Hawks' defense stepped up when it had to
For the second straight game, Atlanta's offense got on track and the game turned into a bit of a shootout with not as much attention being paid to the defensive end of the floor. Miami was never able to really slow down Atlanta's attack but the Hawks were able to dig in and get stops when they needed them. They closed the first half with a 10 to 4 run and dug in once again in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"Defensively, for the first six to nine minutes of the fourth quarter, we did what we needed to do to find a way to get some stops and get a win," said Mike Budenholzer. "It can feed our offense. Obviously the ball movement, making shots and sharing the ball was very good. Now we want to keep building off of tonight."
"We talked a lot about how we want to finish, and how we want to be better in fourth quarters. That's important to us. Talking about it really doesn't mean very much. You have to go out and execute. You have to go out and make the plays. That usually starts with our defense. We've been better in the fourth quarters this year. We need to continue to improve."
How about that ball movement?
Atlanta put on a clinic offensively and finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field. That was set up off of some crisp ball movement where the Hawks made the extra pass and then did a good job of making the open shots. Atlanta recorded 33 assists on 42 made baskets and nine of the 10 players who played in the game finished with at least one.
"That's our thing, moving the ball around and getting a lot of assists," said Mike Scott. " We share it and guys make shots. So we get a lot of assists."
All of those assists led to a lot of green on the team's shot chart for the night:
Dennis Schroöder continues to shine for the Hawks off the bench
Second-year guard Dennis Schroöder has seized the backup job behind Jeff Teague with both hands and doesn't intend to let it go. Schröder finished with 10 points and six assists against the Heat. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well finishing 4-10 but sparked the team with his defense and a pair of highlight plays on the night. His steal and behind the back pass to Teague for the dunk was the exclamation mark to a great night.
Shelvin Mack responded with his best performance of the season
Schröder's emergence has meant a reduced role for last season's feel good story Shelvin Mack. With Carroll out, Mack got an opportunity to play some shooting guard and shared the backcourt for a long stretch with Schröder. He responded with with his best game of the season with 12 points and two assists on 5-5 shooting.
"He's the consummate professional," said Jeff Teague when asked about Mack. "He's always ready whenever his number is called. Overall, on the bench, everybody came in and gave a lift."
"I just came out and tried to play aggressive," said Mack. "My teammates did a great job of finding me a few times and I was able to make some plays."
Thabo Sefolosha continues to get the job done as a starter
There is not a lot of offensive flash in Thabo Sefolosha's game but he isn't afraid to do the dirty work. Sefolosha stepped in for the second straight game for the injured DeMarre Carroll and finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Eight of Sefolosha's 12 points came in the opening quarter when Atlanta jumped out to a 35-23 lead and never really looked back.