Hawks fall to Heat despite John Collins’ big night

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (center top) is fouled by Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (right) during the second half Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (center top) is fouled by Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (right) during the second half Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

Although the Hawks (14-20) came back to tie the game in the final minutes, they again struggled down the stretch of a 109-99 loss to the Heat (17-17) Sunday in Miami.

Next up, the Hawks play in Miami again Tuesday.

Here are some takeaways from the loss:

1. After an anemic first half and trailing by as much as 14, 11 straight points by John Collins brought the Hawks back to within four (63-59) and resurrected their chances in the third quarter. Thanks in large part to bursts from Collins and Clint Capela, the Hawks tied the game at 95-95 at the 3:38 mark, off a Collins 3-pointer.

Atlanta had a scoring drought at the worst possible time, which has been a pattern this season. The Hawks didn’t score again until there were just 24.9 seconds remaining, giving up a 10-0 run over that span.

“The summary of the night was we didn’t make shots… We had our guys shooting it and we get some poor shooting nights from three guys that we need shooting the basketball and it really came back to us down the stretch,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We had some looks, crucial turnover at one point by Trae (Young) on the lob against the zone. But it really just came down to making those shots.”

2. In a game where overall the Hawks shot poorly, Collins carried the team, finishing with a double-double of 34 points (13-21 FG, 2-3 from 3, 6-7 FT) and 10 rebounds. He was a plus-7 and had the highest-scoring period of his career in the third quarter, with 19 points. It didn’t lead to a win, with the Hawks again failing to finish off a game after seemingly putting themselves in a good position late.

“I hate to say it’s the same story,” Collins said. “We put ourselves in position to win and we just don’t finish, we don’t close out the game. We didn’t execute; we didn’t get the stops we needed. Didn’t get the defensive rebounds to close out possessions. They hit shots. So it’s tough to do anything when none of those things are happening. No excuse, but we’ve got to do better.”

Collins’ career-high is 35 points. Capela finished with a double-double of his own, 20 points and 14 rebounds.

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) and forward Precious Achiuwa (5) defend during the first half Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) and forward Precious Achiuwa (5) defend during the first half Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn (25) and forward Precious Achiuwa (5) defend during the first half Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. Too many Hawks players had off nights, with the Hawks shooting 22.9% from 3-point range (8-35) and Young, Kevin Huerter (13 points, career-high six steals) and Danilo Gallinari (six points) combining to go 3-for-24 from distance. On average, the Heat give up 13 3′s a game, the third-most in the league.

Young finished with seven turnovers, including one late that helped swing momentum in Miami’s favor. Young, who had 15 points and nine assists, said he needs to be better at games’ end.

“In the final four minutes, I’ve got to do a better job of making shots and helping lead our team a little better down the stretch. And I’ll be better at that.”

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Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce (left) makes a point with official Josh Tiven during the second half against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce (left) makes a point with official Josh Tiven during the second half against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce (left) makes a point with official Josh Tiven during the second half against the Miami Heat, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Miami. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. Miami guard Kendrick Nunn, who hit a clutch 3-pointer to give the Heat a 100-95 lead, continues to excel against the Hawks. He led the Heat with 24 points Sunday. He had 14, 36, 28 and 17 points against the Hawks last season (23.8 on average). Tyler Herro added 14 points (12 in the fourth quarter alone.) The Heat were without Jimmy Butler (right knee inflammation).

5. Approaching the All-Star break, the Hawks entering this game talked about trying to finish the first half of the season strong. They’re off to a rough start, obviously, but have two more games before the All-Star break: a rematch with Miami Tuesday and a game in Orlando Wednesday. They’re 11th in the Eastern Conference standings, though only four teams in the East have winning records, and one spot out of the play-in tournament.

Stat of the game

42-9 (the Heat had 42 bench points compared to the Hawks’ nine)

Star of the game

Kendrick Nunn (led the Heat in scoring with 24 and assists with seven, continuing his success against the Hawks)

Quotable

“A lot of it falls on me. Couldn’t get a lot of shots to fall tonight and just needed a couple more to fall for us to really stay in the game late.” (Young on what went wrong in the fourth quarter)

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