By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
Behind a game-high 30 points and 11 rebounds from Luol Deng, the Miami Heat emerged with a 115-111 road win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night at Philips Arena. It was the first game after the All-Star break for both teams.
Deng’s double-double was matched by teammates Josh McRoberts who scored 19 points and dished out 10 assists off the bench and Goran Dragic’s 17 points and 10 assists. The Heat, who were missing the services of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh due to injury and a suspended Hassan Whiteside, shot 50 percent from the field and made eight three-pointers.
“Whatever was required had to be the mentality,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We had some timely, good defensive plays and that got us out into the pace we needed to be at. You have to have a certain level of grit and toughness in this league to win.”
Jeff Teague scored a team-high 23 points along with seven assists for the Hawks. Atlanta’s Paul Millsap grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and scored 12 points for a double-double. The Hawks shot 47.1 percent from the field and made 16 three-pointers. Atlanta also converted all 13 free-throw attempts.
Atlanta committed 21 turnovers and were outrebounded 46-42. Both teams had 27 assists.
“Coming into the break, I feel like defensively we’ve been playing better,” Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer said. “To give up 115 points on 50-percent shooting is tough. We have to be a lot better and start doing it on the court. It’s a disappointing way to start after the break.”
With the score tied at 52-52 at halftime, Atlanta ended the third quarter on a 10-3 run to take an 81-79 lead into the fourth quarter.
Miami outscored Atlanta 36-30 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Atlanta trailed Miami 22-19 at the end of the first quarter. Both teams struggled from the floor as the Hawks shot 30 percent and the Heat were at 36 percent.
The Hawks showed improved play in the second quarter and was able to tie the score at 52-52 heading into halftime. Al Horford had a team-high 10 first-half points for the Hawks who shot 46.2 percent from the field through the first two quarters. Mike Scott had 10 points off the bench for Atlanta.
Miami shot 46.7 percent in the first half behind a game-high 15 points from Deng. Winslow scored nine points for the Heat.