Hawks melt down in overtime, fall to Heat

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) acknowledges the crowd as he is introduced during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Credit: Lynne Sladky

Credit: Lynne Sladky

The Hawks (6-18) collapsed in overtime, letting a winnable game slip away in a 135-121 loss to the Heat Tuesday.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. If not for a complete meltdown in overtime, in which a close contest devolved into garbage time in less than five minutes, the Hawks could have won this one. The Hawks scored the first five points in the fourth quarter and had a six-point lead with 59.9 seconds to play, at which point Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce subbed out Trae Young and Jabari Parker in favor of DeAndre’ Bembry and Vince Carter. The Heat tied it 117-117 after back-to-back 3’s by Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler to send it to overtime, which wasn’t kind to Atlanta, with the Heat outscoring the Hawks 18-4. In between those 3’s, a layup attempt by Bembry was blocked. After the loss, Pierce took responsibility for not calling a timeout after that first 3 (and potentially getting Young back in the game): “We went defense for offense and that was probably where I should have called timeout. We ended up getting an empty possession on the offensive end and then they come down and hit Jimmy, it’s a big 3 to tie it up. And that’s on me.”

2. It looked like the Hawks were done for when the Heat went on a 20-3 run and took a 15-point lead at the 6:03 mark in the first quarter. But as it turns out, making 13 3-pointers in a half (which ties the franchise record) can really help a team gain ground, and the Hawks built up a five-point lead before trailing 66-64 at halftime. In total, the Hawks had a season-high 20 3’s, one game after setting their previous season high of 18 in Sunday’s win in Charlotte. The Hawks entered Tuesday’s game ranked last in the league in 3-point percentage (31.7%), though not having Kevin Huerter for 11 games certainly brought that number down.

3. Rookie De’Andre Hunter led the Hawks in scoring with a career-high 28 points, shooting 64.7% from the field (11-for-17) and 50% from 3-point range (5-for-10), adding three assists, four rebounds and one blocked shot. On more than one occasion, Hunter bailed out the Hawks with great individual plays late in the shot clock, and it was his 3-pointer that gave them a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. “I thought he was great,” Pierce said. “I thought this was probably one of his more solid games in terms of offense and defense. He was able to make plays and create plays when we were dead at the end of the shot clock.”

4. To put it lightly, the Hawks have had a difficult time containing rookie Kendrick Nunn this season. Nunn had 17 points in Miami’s win Oct. 29, 28 points in Miami’s win Oct. 31 and led the Heat in scoring with 36 points Tuesday. Nunn entered Tuesday’s game averaging 15.3 points per game. The Heat had a handful of players filling out the stat sheet, with Jimmy Butler (20 points, 10 assists, 18 rebounds) and Bam Adebayo (30 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds) registering triple-doubles, and Robinson tying the franchise record for 3’s in a game with 10.

5. Vince Carter became the fifth player in NBA history to play in 1,500 regular-season games (and he made his 1,500th game a solid one, with 12 points, four assists and three rebounds). He follows in the footsteps of Robert Parish (1,611 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560), Dirk Nowitzki (1,522) and John Stockton (1,504).

By the Numbers 

22.2% (the percentage the Hawks shot from the field in overtime, as they were held to just four points)

Quotable 

“I just think our energy was dead as soon as the overtime started.” (The Hawks’ Trae Young on what went wrong in OT)

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