Bloodied but undaunted, Heat snap skid against Hawks 100-88
Dec. 15, 2015
ATLANTA (AP) — Goran Dragic kept right on going after part of a tooth was knocked out. Gerald Green looked as fresh as can be in the fourth quarter.
They may have been bloodied, but the Miami Heat finally ended their misery against Atlanta.
Green scored 11 of his 20 points in the final period, Dragic bounced back from an encounter with Al Horford's elbow, and Miami handed the slumping Hawks another home loss, winning 100-88 on Monday night.
Chris Bosh led the Heat with 24 points.
It was Green and Dragic who pushed them over the top, snapping a seven-game losing streak against the Hawks.
"We've got to bring this every game," Green said. "When the season ends, we want to be competing for a world championship."
Dragic drew good-natured comparisons to Jim Carrey's character in "Dumb and Dumber" after part of a tooth was knocked out early in the third quarter while guarding Horford on a switch. The rugged guard from Slovenia didn't even want to come out of the game, but he was coaxed to the bench to get the bleeding stopped. A trainer retrieved the tooth from the court, and Dragic proudly grabbed a small pill bottle out of his locker after the game, rattling the remains for reporters.
"I didn't know I lose my tooth at first," said Dragic, who returned late in the third quarter. "I just knew I opened something. The blood was coming out."
He made only one basket after he was whacked in the face, but still made a valuable contribution down the stretch with three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
"We knew he was tough, but we didn't know he was 'get your teeth knocked out, bleeding and come right back in' tough," teammate Dwyane Wade said.
Green did the rest, finishing 9 of 14 from the field. He really came through in the fourth, helping the weary starters hold on with Miami playing for the second night in a row.
"My teammates were so good about getting me the ball and letting me go to work," he said. "I've got the easiest job in the world."
The night before, Miami rallied from 16 points down to beat Memphis, snapping a three-game losing streak. This time, the Heat led comfortably most of the way, the margin in double figures through nearly the entire second half as they held on for their first win over Atlanta since Dec. 23, 2013.
The Hawks were coming off an ugly 103-78 loss two nights earlier to the San Antonio Spurs. This one wasn't much better, Atlanta hardly looking like the team that won 60 games and claimed top seed in the East a season ago.
Since a 7-1 start, the Hawks have lost 11 of 18 games.
"We've got to find a way to fight through this, to work through this," coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Kent Bazemore returned to Atlanta's starting lineup and scored a career-high 28 points. He didn't get much help. The Hawks shot just 39.3 percent from the field.
"I'd rather score one point and win," Bazemore said.
Atlanta's Paul Millsap scored 18 points, but Horford, with 13, was the only other starter in double figures. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver both made just 2 of 12 attempts, finishing with seven and five points respectively.
"I think I've been the worst of everyone," Teague said. "I have to step up and play a lot better."
A young boy announced the lineups before the game, drawing a big cheer from the crowd and fist-bumps from the starters on both teams.
Wade couldn't resist having a little fun with the youngster, who dutifully read off his sheet that the guard was listed as 6-foot-4.
"Hey, I'm 6-5," Wade said, breaking into a big grin before taking the court.
Heat: F Josh McRoberts sat out his third straight game with a bruised right knee. ... Assistant coach Keith Smart was not with the team because of an undisclosed medical condition. ... Wade had a rough night, hitting just 3 of 16 attempts and finishing with seven points. ... Luol Deng added 18 points.
Hawks: Bazemore was back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench in the previous seven games behind Thabo Sefolosha. "It's really just trying to figure out the right mix," Budenholzer said. ... Atlanta slipped to 8-6 at Philips Arena.
Heat: Travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets on Wednesday.
Hawks: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.