Hawks Fall In Overtime to Heat

Monday, December 23, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Atlanta Hawks vs Miami Heat

Paul Millsap set a career-high with seven three-pointers (7-of-10) finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 26 points and eight assists but the Hawks (15-13) were unable to close out the Heat (21-6) in Miami, as they squeaked out the 121-119 win.

Hawks vs. Heat
Photo Gallery

Miami jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Hawks caught fire in the second to take a 54-50 halftime lead. We led by as many as eight in the fourth quarter and three in the overtime period, but were not able to contain LeBron James and the Heat offense down the stretch.

The Hawks shot 17-of-34 from three-point range, two made-threes shy of the franchise record of 19, out-rebounded the Heat by nine (29-20), and had 29 assists on 45 made shots, but in the end it was not enough. The Heat shot the ball well (50.5% from the floor), forced 19 Hawks turnovers for 19 points (13 Heat TOs for 18 points), but the big difference was a 30 to 19 free throw differential (20 to 14 made).

LeBron James was dominant, scoring 38 points on 16-of-28 shooting with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals without a turnover. James was held in check (relative to his normal output) for the first three quarters, but he turned it on when the Heat needed him in the fourth and in overtime. He helped the Heat rally back from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including two huge pull-up threes in the final few minutes, and then had three more points in the overtime period.

The Hawks played an outstanding game on the offensive end, save for the turnovers. They shot 48.9% from the field and 50% from three-point range. The ball-movement and player movement was beautiful and Teague was extremely aggressive attacking Mario Chalmers and the Heat defense in the half court and in transition.

Al Horford had a big double-double of his own and joined Millsap and Teague in the 20+ point group scoring 21 and grabbing 12 rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting. Once Millsap fouled out in the overtime period, Horford and Teague worked well in the pick-and-pop game down the stretch, and the Hawks opened up a three-point lead with less than two minutes to play in the overtime.

Kyle Korver also was big on the night with 15 points (5-of-8 from three) and four rebounds. The Hawks drew up the final play of the game for Korver, a lob that was beautifully thrown by Pero Antic, but Korver was not able to get quick control of the pass and his effort hit off the backboard.

Atlanta had a number of opportunities to get the win, none more-so than on the final possession, when, after Ray Allen (19 points) got a foul call on a three-pointer and made all three free throws, the Hawks went into Millsap in the post against Michael Beasley. Millsap turned baseline and went under the rim where he was smothered by Chris Anderson. With no call on the initial contact, Millsap’s last gasp effort on the offensive rebound went waning and the Hawks were sent into overtime.

In overtime, the Hawks followed Teague’s effort to a three-point advantage, but the Heat closed the gap and took the lead after an Anderson lay-up, two Beasley free throws and an Anderson free throw to ice it at the end.

There were questionable foul calls on Atlanta down the stretch but the Heat did well to force the issue and put the pressure on the officials to make the calls by attacking the rim in the fourth quarter and overtime. Miami was not particularly strong from the free throw line, shooting 66.7% (20-of-30), but the sheer volume of attempts gave them an advantage over the Hawks (14-of-20).

The Hawks can take plenty of positives away from the game with the great play of Millsap, Korver, Horford and Teague being the biggest. All three were aggressive and showed what the offense is capable of when the ball moves and the players look to attack. The last four games have been phenomenal displays from the Hawks’ offense. Defensively, the Hawks did well in the second, third and early fourth quarters, and their defense down the stretch was actually pretty solid, but, alas, LeBron James is LeBron James.

While positives can be taken away, there is no doubt that the loss will sting the Hawks. Coming so close to getting a win in the home arena of the two-time defending champs and exiting with an overtime loss is a tough pill to swallow. They had it in their grasp in both the fourth quarter and overtime before having it taken from them by the Heat. Atlanta will have to regroup over their three day break and head to Cleveland for a match-up with the Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,