The Hawks were back in action Monday night when they returned to the friendly confines of Phillips Arena for a matchup with the Miami Heat. The Heat came into the game very short handed, with only nine players available for the matchup and the Hawks looked to take advantage.
The Hawks inactives for Monday’s game again included Dewayne Dedmon, who has been sidelined with a stress reaction in his left tibia and could be out possibly another week. Also on the injury report was the rookie John Collins, who is suffering from a sprained left AC joint but saw time in tonight’s game after a quick recovery. Finally, Mike Muscala has not been practicing of late after continuing his recovery from an ankle injury, but should be cleared to resume practice soon.
Both teams played relatively well from the tip with the Hawks getting a quick five points from Taurean Prince, who has been on a great roll lately. For the Heat, it was Dion Waiters getting things rolling early with a couple open looks from three that he was able to knock down. Prince finished the first with 11 points after hitting three 3-pointers but there wasn’t much defense played by either team as Miami took a 30-29 lead into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Malcolm Delaney had a good impact early hitting a three pointer and making a couple of nice passes to Miles Plumlee leading to some easy points. Prince continued his good play through the second and was able to put up 16 first-half points. Miami used second-year man Josh Richardson as the catalyst for their offense and he played well in that role, finishing the first half with 15 points and 3 assists, but it was the Hawks that took a narrow 58-57 lead into the break.
Prince continued his night opening the third quarter with a nice shot off a pass from Dennis Schroder. Both teams had a rough go early in the quarter looking for offense but by midway through the quarter the Hawks began to go on a run fueled by some better defense and Ersan Ilyasova getting involved on the offensive end. Collins had a ferocious dunk in the late stages of the quarter and the Hawks built a nice leading going into the fourth quarter of 87-76.
CLEANUP ON AISLE 4! #TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/NQZ7Dbao3b— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 19, 2017
DeAndre’ Bembry got the fourth quarter started with a three pointer and Kent Bazemore took it from there, hitting three jump shots of his own to push the Hawks lead to 14 points. Prince had a great blocked shot to keep the lead at eight at a pivotal time in the fourth. Things got tight down the stretch when Delaney fouled Wayne Ellington shooting a three and Ellington sunk all 3 free throws. Then, Ilyasova had a turnover on an inbound, which Josh Richardson scored on pulling the game to within one. Bazemore hit a clutch jumper and Ellington gave the ball back on a turnover with the Hawks up 104-101. Bazemore had another great drive to the hoop for two more that took the Hawks lead to 5 putting the Hawks up for good.
The Hawks will face the upstart Indiana Pacers next on Wednesday at Phillips Arena. We hope you’ll join us then.