Preview: Heat gear up for division-rival Hawks for first time this season

TV: FOX Sports Sun

TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.


MIAMI -- It is extremely early in the NBA season, so it is difficult to figure which trend is real or just temporary.

That certainly is true of the Monday night game between the Miami Heat (1-1) and the visiting Atlanta Hawks (1-2).

The Heat lost their opener but bounced back to win Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.

Atlanta, meanwhile, won its opener but has now lost two in a row, including Sunday afternoon at the Brooklyn Nets.

This can't be an easy stretch for the rebuilding Hawks, who are starting the season on a five-game road trip while Phillips Arena goes through a $190 million renovation.

The Hawks, to minimize their travel issues, planned to fly to Miami on Sunday night. But, even so, the Heat will be the more rested team in this battle.

Adding to Atlanta's degree of difficulty for Monday night, the Hawks may be without point guard Dennis Schroder. He went down with a bruised left foot Sunday, and he had to be helped off the court with 3:37 left in the game.

He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he likely won't play Monday, though he hopes to return to action Thursday in Chicago. Schroder didn't believe the injury was serious.

Schroder would be a big loss. He is averaging 23.3 points and 6.7 assists. Even without finishing on Sunday, he still had 17 points and eight assists.

"It's our point guard. It's our leader -- you never want to see that," teammate John Collins said of the Schroder injury. "Hopefully, he'll be OK, (but) it looked bad."

Miami has its own injury concern. Center Hassan Whiteside, who had 26 points and 20 rebounds in the Heat's opener, missed the Saturday game due to a knee bruise.

With Whiteside likely out for the second consecutive game, the Heat will rely more on players such as power forward James Johnson, who this season has been named a co-captain along with Goran Dragic and Udonis Haslem. It is the first time in the pro careers of Dragic and Johnson that they were named captain.

"It means the world to me that these guys voted for me to lead them," Johnson told the Miami Herald. "I have great respect for (my teammates). Being captain doesn't mean I'm always saying what to do and everything I say is right.

"I also follow their lead, and that plays a big part, too."

Heat players on Sunday went to Hard Rock Stadium, where they watched the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets in Haslem's luxury box.

Haslem, who was Miami's lone captain last season, made the invitation as a bonding exercise in hopes that it brings the players even closer together.

Dragic, meanwhile, could have a big game on Monday against Schroder's replacement, assuming there is a need.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer likely will start Malcolm Delaney at the point with backup duty from either Josh Magette or Isaiah Taylor. Shooting guard Kent Bazemore is also a possibility for some spot duty at the point.

"Josh has been great for us through camp," Budenholzer said. "We just added Taylor. … We'll see how Dennis' ankle is and come up with a plan."