Miami Heat fire 17 3-pointers in win vs. Atlanta Hawks

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange
Miami Heat fire 17 3-pointers in win vs. Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

ATLANTA -- The Miami Heat didn't lose any momentum over the All-Star break. In fact, they returned with their best display of perimeter shooting all season.

The Heat made a season-high 17 3-pointers, with six players hitting at least two, and routed the Atlanta Hawks 108-90 on Friday night at Philips Arena.


The Heat (26-32) have won two straight games and 15 of their last 17. It marked the 15th straight game in which Miami has scored 100 points, the longest streak in the Pat Riley-Erik Spoelstra Era.

"We have to find different ways to win in this league and we'll do that going down the stretch when it gets very competitive," Spoelstra said. "Guys are starting to gain confidence and sharing the ball. They understand we're a better team when the ball moves. More guys feel in rhythm."

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Guard Tyler Johnson came off the bench to score 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Miami made 17 of 37 3-point tries. Luke Babbitt had four and Johnson and Wayne Ellington three each. The Heat's previous best was 15 on Feb. 6 in a win over Minnesota.

"The guys enjoyed the way the ball was moving," Spoelstra said. "Everybody felt involved."

Atlanta (32-25) has lost two straight and five of its last 10. The victory gave Miami a split of the season's four games.

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Johnson was in rhythm all night. He made 9 of 11 shots from the field and added five rebounds and five assists. Goran Dragic had 17 points and six rebounds. Dion Waters scored 14 and Rodney McGruder added 13.

"We switched a little more than usual tonight," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They're doing a great job of getting a shoulder and getting an edge. They finish just enough when the kick it. They're doing a great job of balanching it."

Atlanta was led by forward Paul Millsap, who scored 21 points, but only two in the second half. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 11 points and Kent Bazemore scored 10. The Hawks shot 38 percent from the field.

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"We got shots, the ball was moving, they just didn't fall in," Bazemore said.

Atlanta missed the floor leadership of starting point guard Dennis Schroder, who was suspended for a game for reporting late after the All-Star Game break. Schroder failed to take his visa with his passport when he went home to Germany over the break. He missed two practices and didn't return to Atlanta until 11 p.m. Thursday night.

Schroder was replaced in the lineup by Malcolm Delaney, who made his first NBA start. Delaney scored five points.

"We came in here with the right approach to play the way we needed, regardless of who's in and who's not," Spoelstra said. "That's a big component of their game to be missing."

Atlanta shot just 38.5 percent from the field in the first half and only 65.2 percent (15 of 23) from the line. That was quite a contrast from Miami, which made 11 of 19 3-point tries.

Miami led 25-24 at the end of the first quarter but scored 38 in the second quarter and led 63-29 at halftime.

The Heat had its biggest lead 63-46 when Tyler Johnson made two free throws, but the Hawks got a near-midcourt basket from Kent Bazemore at the horn to make it a 14-point game.


Budenholzer said, "We have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us."

The Heat continued to build the lead, which reached 25 when Rodney McGruder converted a three-point play to give Miami an 87-62 lead with 2:36 left in the third quarter.

Miami led 87-66 after three quarters and it wasn't long before Atlanta removed its starters and turned it over to the reserves.

Miami was able to overcome an off night by center Hassan Whiteside, who was limited to two points, but had 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

"Hassan was setting some great triggers for us, setting some great screens," Spoelstra said. "The ball movement, the extra passes for the 3s, those started with picks from Hassan. He's very mature to help out the team."

NOTES: Atlanta G Thabo Sefolosha returned after missing 10 games with a thigh injury. He scored two points in 21 minutes. ... Miami G Josh Richardson returned after missing 19 games with a foot injury. He played 13 minutes and did not score. ... F Ersan Ilyasova, acquired via a trade from Philadelphia at the trade deadline, made his Atlanta debut. His first shot was an air ball, but he finished with nine points. ... The Hawks signed F Ryan Kelly and G Lamar Patterson to multiyear contracts to fill out the roster. Kelly played in nine games with the Hawks earlier this season. Patterson signed to two 10-day contracts and appeared in four games. ... Atlanta wore 1970s version blue jerseys on Friday. ... Both teams complete a back-to-back on Saturday. Atlanta travels to Orlando. Miami hosts Indiana.


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