The Atlanta Hawks beat the Miami Heat tonight by a score of 93-90, moving to 8-2 on the season. This was the team’s fifth consecutive win, and rounds out the first ten-game stretch on the schedule.
The Hawks had to finish the game without Dwight Howard, who left the game late with a leg injury. The team felt Howard’s absence in the fourth quarter, struggling to match their rebounding and interior defense from early on in the evening.
In Howard’s absence, Mike Muscala played well. He hit two 3-pointers late in the third quarter. The first of these shots stretched the team’s lead to 69-64, and Muscala’s second, a buzzer-beater (after a Miami Heat basket), made the score at the end of the third quarter 72-67.
This close score reflects the game as a whole. The Hawks led for the majority of the evening, but never by a commanding margin (the halftime score, for example, was 49-42 in favor of the Hawks.
The Hawks struggled to score in the final minutes of the contest, as both Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore missed key 3-point attempts near the end. Millsap played excellent defense against Hassan Whiteside, though, keeping a slim lead as the clock continued to run down. The Heat got the ball back with 21 seconds left, and the score 89-86, and scored to cut the margin to one. Miami then fouled Bazemore, who sank both free throws to push the lead back up to 91-88.
After a timeout, Miami made a basket, and then fouled a diving Dennis Schröder at midcourt. Schröder appeared to hurt his wrist on the play, but still made both free throws. Dion Waiters missed a buzzer-beater, and the Hawks finished with the win.
Next up, the Hawks will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.