NBA Matchup: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Fri. March 18, 2011 7:30 p.m. EST

Perhaps the most criticized and over analyze team in the NBA this season has been the revamped Miami Heat. With the addition of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and the re-signing of Dwyane Wade, the Heat have been put under enormous pressure from the get-go as anything but a win is considered a failure due to the amount talent there is on this squad in South Beach.

Even though they have had every single move criticized and have had their fair share of struggles throughout their first season together, LeBron James and company have done pretty well as they are currently sitting in the third seed in the Eastern Conference and will be looking to make a run come playoff time.

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 18:  LeBron James #6 of th...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

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In the meantime, the Miami Heat (46-22) will be doing everything within their power to move up the rankings in the Eastern conference as they have the Boston Celtics (48-18) and the Chicago Bulls (48-18) ahead of them at the one and two spot.

As of right now, the Miami Heat are three games back of both the Boston Celtics and the Chicago Bulls, but that is not an insurmountable lead as they could very well pass both teams with a surge in the final stretch of the NBA regular season.

With 14 games left for Erik Spoelstra’s squad, there is definitely a chance that the Miami Heat could move up in the Eastern Conference playoff seeding, but they will need to continue to play consistently well from here on out. Their first challenge will be against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night as they will travel to Georgia to take on Joe Johnson and company.

Fortunately for the Miami Heat, the Atlanta Hawks have hit a bit of a rough patch lately as they have lost six of their last 10 games and will come into their matchup with the boys from South Beach with a bad loss against the Denver Nuggets (102-87).

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr

Over the past few years, the Atlanta Hawks have always been a good team and a playoff bound team, but never a great team despite having talented players like Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. In the near future they might be a dominant force in the Eastern conference but for the time being they’re just going to be another team that could easily be knocked out of the first round playoffs.

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This should be an easy win for the Miami Heat on Friday night as they have been on a roll as of late, but they are also coming off a disappointing loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (96-85). This lost to Kevin Durant and company may have shaken the Heat’s confidence movin

g forward, but I believe LeBron James and his boys will get right back on track with a win on Friday night in Atlanta.

With a win here and the Boston Celtics struggling, the Miami Heat might be able to gain some ground in the Eastern Conference sooner rather than later.

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