MIAMI — The Hawks (32-33) jumped to a 13-point lead in the first quarter, but the Heat rallied for a 130-128 victory Monday night.
Here are five observations:
1. Hawks coach Quin Snyder liked the effort but not the result.
“I thought we really competed,” Snyder said after his team’s second consecutive loss against the Heat (35-31). “And that was something that, after the (Saturday) night, the first half the other night. It was a point of pride for our guys. And I thought, particularly the way we started the game, we were really aggressive, defended well and continued to do that throughout the game.”
The Hawks battled until the end. Trae Young made a layup and a jumper before Dejounte Murray picked off Tyler Herro and scored a layup to make it 125-122 with 47 seconds left. Young finished with 25 points, and Murray added 23.
But the Heat called a timeout to reset, and though the Hawks forced a turnover, they gave away one of their own on the other end. They tried to slow a Jimmy Butler fast break but sent him to the line. Then Victor Oladipo split a pair of free throws, and Butler scored another pair to wipe out a 3-pointer from De’Andre Hunter.
2. The Heat tied the game at 90 on a 3-pointer by Gabe Vincent, who used a Butler screen to lose Young. The Hawks led 96-92 heading to the fourth quarter.
Miami, which leads Atlanta by 2 ½ games for the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, opened the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run and took a 104-100 lead that was capped by a dunk in transition from Oladipo.
Throughout the second half, the Heat kept the Hawks chasing, using switches to create perfect mismatches and taking advantage of the Hawks’ late rotations. It allowed the Heat to knock down 32 of 37 attempts from the free-throw line.
“I think that’s where (you’re) learning how to win on the road, and you got to play through those things,” Snyder said. “And I thought for the most part we did.”
3. The Heat continued their push from the end of the second quarter into the third. The Hawks looked lackadaisical on both ends of the floor and couldn’t find the intensity that helped them build the 13-point lead in the first quarter.
Miami found plenty of ways to get Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson open. They combined for 35 points in the game.
With Martin and Robinson, the Heat’s bench outscored the Hawks’ reserves 34-23 in the first half. Miami’s bench totaled a season-high 58 points Monday night.
4. The Hawks’ downfall came after a strong start Monday night against the Heat, which won 117-109 on Saturday night. Atlanta’s offense operated efficiently in the first quarter, knocking down 76% of its shots from the floor.
It came off aggressive ball movement as the Hawks worked inside out to find the open man on the perimeter. The Hawks made 19 of 25 shots in the opening quarter.
5. The Hawks have looked to Young to step up his game defensively, and he has risen to the occasion this season. On Monday night, Young hustled on defense as he tried to stick with Herro. Young fought through screens, sometimes on multiple possessions, as he helped to hold Herro to 5-of-14 shooting.
Snyder said he has encouraged Young to use his speed to his advantage.
“Defense is all about energy; it’s all about energy,” Young said. “I’m obviously already at a disadvantage because my height playing in a tall man’s league. So I just got to use my quickness to get under people and just make people as uncomfortable as possible. And so, for me, I just got to continue to use my quickness ... and do that.”
Heat 130, Hawks 128
Stat to know
The Heat were favored to win Monday’s game by three points, but Murray’s 3-pointer at the buzzer covered the spread.
“I think that’s the key. You want to get better each and every day as an individual, but most importantly, as a unit, and I think we’re doing that. Everybody’s paying attention in film and asking questions, listening to just everything that is coming from the coaches, starting with coach Quin on down, and it’s translating to practice, shootarounds and into the game.” – Murray on the team’s improvement
The Hawks face the Wizards at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Washington.
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