After splitting the first two games in Atlanta, Dwyane Wade and the Heat look to take the lead in this match when they host the Hawks in Miami on Saturday.
Absolutely everything went right for the Hawks in Game 1 of this series. All five starters scored in double figures, as did Zaza Pachulia off the bench, and the defense was simply stifling, particularly in the second half.
Six players reached double digits again in Game 2 of the series, but the defense which held Miami to 36.6% shooting in Game 1 was awful and gave up 55.6% from the floor. Don't blame forward Josh Smith, though. Smith has excelled in this series, recording double-doubles in both outings. He also leads the team for the series in steals (five) and blocks (three). For a team that held its opponents to 96.5 points per game in the regular season, Atlanta should be getting better defensive efforts from guard's Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson.
Though he wasn't the only reason the Heat lost Game 1, Dwyane Wade was a huge part of the problem. He only shot 8/21 from the floor and turned the ball over eight times. Wade still led Miami in scoring with 19 points, but that's not saying much for a team that only mustered 25 total points in the second half.
Game 2 was a completely different story for the former Marquette star though. He shot 11/20 from the field and 6/10 from beyond the arc for 33 points. Wade also dished out seven dimes and hauled in five boards. Keep an eye on both guard Daequan Cook and forward Michael Beasley, each contributing solid minutes to the Heat off the bench. The duo combined for 32 points and 11 boards in Game 2 and can be counted on for more good minutes in the remainder of this series.
It's hard not to like Miami's chances in this series from here. In Game 2, the Heat had the swagger of the team that won the NBA Championship just a few years ago. Miami went 28-13 at American Airlines Arena this season, while Atlanta went just 16-25 away from Phillips Arena. The Hawks are only 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games with Miami, and an even worse 3-12 ATS away from home. Expect the hosts to go ahead in this series on Saturday night.
Free Pick: Heat -4 (-110)