Can the Heat beat the Hawks in NBA Southeast Division battle?
The NBA's Southeast Division is a two-horse race, and it's likely to go down to the wire. Will the Miami Heat complete their comeback, or will the Atlanta Hawks hold strong?
Southeast Division Winner 2020/2021
Sun, May 16 2021, 6:00 PM
Miami Vice is back in season
The Heat shocked the world last fall when they won the Eastern Conference Semifinals over the Milwaukee Bucks and then upset the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. This led to the Heat getting a ton of hype entering the start of this 2020-21 season.
However, Miami got off to a terrible start at 11-17 by mid-February. The Heat then proceeded to go 15-4 over their next 19 games. They are 13-6 in their last 19 games going into their Tuesday night showdown with the Dallas Mavericks. There is no better time for the Heat to spark the flame than now.
Atlanta isn't going anywhere
Much like the Heat, the Hawks got off to a poor start as well. At the end of February, the Hawks were 14-20. However, they have gone 22-10 since, and they are now sitting a half-game ahead of the Heat in the Southeast.
The additions of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela are major reasons for their emergence. Bogdanovic is averaging 15.2 points per game and shooting 41.6% from three-point range. Capela, meanwhile, is averaging 15.4 points and an NBA-best 14.5 rebounds per game.
The Hawks are favorites for a reason
Even though the Hawks and Heat are virtually tied for the division lead, the Hawks are -215 favorites over the Heat at +160.
One major reason is the tiebreaker. The Hawks went 2-1 in the head-to-head matchups with the Heat this season. Right now, both teams have 30 losses on the season. If they end up with the same record, the Atlanta Hawks will win the division through the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Another reason is the remaining schedule for both teams. The Heat have seven games remaining on the season. They have three home games against the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Philadelphia 76ers. They have four away games against the Boston Celtics twice, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons.
The Hawks have six games remaining. They have five home games against the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards twice, Orlando Magic, and Houston Rockets. They only have one road game remaining at the Indiana Pacers. This is likely a 4-2 scenario and a one game lead finish over the Heat.
One final reason is the injury report. The Heat have only gotten four games out of Victor Oladipo, and he has not played since April 8. Tyler Herro has not played since April 23. The Hawks have been without Cam Reddish since Feb. 21 and DeAndre Hunter has not played since March 24. However, every major player has been healthy almost all season for the Hawks, and they are running strong currently.
The Hawks have the best odds you can get in the NBA for a division champion favorite, so you should jump on them now before the Heat face a possible loss to the Mavericks.