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Heat At Hawks: LeBron James Goes From Gold Room To Philips Arena Floor

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The Miami Heat are here. Did you hear? The Miami Heat a/k/a the former Best Team Ever* made it to Atlanta in time for LeBron James to headline at a local club and maybe, just maybe, play some sort of game where he puts a ball through a hoop.

That's right. The Miami Heat and their side show with new ringleader Mike Bibby are invading Philips Arena for the Best Game Ever* against your lowly Atlanta Hawks (7:30 p.m., SportSouth, 97.9 FM).

So forget about your NCAA bracket, put aside your green beer from St. Patrick's Day and get ready to watch in awe as the best 82-072-866-16, 60-22 team ever to play the game of basketball comes to Atlanta on a night that should be full of front-running Miami Heat fans that used to wear Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys last year.

This one is chuck full of plenty of storylines.

  • The game marks the return of Bibby, who was traded to the Washington Wizards in the deal that shipped Kirk Hinrich here.  Everyone thought would be seen here next in a Wizards jersey. But the Bibster decided that losing wasn't worth $6.2 million dollars and walked away from the last year of his contract so that he could take his services to South Beach.

  • And then there's the guy that originally took his services to South Beach -- LeBron James -- who was getting no love from a local ATL club.  Midtown's Opera nightclub was going to pay the King a $25,000 ransom to show up at the club, chill in VIP and drink for one whopping hour.  But Bron Bron took his services to the Gold Room on St. Patrick's Day instead.  Opera sued. The case eventually was dropped.

  • Then, of course, there's the story about how the Heat are really not that great. They have been inconsistent at best and dare I say mediocre of late, dropping seven of their last 11 games against possible playoff opponents such as the Chicago Bulls, the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic.

  • Both the Heat and the Hawks are 4-6 over their last 10 games. Both teams enter Friday night's titanic clash with losses on Wednesday. Atlanta dropped a 15 point decision to the Denver Nuggets while Miami felt the wrath of a powerful Oklahoma City Thunder team.

So what should we expect to see on Friday night at the Bulb?

Celebrities galore, $500 scalped club tickets, a lot of traffic around the arena near tipoff, and a lot of brand spanking new LeBron James jerseys. Sounds like a fun night all around.

As far as the action on the court goes, the teams have generally been evenly matched in the first two matchups, both of which were in Miami. James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh dominated the first time these two teams met, posting 77 points in an 89-77 win on Dec. 4. But Atlanta got its revenge on Jan. 18, beating the Bosh-less Heat 93-89 in overtime.

Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford had 19 each in that one, which was ultimately won on a big shot by Josh Smith in the OT.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.