ATLANTA (CBSMiami) – Now securely in the playoffs, the Miami Heat are looking to avoid playing one of the Eastern Conference’s top two squads in the first round.
Miami moved into sole possession of sixth place in the East on Wednesday, a half-game ahead of idle Washington and Milwaukee.
Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points, including 15 on five 3-pointers when Miami took the lead for good in the second period, and the Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 115-86, capping a sweep of back-to-back games between Southeast Division rivals.
Miami rested Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and James Johnson one day after clinching a playoff berth by beating the Hawks in Miami.
Josh Richardson also had 19 points, and Justise Winslow had 18 for Miami.
Olynyk took over the game for the Heat in the second period. Olynyk’s first two 3s in his streak of four straight for the Heat capped Miami’s 14-0 run for a 42-36 lead.
Following a basket by Atlanta’s Damion Lee, Olynyk sank two more 3s before a miss ended his hot stretch.
Miami stretched its lead with a 12-0 run late in the third quarter and increased the advantage to 20 points early in the final period.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade, Dragic and Johnson were rested to recover from minor injuries. He said he’s not shutting down his starters before the playoffs.
“Right now we’re not shutting everybody down,” Spoelstra said. “That’s not the thought of this at all. We want to clear these things up and all may be cleared by Friday.”
Wade is confident he’ll be ready for the postseason.
“I’ve got three more games,” Wade said before the game. “Yeah, I’ll be out there.”
Miami had plenty of depth to control the woeful Hawks, who have lost seven of eight and 13 of 15 to solidify their hold on the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Taurean Prince led Atlanta with 20 points, Lee and Tyler Dorsey each had 15. No other Hawks player scored in double figures.
Heat: Spoelstra said Dragic (right ankle), Wade (left wrist) and Johnson (left ankle) have played through injuries as the Heat “made a pretty big push without exhaling at all” to clinch the playoff spot. “These next two days we would just like to see them get a bunch of rest and treatment,” Spoelstra said. … Rodney McGruder had 14 points. Wayne Ellington had 11. … Miami made 17 of 38 3s.
Hawks: G Antonius Cleveland had five points in 12 minutes in his return after missing 18 games with a left ankle injury. He appeared in his first game since Dec. 18 with the Mavericks. … Center Dewayne Dedmon (sore rib) was cleared following pregame warmups. He had six points and eight rebounds after missing Tuesday night’s game.
There was a pregame moment of silence to mark the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
Heat: At New York on Friday night.
Hawks: At Washington on Friday night.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)