NBA Game Preview at YouWager: Hawks vs. Heat

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

Tip-off: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 – 7:30 PM ET

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

LeBron James was once able to give his team 66 victories. Ray Allen played for a NBA team that won 19 consecutive games. Dwyane Wade was part of another club that finished with the Eastern Conference’s best record. However, YouWager experts note that for each, it’s just a reminder in a season where no championship was won.

Experts are not arguing that the Miami Heat are doing a much better job than any other team in the league right now.

The Heat have won 18 straight games, are sitting atop the NBA standings and could very well wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East playoffs by the end of the month. Even when this sound good, it’s not changing the singular priority of this season.

Championship-or-bust was the thinking Miami carried into 2013, and not even the seventh-longest winning streak in NBA history has changed that.

The Heat (47-14) will try for its 19th straight victory tonight when they host the Atlanta Hawks — a team that’s 0-3 versus the reigning NBA champions this season. After that, they will face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, a team that has lost 13 straight regular-season meetings with Miami.

If a victory comes tonight the Heat would match the fifth-longest winning streak in NBA history.

If a victory comes tonight and tomorrow night then the Heat would be just the fourth team to ever win 20 straight in the same season.

The Hawks are dangerously close to the No. 8 spot, which would almost certainly mean a first-round matchup with Miami. Atlanta was quickly aware of their next challenge following Saturday’s 93-80 home defeat versus the Brooklyn Nets.

Atlanta’s best hope may be a huge performance from Al Horford, who has posted four straight double-doubles and is averaging 22.9 points on 62.3 percent shooting in his last 13 games.

The 26 year-old has managed 19.0 points per contest while shooting 65.8 percent versus Miami this season, but teammate Josh Smith is hitting just 36.0 percent from the field while Atlanta has averaged 90.3 points.