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ATLANTA (AP) – DeMarre Carroll scored 24 points and the Atlanta Hawks clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 99-86 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night.
The Hawks wrapped up the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in the conference playoffs when Brooklyn beat Cleveland 106-98.
Paul Millsap had 21 points and Al Horford had 15 for Atlanta, which never trailed despite playing without injured guard Jeff Teague.
Miami, seventh in the East, had won four of six but fell behind early with cold shooting against the Hawks. Dwyane Wade had 13 points after missing one game with a swollen left knee.
Luol Deng led Miami with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Carroll has scored in double figures in seven straight games.
After Dennis Schroeder opened the game with a driving basket, Carroll’s 3-pointer and layup gave the Hawks a 7-0 lead. The Hawks increased the lead to double figures for the first time at 19-9 on two free throws by Carroll.
Atlanta stretched the lead to 26 points at 81-55 in the third quarter.
Teague missed the game with a left ankle sprain he suffered in Wednesday night’s win over the Magic. “I don’t think it’s too severe,” coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game.
Schroeder had 12 points and 11 assists while starting for Teague. Carroll finished two points shy of matching his career high.
Heat: Wade was cleared to start after pregame warmups. … Miami was without Hassan Whiteside (cut on right hand) and Chris Andersen (bruised left calf). Coach Erik Spoelstra said Andersen is improving.
Hawks: Carroll’s career high is 26 points at Minnesota on Feb. 9. … Mike Scott missed his eighth straight game with a left toe sprain. … The Hawks are 8-0 in Schroeder’s starts. … The Hawks have been the top seed in the Eastern Conference only one other time – in the 1993-94 season, when they finished 57-25 before losing in the conference semifinals. … Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz, wearing a No. 2 Hawks jersey, performed pregame, halftime and postgame concerts.
Heat: Host Pistons on Sunday
Hawks: At Charlotte on Saturday
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