This was not the way the Hawks wanted to come out of the All-Star break.
The Hawks talked about making a final push toward the playoffs with 26 games left in the regular season. Perhaps it can start with 25 games remaining.
The Hawks trailed by as many as 26 points in a lopsided loss to the Heat, 108-90, Friday night at Philips Arena.
Starting point guard Dennis Schroder, serving a one-game suspension for failing to return on time following the break, was not the only thing missing from the Hawks. The defense was suspect, especially attempts to limit the Heat’s 3-point shooting. The Heat shot .459 (17 of 37) from long range, one 3-pointer shy of the season-high allowed by the Hawks. The Heat shot .404 from the field.
The Hawks (32-25) have lost two straight and are 10-9 since a seven-game win streak in early January. Paul Millsap led the team in scoring with 21 points. Along with most of the regulars, he did not play the fourth quarter. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 11 points and Kent Bazemore and newcomer Ersan Ilyasova had 10 points each.
The Heat (26-32) have won two straight and 15 of the past 17 games, including a 13-game win streak. Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 23 points to lead five double-figure scorers. Goran Dragic had 17 points.
The teams end the season series 2-2.
The Heat took a 63-49 into halftime. The Heat ended the second quarter on a 31-15 run and that included Bazemore banking in a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer for the Hawks. The basket cut into the Heat’s 17-point lead, their biggest in the first half. During the Hawks’ drought, they went 3 of 9 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line with four turnovers. After Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer to give the Hawks a 34-32 lead, Millsap scored 10 of the 15 points.
The Heat extended their lead to as many as 25 points in the third quarter and held a very comfortable 87-66 lead headed into the final period.