ATLANTA HAWKS (34-28)
at MIAMI HEAT (47-14)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -9.5, Total: 196.5
The Heat try to continue their unbelievable run with a 19th straight victory on Tuesday when the Hawks pay them a visit.
Miami is 11-7 ATS during its long win surge, and has not allowed a team to reach 100 points in any of its six wins in March, surrendering just 90.8 PPG on 42.9% FG (31.2% threes). Atlanta enters this contest on a four-game road losing skid (1-3 ATS), and is also coming off a 13-point home loss to Brooklyn on Saturday. The Heat have completely dominated this series since LeBron James joined the team, going 9-2 SU (8-3 ATS) including six straight wins and a perfect 3-0 (SU and ATS) mark this season, with victories coming by six, nine and 13 points last month in Atlanta.
Can the Heat roll to another lopsided victory on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. All four experts remain red-hot in NBA Best Bets. StatFox Gary is 75% ATS (12-4) in March and 74% ATS (20-7) since Feb. 20, StatFox Brian is 63% ATS in March (10-6), including 64% ATS (7-4) since March 4, StatFox Scott is 60% ATS (35-23) since Feb. 3 and StatFox Dave is 54% ATS (7-6) since March 2. Since February began, the experts are a collective 57% ATS (128-98), including 53% ATS (35-31) in March. Scott is now 56% ATS (105-84-1) for the season, while Gary is 54% ATS (83-71-4). For NBA Totals, Gary is a perfect 5-0 in the since March 7, while Scott is 61% (11-7-1) since Feb. 22 to raise his season record to 56% (87-68-1) in Totals.
The Hawks are one of the more accurate shooting teams in the NBA at 46.2% FG (7th in league) and 38.0% threes (fifth in NBA), and have the third-most assists in the league (24.5 APG), but they score just 97.4 PPG (17th in NBA). The defense is slightly above average (96.8 PPG allowed, 12th-fewest in league), but this team does not rebound well (40.7 RPG, sixth-fewest in NBA), getting outworked by 2.4 RPG on a nightly basis. However, Atlanta's two most valuable players both reside in the frontcourt with C Al Horford (17.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG) and SF Josh Smith (17.3 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.3 APG). Horford posted his fourth straight double-double in Saturday's loss to the Nets, as he's averaging 19.0 PPG (56% FG) and 12.5 RPG during this streak. He's also posted 22.9 PPG on 62% FG in his past 13 games, and has played very well against Miami this season too with 19.0 PPG on 66% FG with 9.0 RPG. Smith has shot poorly against the Heat (36% FG), but has still managed 15.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 5.0 APG in the season series. He went off for 32 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in Friday's loss at Boston, but followed that up with a subpar 12 points in Saturday's defeat. PF Jeff Teague also played great against the Celtics (26 pts, 9 ast), but had just seven points (2-of-9 FG) and zero assists in 23 minutes in the loss to Brooklyn. He's performed pretty well against the Heat this season though with 13.3 PPG (47% FG) and 7.3 APG. Another player that has looked strong against Miami is SF Kyle Korver (11.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG), who has 11.5 PPG on 50% FG (7-of-12 threes). But since returning from a sprained toe, Korver has just 6.3 PPG on 8-of-19 FG (3-of-11 threes) in three games.
Miami's offense has been phenomenal during the 18-game win streak with 106.1 PPG on 51.4% FG and 39.4% threes. The Heat have 22.8 APG and just 13.1 TOPG during this surge, good for a 1.74 Ast/TO ratio. Miami's defense has been overlooked all season, but it allows only 96.2 PPG on 44.2% FG, numbers which rank 10th in the NBA in both categories. The only real weakness this team has is rebounding, where they have the fewest boards in the league (38.5 RPG) and a paltry minus-1.4 RPG margin. It's hard to find any weakness with SF LeBron James (26.7 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.1 APG) who has 27.2 PPG on 60% FG and 41% threes, with 7.7 RPG and 7.4 APG during the long win streak. He has also been outstanding against Atlanta this season with 24.0 PPG (58% FG), 8.7 APG and 8.0 RPG in the three victories. SG Dwyane Wade (21.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.9 APG) has also lit up the Hawks for 23.0 PPG on 61% FG in two meetings this season. Wade has scored at least 20 points in nine straight games, averaging 26.6 PPG on 61% FG with 5.7 APG and 5.3 RPG during this ride. PF Chris Bosh (16.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG) has also found his offense recently with 16.0 PPG on 48% FG during a seven-game streak of double-figure scoring. This includes his 24 points on 11-of-15 FG against Indiana on Sunday. Bosh's numbers versus Atlanta this season aren't bad (14.7 PPG, 7.0 RPG), but he played poorly in the Feb. 20 meeting with only six points on 2-of-10 shooting. PG Mario Chalmers (8.2 PPG, 3.4 APG) also had a huge game against the Pacers Sunday with 26 points on a near-perfect 7-of-9 FG, 5-of-6 threes and 7-of-7 FT. Chalmers pumped in 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the Feb. 20 win at Atlanta.