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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 21st (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (36-30) at Atlanta Hawks (27-41), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Miami Heat try to get back on the winning track this evening when they open short two-game road trip against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

Miami had won nine in a row before falling to the Orlando Magic, 97-83, on Sunday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Shaquille O'Neal scored 20 points while James Posey donated 14 points and seven rebounds for Miami, which had a 14- game winning streak at home stopped.

The Heat are just one-half game behind Washington for the top spot in the Southeast Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Miami will also visit Indiana on the trip and is 13-19 away from South Beach this season.

In injury news for the Heat, veteran guard Gary Payton (groin) is out indefinitely. Payton did not play in Sunday's loss to the Magic.

Meanwhile, the Hawks will continue a four-game homestand on Wednesday and posted a 99-76 win over Sacramento in the opener of the stand on Monday.

Josh Childress scored a season-high 25 points and Zaza Pachulia netted 23 points for Atlanta. Salim Stoudamire added 13 points, while Marvin Williams added 13 points and 11 rebounds and Josh Smith finished with nine points, 12 boards and a career-high 10 assists for Atlanta, which has won five in a row at Philips Arena.

Atlanta, which is four games off the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, will also host Portland and Dallas. It is 15-18 at home this season.

Wednesday's showdown between Southeast Division rivals is the third of four meetings this season. Miami is 2-0 so far in the series and has won 12 of the last 13 encounters with Atlanta.

Miami has won five of six and six of its last eight at the Hawks.

03/21 10:33:09 ET


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