The Hawks had a chance to make a statement.
They almost did.
The Hawks lost their ninth straight game to the Heat after a dramatic 121-119 overtime defeat at the AmericanAirlines Arena Monday night.
Michael Beasley made two free throws with 9.2 seconds remaining for the victory. The Heat had a foul to give and used it with 2.3 seconds left. A lob pass from Pero Antic to Kyle Korver failed. Chris Anderson sealed it with a free throw with .3 seconds left after Elton Brand was called for a fould.
Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 26 points. Paul Millsap had 25 points, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 9.2 remaining in overtime. Al Horford had 21 points and Kyle Korver had 15 points for the Hawks. Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 97 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. He hit five 3-pointers to move past Brent Barry (1,395) for 23rd on the all-time list.
LeBron James led the Heat with a game-high 38 points. Dwyane Wade sat out the game.
The Hawks led by seven points, 107-100 with 1:33 remaining in regulation. The Heat answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by LeBron James to close within a point. Lou Williams made two free throws with 22.3 seconds remaining. James dunked over Millsap with 14.4 seconds left before Teague and made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining. DeMarre Carroll fouled Ray Allen on a 3-point attempt with eight seconds left and he made all three for a 111-111 tie. Millsap couldn’t get off a shot as time expired to set up the extra period.
The Heat erased a double-digit second half deficit and tied the game, 92-92, on a three-point play by Anderson with 7:42 remaining. The game went back-and-forth until the final seconds of regulation.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game that a victory over the Heat would not be a statement.
“No, not a statement,” Budenholzer said. “They are just one of the best teams in the league and they are really going to test whoever they play. Any team that is fortunate enough to beat a team like Miami it’s … they are one of the best defensive teams in the league. They play with incredible pace on offense, incredible execution. So, it’s not a statement. It’s really a test. Our guys will be challenged on both ends.”
The Hawks led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, 63-52, after starting the period on a 9-2 run. They took an 84-77 advantage into the final quarter as the continued their 3-point barrage. They Hawks hit six 3-pointers in the period, four by Millsaps.
Things could not have started worse for the Hawks. They fell behind 13-0 after missing six straight shots and committing six turnovers. They didn’t get on the scoreboard until Millsap hit a 3-pointer with 7:10 remaining in the opening period.
The Hawks answered with a 16-5 run to pull within two points, 18-16. The Heat took a 10-point lead after the first quarter, 33-23, as they shot 69 percent (11 of 16) in the first 12 minutes.
The Hawks got going in the right direction in the second quarter. They outscored the Heat 31-17 in the period and took a 54-50 lead into halftime. The Hawks hit five 3-pointers in the quarter, part of a 9 of 13 long-range first half, to completely erase the woeful start. Korver (2), Millsap, Horford and Mike Scott all connected. Korver hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 50-50 before Teague scored two baskets for the four-point advantage. The Hawks shot 72 percent (13 of 18) in the second quarter. James missed a pair of free throws at the end of the quarter.
“We haven’t fallen asleep on the progress that they have made,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Hawks before the game.
The Hawks next play at the Cavaliers on Thursday.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com