinders."
The versatile forward is averaging 24.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists
in his past four games. Kyle Korver has made at least one 3-pointer in each of
his last 45 games played, a franchise record.
Atlanta has scored 100-plus points in five straight games and led by as many
as 38 points at Orlando. The Hawks are 20-7 when reaching the century mark in
scoring this season. They will play two in a row at home versus Miami and
Sacramento, which is slated to visit Philips Arena Friday night, and are 17-9
at Philips Arena.
The Hawks are an amazing 129-53 at home since the start of 2008-09, but have
lost both meetings with Miami this season, including a 95-89 home loss on Nov.
9. Miami has won five straight and 11 of the last 13 matchups with Atlanta,
losers in the past six as the host in this series.
James is averaging 24.0 ppg against Atlanta this season, while Smith is
averaging 17.5 points in two games versus Miami.
02/20 10:25:33 ET