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Hawks scuffle in second straight loss to Heat, 115-86

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This wasn’t as competitive as Tuesday evening.

NBA: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s clash between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat was more competitive than most expected, to the point where only a late-game collapse kept the road team from an upset win. However, the rematch in Atlanta on Wednesday was far less interesting in the second half, as the short-handed Heat throttled the Hawks to the tune of a 115-86 final score.

The night began with strong play from Damion Lee, who scored the first seven points for the home team and singlehandedly kept the Hawks afloat. Then, Atlanta scored eight straight points to claim a 26-19 lead and, after making his first appearance in a Hawks uniform, Antonius Cleveland knocked down a buzzer-beating three to send the team into the quarter break with a six-point advantage.

On cue, the Heat awakened midway through the second quarter, though, scoring 14 straight points and zooming to a 20-4 overall to grab a 48-40 lead. The Hawks did fight back from there, but Miami held a six-point advantage at the break based largely on a 7 of 15 clip from long range and 10 turnovers from Atlanta that led to 14 points for the Heat.

Following halftime, the Heat pushed the margin to 11 points in short order and threatened to run away and hide. The Hawks would not fade, though, answering with seven consecutive points and prompting a timeout from Erik Spoelstra with 6:33 remaining in the third period.

Miami quickly reasserted control, however, using an 18-4 run to snatch a 82-64 lead and, frankly, that was the end of the competitive portion. The Heat then made it official with a 14-3 spurt to open the fourth quarter, claiming a 27-point advantage (that would only grow) and ensuring that no comeback bid would be in the offing.

Taurean Prince (20 points on 8 of 14 shooting) put together an efficient and productive offensive night, with Damion Lee (15 points, four rebounds) adding another solid performance. However, the team’s performance as a whole left plenty to be desired on both ends and there was a certain lack of energy to the proceedings for most of the night.

The Hawks will have Thursday off before traveling to face the Washington Wizards on Friday evening in the nation’s capital. Stay tuned.