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Hawks Fall To Surging Heat, 116-93

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Atlanta looked flat all evening, and was no match for this Miami team

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks lost to the Miami Heat by a score of 116-93, losing their first game of the month (and first contest since the four-overtime game on Sunday). This was the ninth win in a row for the Heat, who played well from start to finish. Atlanta, in contrast, looked sluggish all evening, likely still suffering from the effects of Sunday’s contest.

The first half was all Miami. The Heat led 29-22 at the end of the first quarter, and extended that lead to 62-47 by the end of the half. The score alone pointed to a subpar showing through he first two quarters for Atlanta, and the Hawks looked visibly out of sync and off-balance.

Taking advantage of a struggling Hawks team, several Heat players played very well early on. James Johnson scored 13 points on 6-10 shooting, and Dion Waiters scored 12 on 5-7. Goran Dragic had 12 points in the first half as well, as the Atlanta defense proved mostly unable to stop anyone.

In contrast, the Hawks struggled to score throughout the first two quarters. Atlanta shot 3-12 on 3-pointers, and every single player posted a negative plus/minus rating for the half. This is somewhat understandable, given the four-overtime marathon on Sunday, and it seems fair to say that the team was still feeling the effects of that contest.

These trends continued in the third quarter, as the Heat ended the period with a 94-71 lead. Atlanta continued to look sluggish and sloppy, leading Mike Budenholzer to empty the bench as the game progressed. With another game tomorrow night, this decision makes sense.

The Hawks pulled slightly closer in the fourth quarter, but were unable to come back from the 23-point deficit they entered the period with. The rookies, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry, both played much of the quarter, and were joined by Lamar Patterson as well. There aren’t many positive takeaways from a game as lopsided as this one, but more experience for these players is always nice.

One of the most exciting moments in the game came late in the fourth quarter when Taurean Prince was ejected for a flagrant foul on Hassan Whiteside. Prince appeared to shove Whiteside to the ground after a rebound, and was ejected after a review. Whiteside appeared to be in pain immediately after the incident, but returned to action shortly after.

Tomorrow night, the Hawks will head to Houston to face James Harden and the Rockets. This is hardly an ideal situation for Atlanta (facing a top team on the end of a back-to-back), but most of the starters should be at least relatively rested. After tomorrow, the Hawks will return home for a Friday game against Orlando.