The Miami Heat ended a brief rough stretch but now might need to deal with another ankle injury to one of their superstars.
Banged-up All-Star Dwyane Wade expects to be on the floor when the Heat try for an 11th consecutive home victory Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks, who are looking to match a season high with their fourth straight win.
Miami (29-9) avoided a third straight defeat by shooting 58.4 percent en route to a 108-78 home rout of New Jersey on Tuesday. While the Heat got back on track for their 10th win in 12 games, the night took a scary turn when Wade rolled his right ankle late in the first half and did not return.
Though the Heat said he could have returned if needed, there might be reason to be concerned about a player who missed six games in January after spraining the same ankle.
Wade, however, thinks otherwise.
"Not worried at all," said Wade, who was held to 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting during a 100-92 home loss to Atlanta on Jan. 2.
Miami then beat the Hawks (23-15) three days later without Wade and LeBron James, 116-109 in triple-overtime at Atlanta. Chris Bosh, who had 33 points and 14 rebounds in that contest, returned from a three-game absence after the death of his grandmother to score 20 against the Nets.
"It's good to have him back," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "No question.
"One good quality, of many qualities that we have on this basketball team, is the ability to own it."
James finished with 21 points Tuesday to help the Heat extend their longest home winning streak since a 14-game run Jan. 22-March 16, 2007. Miami fell 91-82 to Milwaukee on Jan. 22 for its last defeat at American Airlines Arena, where it's 16-2.
James has averaged 32.4 points on 53.5 percent shooting and 9.0 rebounds in his last eight games against the Hawks. He had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Wade scored 21 and Bosh added 14 with 16 boards in a 107-87 victory at Atlanta on Feb. 12.
The Hawks should have some momentum after they opened a season-high six-game trip Tuesday with a 101-96 win at Indiana, their fourth victory in five games. With leading scorer Joe Johnson (17.9 points per game) out for the fifth time in six contests because of a knee injury, Josh Smith had 27 points with nine rebounds to help Atlanta snap a season-high three-game road skid.
"We're coming together and figuring out a way to win ball games," Smith said.
With Johnson struggling to get back on the court, Smith has averaged 23.4 points and 12.4 boards in the last five games.
"Josh has been on a roll as of late," coach Larry Drew said. "We've been going through him offensively and defensively. He's been an anchor for us."
Smith, however, has averaged 11.3 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 34.1 percent in three games versus Miami this season.
The Hawks have won two in a row at Miami following a four-game skid there.
- Dwyane Wade
- Atlanta Hawks
- Miami Heat