Miami (36-38) at Atlanta (24-50)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Wed Mar 31, 2004
  • TV: SUN, FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Lamar Odom should be back in the lineup for the Miami Heat as they continue their playoff push against the Atlanta Hawks.

Miami is jockeying for one of the last five playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Heat are in sixth place, just a 1 1/2 games behind fourth-place New Orleans and a game behind fifth-place Milwaukee.

The Knicks are a game behind Miami, and eighth-place Boston is a one-half game behind New York.

Odom, Miami’s second-leading scorer, returned to practice Tuesday and is expected to play against the Hawks. Odom missed Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls with a bruised right knee. He leads the team with a career-high 9.9 rebounds a game.

Teammate Caron Butler picked up the slack on Monday, scoring 30 points and grabbing a career-best 13 rebounds to lead the Heat to a 105-96 victory over the Bulls. Dwyane Wade finished with 21 points as Miami won its ninth consecutive home game to remain in sixth place in the East.

“That was a heck of a win for us,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It is incredible how far we have come this year.”

Not all the news was good for the Heat, who lost reserve forward Malik Allen to a knee injury early in the second quarter. Allen will not travel with the Heat on a three-game road trip that begins at Atlanta.

The Hawks, winners of two of their last three, are coming off a draining 136-133 double overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Stephen Jackson led the Hawks with 28 points. Bob Sura added 23 points with 13 rebounds, and Jason Terry had 23 points.

Atlanta is 16-21 at home this season with impressive wins over the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

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