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Heat Vs. Hawks: Atlanta Returns Home For Rematch Against Miami

The Atlanta Hawks return home to Philips Arena where they will begin a three-games in three-days stretch. First up, LeBron James and the Miami Heat

The Atlanta Hawks return home from a three-game road trip with a 1-2 record but with a lot of confidence. After a loss on Saturday to the Houston Rockets, Atlanta rebounded on Monday by handing the Miami Heat their first loss of the season. On Tuesday, Atlanta led by as many as 19 points against the Chicago Bulls before a late rally and some missed free throws delivered a 76-74 win to the Bulls.

Thursday night, Atlanta returns home to open another brutal stretch of games with a rematch against the Miami Heat. The game will be the first of three straight for the Hawks who will travel to Charlotte on Friday before returning home for another matchup with the Bulls on Saturday. When the dust settles on Sunday, Atlanta will have played nine times in the first 12 days of the season which is the most of any NBA team.

In Miami on Monday, Atlanta was able to slow the pace of the game down in part by throwing a zone defense at the Heat in an effort to limit their drives to the basket and to make them a jump shooting team. LeBron James had a big game but Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade finished with sub par shooting nights.

Look for more of the same from the Hawks on Thursday as they can not afford to get in to a track meet with the Heat. For now, becoming a consistent ball club is what coach Larry Drew is looking for the most. Here is what he had to say after the win over Miami on Monday.

"If you look at this game and the game at Houston, you see two different ballclubs," Drew said. "We have to become a more consistent ballclub. When we reach that stage, yeah, we can start talking about statements. Right now we are just trying to find ourselves as a club and get better."

For more on this game, Hawks fans should check out Peachtree Hoops. Heat fans should take a look at Peninsula is Mightier. For more news and analysis on the NBA, check out SB Nation's NBA page.

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