The Atlanta Hawks beat the Heat in Miami, 93-90, on Tuesday night in a matchup of teams going in completely opposite directions. The Hawks are 8-2, the Heat are 2-8, and Atlanta looks vastly improved with Dwight Howard in the paint.
“It’s been a huge upgrade in term of rebounding,” NBA-TV host Rick Kamla said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “The big weakness for the Hawks the last two years – even when they won 60 games and went to the East Finals – was rebounding. The bigger teams just killed the Hawks. It was a big problem. They were down 10 possessions a game. How are you going to win big that way? You bring in Dwight. The total rebounds went from like 24th to seventh. But more importantly, the rebounding differential went way up. As I checked late last week, they were third in the NBA in rebound differential. Last year they were like 30th or 29th. Dwight Howard’s made a huge difference, man.”
Miami, meanwhile, has lost six straight games, including a three-point loss to the Bulls (7-4), a four-point loss to the Spurs (8-3) and a three-point loss to the Hawks.
“Credit Miami,” Kamla said. “Their talent isn’t even close and they hung with the Spurs without (Justise) Winslow and (Goran) Dragic. They hang with a team (Atlanta) that just went 8-2. Miami is going nowhere. I picked them to go 13th in the East and coming into today, they were 13th in the East. But those guys fight hard, man.”
Elsewhere in the East, Kristaps Porzingis looks like an absolute stud. The 31-year old is averaging 19.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
“I think Porzingis looks like a future Hall of Famer,” Kamla said. “I couldn’t be more enthralled with his game. I love the fact that he’s going to (average two or three blocks per game). How about Dirk with rim protection? The league’s never seen that. He’s got the Dirk game, he’s got the outside game, he’s got the finesse, all the sweet moves and he’s super crafty for how young he is. But he’s 7-3 and he’s skyscraper huge and he can block shots. I love him. I think the sky’s the limit and I think he’s eventually going to be a top-10 player in the NBA.”