So this is what it looks like when the 3-pointers are falling, the bench is contributing and the fight doesn’t wane.

And so, from 15 down early Monday night, the Miami Heat followed the fight of their leader and made it consecutive victories over the Atlanta Hawks at Miami-Dade Arena with a 130-128 decision.

Even with Jimmy Butler closing with 26 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, at 8 of 14 from the field and 10 of 12 from the line, this was more than a one-man show.

It also was 21 points apiece from Victor Oladipo from Caleb Martin, 16 from Bam Adebayo, 14 from Tyler Herro and even 14 from Duncan Robinson.

Moving closer to a division title that yet could factor into a key playoff tiebreaker, the Heat extended their lead to 2 1/2 games over the Hawks atop the Southeast, in that race for the No. 7 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

Instead of their typical how-low-can-you-go approach, the Heat turned up the offense by closing 16 of 29 on 3-pointers, with Oladipo contributing four and Herro and Robinson three apiece.

Five Degrees of Heat from Monday’s game:

1. Closing time: With the Hawks making 11 of their first 12 shots, the Hawks pushed to a 43-30 lead at the end of the first period, before the Heat trimmed their deficit to 68-63 at halftime.

The Heat then tied it twice late in the third period, before going into the fourth down 96-92.

From there, the Heat moved to a four-point lead early in the fourth, before it was tied 113-113 midway through the period.

But with Heat’s 3-pointers falling, consecutive 3-pointers by Martin and Herro then staked the Heat to a 119-113 lead with 4:29 remaining.

Butler and Hawks guard Trae Young would match baskets from there, before a Herro turnover and a driving Dejounte Murray layup brought Atlanta within 125-122 with 47 seconds remaining.

An apparent Adebayo basket then was negated with 32 seconds remaining when Adebayo was called for a travel, but Martin came up with a steal against Young on the other end to keep the Heat lead at three.

From there, Butler converted a pair of Heat free throws for a 127-122 Heat lead, with 16.6 seconds remaining, effectively ending it.

2. Lineup shuffle: With Kevin Love out with a bruised rib, Max Strus was injected into the starting lineup for the 28th time this season, giving the Heat their 22nd …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Heat give it their best shot in 130-128 comeback victory over Hawks

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