The Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks both suffered their first loss of the season in their previous game after winning the first two on their schedule. One side will get back to their winning ways while the other will lose their second in a row.
This will be a big night in Miami as Jimmy Butler is prepared to make his Heat debut after missing the first three games of the season. In his absence, rookie Kendrick Nunn has stepped up averaging 22.3 points per game.
Hawks vs. Heat Preview
Trae Young was one of the more criticized players after last year’s draft. His size gave critics a reason to doubt along with the fact that he imitates his game after Steph Curry. So far in 2019, he is proving them wrong. Young is averaging 34 points, six rebounds and nine assists per game this season. He is shooting 52% from three-point range.
The Hawks have built a nice young core beginning with Young and John Collins. They are 2-1 this season but it seems like they are still a few seasons away. The Hawks need that player that brings huge star power to Atlanta.
In Miami, the Heat have that star player. They acquired Butler in the offseason and are awaiting his much anticipated season debut. The Heat have built an impressive group of guards and bigs to surround Butler. Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow are both averaging 19 points per game through the first three.
Three games is a small sample size but the Heat’s offense has been clicking. They rank sixth in the NBA averaging 120 points per game. This is 13 points higher than the Hawks. The Heat also rank sixth in free throw attempts per game and fifth in three-point percentage at 38.8%.
Hawks vs. Heat Pick & Prediction
The Hawks have really leaned on Young early in the season. There has not been another player to step up and become his second in command. Collins has been good but it is not enough to consider them a serious threat. As for Miami, they have been effective on offense but their defense has lacked.
One burst of energy will be Butler. The Heat are returning home after a short two game road trip. Butler will make his Heat debut in Miami which means there will be some extra energy in the building.
The early season eye test says that this will be a high scoring game. The Heat are one of the highest scoring teams in the league and they have six players averaging double-figure points per game. The o/u is set at 224. The Heat are eight-point favorites.
Given the debut of their new superstar, it would be hard to imagine the Heat losing this game. Now the question remains, can they cover the spread. Miami’s offense is only going to improve with the addition of Butler. This is a tough break game for the Hawks given the circumstances but they seem to be much improved. Regardless, take the home team in their first game with one of the league’s top players.
PICK: Heat -8
SCORE PREDICTION: Heat 132, Hawks 118