Miami Heat (15-14) at Atlanta Hawks (6-23)
NBA Basketball: Monday, December 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm (Philips Arena)
The Line: Atlanta Hawks +2.5 -- Over/Under: 205.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks do battle at the Philips Arena on Monday night.
The Miami Heat have been in solid form as they’ve won four of their last five games and they will be aiming for a third straight win after sneaking past the Clippers in a 90-85 home win on Saturday. Josh Richardson drained six three-pointers to lead the team with 28 points, Dion Waiters added 13 points while Kelly Olynyk chipped in with 11 points, four assists and five steals. As a team, the Heat shot just 38 percent from the field and they were outrebounded by 62-46, but they were able to force the shorthanded Clippers into 18 turnovers from which they scored 17 points. James Johnson suffered a right ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return so his status for Monday is in doubt.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Hawks have lost six of their last seven games and they will be aiming to snap a four-game skid after getting edged out by the Grizzlies in a 96-94 road loss on Friday. Kent Bazemore led the team in scoring with 19 points and five assists, Dennis Schroder steered the offense with 18 points and 11 assists while Taurean Prince chipped in with 17 points. As a team, the Hawks shot 44 percent from the field and 12 of 31 from the three-point line as they fell just short to the slumping Grizzlies despite leading by eight points midway through the fourth quarter. The Hawks also had three shots to win it in the final 3.5 seconds of the game but still couldn’t get over the line as they dropped to 6-23 on the season and 3-13 on the road.
Looking at the betting trends, the Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a losing record, 23-11 ATS in their last 34 road games and 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a win. Meanwhile, the Hawks are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a loss, 4-1 ATS in their last five against the Eastern Conference and 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
Head to head, the under is 36-16 in the last 52 meetings, the Heat are 7-0-1 ATS in the last eight meetings overall and 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in Atlanta.
Johnson has been diagnosed with right ankle bursitis and he is expected to sit out the next 7-10 days which is a big loss for the Heat who have relied on his playmaking ability, especially since Whiteside went down with injury. The Hawks have a great chance to snag a win against a shorthanded Heat but it’s hard to back a team that has lost six of their last seven. I expect this one to go down to the wire, but while the Heat are a little banged up, they continue to find ways to win these close ones and I think that trend continues in this one.