Erik Spoelstra after Heat’s 110-104 loss to Hawks
Dion Waiters didn’t let a stomach virus keep him out of the Heat’s starting lineup on Monday night.
But down to only nine available players, it still wasn’t enough for the Heat to pull out a victory.
Running the point with Goran Dragic injured, Waiters poured in 23 points and Josh Richardson scored a game-high 26 to nearly bring Miami back in the fourth quarter but the Heat eventually fell short in a 110-104 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena.
The Heat (15-15), already without Hassan Whiteside (knee bone bruise), James Johnson (ankle bursitis) and Justise Winslow (strained knee), had to play without top scorer Dragic, who sat out with a strained ligament in his shooting elbow.
The Heat used its ninth different starting lineup so far this season with Waiters, Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and rookie Bam Adebayo.
Miami trailed by as many as 14 points, but used an 8-0 surge to cut the deficit to 98-94 with 3:41 left.
But after a timeout, the Hawks answered with layups from Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder, who sliced his way to the basket repeatedly in the game, and finished with 23 points.
Bazemore served as the Hawks closer with four clutch points down the stretch as he finished with 16.
Taurean Prince led Atlanta (7-23) with 24 points and Dennis Schroder finished with 23 points.
Miami fell back to .500 with its next game against the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics in Boston on Wednesday.