Hawks fly past short-handed Heat
ATLANTA — Kent Bazemore bailed out Atlanta after the injury-ravaged Miami Heat gave the Hawks a late scare Monday night despite having just nine available players.
The Heat cut a 14-point Atlanta lead down to a point with just over a minute left, but Bazemore, who scored 16 points, made two decisive baskets at crunch time and the Hawks held on for a 110-104 victory.
Taurean Price tied his career high with 24 points and Dennis Schroder scored 23 as the Hawks (7-23) prevented the Heat (15-15) from going two games over .500 for the first time this season.
“Miami’s a well-coached team and they bring it regardless of who’s in their lineup,” Bazemore said. “A lot of scrappy guys. Those guys played really hard.”
Bazemore hit a pullup jumper with 50.1 seconds left and then scored on a drive with 24.1 seconds remaining after Atlanta forced on of Miami’s 19 turnovers.
“We had a lot of deflections and ball pressures,” said Bazemore, who made five steals. “I had the easy job of just being in the right spot at the right time.”
Josh Richardson had 26 points for the Heat and Dion Waiters scored 23 despite missing the morning shootaround because of a stomach virus.
“Not having enough bodies, that’s not an excuse,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had enough and we had enough energy.”
Miami was without its other three normal starters after guard Goran Dragic tested his strained left shooting elbow before the game and couldn’t go. The Heat’s leading scorer was hurt in the final minute of a Saturday home victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
“He went out and tried it, but (the elbow) wouldn’t loosen up,” Spoelstra said. “We’ll see how he responds to treatment.”
Also sidelined for the Heat are center Hassan Whiteside, who has played in just 15 games because of a knee problem, and forward James Johnson, who left in the first quarter Saturday and was diagnosed with bursitis in his right ankle.
Tyler Johnson started in place of Dragic and had 19 points before fouling out late in the game. Rookie Bam Adebayo filled in for James Johnson and had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Credit Atlanta. They were really aggressive,” Spoelstra said. “They had us mostly on our heels until the last nine minutes. The level of urgency went way up and that is what is required and we just didn’t have it for the entire game.”
The Heat, down 14-5 early, scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to lead 40-31, but the Hawks battled back to lead 58-57 at halftime thanks to 16 points of Prince, who was 4 of 5 behind the 3-point arc.
Coach Mike Budenholzer has told Prince to focus more on catch and shoot the last couple games.
“I was more focused on just shooting the ball,” Prince said. “If somebody runs out super hard, I still have the ability to go to the rack and make plays for others. It’s just doing what I do best first and then other stuff afterwards.”
Each team hit seven 3-pointers before halftime and the Hawks shot 57.5 percent overall to 52.5 percent for the Heat, who got 15 first-half points from Richardson and 12 from Waiters.
The Heat went cold in the third quarter and the Hawks took advantage, jumping out to an 87-76 led thanks in part to 13-for-15 shooting from the foul line.
Miami missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the second half, finishing 7 of 25. The Hawks also cooled off from behind the arc, going 1 of 11 after starting 7 of 11.
Richardson, a third-year player, made 10 of 19 shots as he finished two points off the career best he set in the previous game.
“J-Rich is playing very good basketball on both ends of the court,” Spoelstra said. “He just continues to gain confidence. We want to fuel that and see where he can go, but we like the place that he’s in right now.”
NOTES: Heat F Justise Winslow (knee) missed his third straight game, and like G Goran Dragic, is listed as day-to-day. ... Miami F James Johnson is expected to be out until at least next week. ... Rookie G Matt Williams Jr., on a two-way contract, is scheduled to join the Heat in Boston and be available Wednesday for the final game of the road trip. He has been playing with Sioux Falls of the G League. ... The Hawks signed undrafted rookie F Tyler Cavanaugh to a multiyear NBA contract after he was on a two-way contract with Erie of the G League. ... C Dewayne Dedmon (stress reaction) and F/C Mike Muscala (ankle) remain out for the Hawks. ... The Hawks host Indiana on Wednesday.