Hawks dominate Heat for fourth straight win

Forget the Big Three.

The Heat were left with the Big One. And it was not nearly enough.

The Hawks used a 23-8 fourth-quarter run to take control of a game they led throughout en route to a 114-103 victory Friday night at Philips Arena. The Hawks placed eight players in double-figure scoring, led by Paul Millsap and Al Horford with 19 points apiece. The Hawks also got balanced scoring from Jeff Teague (16), Kyle Korver (12), Thabo Sefolosha (12), Shelvin Mack (12), Mike Scott (11) and Dennis Schroder (10).

The victory was the fourth straight for the Hawks (5-3). They have won all four home games this season.

“Defensively, the first six to nine minutes of the fourth quarter we did what we needed to do to get a win,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The impressive victory was the third straight over the Heat dating back to last season.

The Heat (5-4) were less than their championship self. LeBron James left for the Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade was out with a hamstring injury. That left Chris Bosh as the only remaining member of the core group that led the Heat to two NBA titles.

Mario Chalmers led the Heat, losers of two straight, with 23 points. Bosh added 20 points and eight rebounds.

The Hawks started fast. Horford scored the team’s first seven points and the Hawks led 12-1 before the Heat scored their first basket. The Hawks led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter and took a 35-23 lead after the first period. The 35 points marked team’s highest scoring quarter of the season. The Hawks shot 62.5 percent (10 of 16) in the quarter.

“It started with our defense in the first quarter,” Budenholzer said. “We got some stops and took it from there.”

The Hawks pushed their lead to as many as 16 points in the second quarter before a Heat rally. The Heat pulled to within four points, 54-50, before the Hawks ended the first half on an 8-2 run. The 62 points and 60.6 shooting percentage (20 of 33) were both season highs for any half.

The Hawks ball-movement offense was on full display. They finished with a season-high 33 assists, five more than the previous best. The Hawks even held a rebound advantage over an opponent with a 36-32 edge.

The Hawks face another tough challenge right away. They play at the Cavaliers Saturday night.

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