MIAMI (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Atlanta Hawks better be careful, they might be heading into South Beach buzzsaw.
The Atlanta Hawks caught a break in the schedule with a much-needed two days off after batting to a 142-139 victory over the New York Knicks in four overtimes on Sunday.
The Hawks return to action by visiting the hottest team in the Eastern Conference – the Miami Heat – on Wednesday.
Atlanta survived the 11th four-overtime game in NBA history while pushing four players past 50 minutes, including All-Star Paul Millsap’s 60.
“Pretty amazing game, huh?” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer asked reporters. “It felt like both sides had it won several times and both teams made big plays and big shots. There are so many swings of emotion. Pretty special effort. We kept grinding for 68 minutes instead of 48.”
The Heat have gone from trying to avoid the basement in the East to an outside contender for a playoff spot with eight straight wins – the longest current streak in the NBA.
“Just one game at a time,” Miami shooting guard Dion Waiters told reporters. “Just stay humble, stay hungry, continue to keep working. Get better day by day. Keep putting in the work and you see results, and that’s all we’ve got to keep doing – just keep trusting the process and along the way have fun.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE HAWKS (28-20): Millsap played every minute of the four overtimes and hit the decisive lay-up in the final period to finish with 37 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists.
“He seemed like he was in a good place,” Budenholzer told reporters of Millsap. “I asked him a couple times how he was feeling. He said he was OK. … He did not want to come out. I’m going with Paul in that case.”
Shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. logged a career-high 58 minutes and collected 19 points and eight assists but was 5-of-20 from the floor, including 0-of-9 from beyond the arc.
ABOUT THE HEAT (19-30): Waiters is a big part of the current surge, and he delivered 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds in Monday’s 104-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Waiters is averaging 21.8 points during the winning streak while going 22-of-45 from 3-point range and was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Week on Monday.
“We don’t take that kind of news for granted – even in a year like this,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the award was announced. “We want our players to get better. We want them to push and be open-minded, to become something different. He’s really been working at it, working on trying to be more efficient, how to make more winning plays, learning how to finish better at the rim, learning ultimately how to impact winning better.”
- Hawks C Dwight Howard is enjoying a streak of five straight double-doubles and is averaging 15.2 points on 72.5 percent shooting and 13 rebounds in that span.
- Heat PF James Johnson averaged 17.5 points in the last two games after failing to reach double figures in five straight contests.
- Atlanta took each of the first two meetings this season, including a 93-90 triumph at Miami on Nov. 15.
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