The Atlanta Hawks entered Tuesday with the worst record in the NBA and one of their four wins coming against the Miami Heat.
Make it two. The Heat hit a new low at AmericanAirlines Arena with a 115-113 loss to Atlanta. The victory was only the Hawks’ fifth of the season and second on the road. Josh Richardson got an open shot to win in the final seconds, but missed a three-pointer off a pass from Dwyane Wade.
Miami (7-13) entered the game with the worst shooting percentage and the league and once again floundered offensively against a lottery team. The Heat shot a respectable 46.5 percent from the floor, but only 66.7 percent from the free-throw line. Miami also turned the ball over 20 times.
The second quarter derailed a strong offensive start for the Heat. Miami scored a season-high 38 first-quarter points before unraveling before halftime. The Heat turned the ball over eight times in the second quarter and made only five field goals. By halftime, Atlanta (5-16) had grabbed a 16-point lead.
Miami’s offensive struggles were compounded by another poor defensive performance. The Hawks reached the 100-point mark by the end of the third quarter and had four different players score at least 14 points, including wing Taurean Prince, who finished with a team-high 18. Richardson led the Heat with 22 points, while guard Wade added 18. Hassan Whiteside finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but coach Erik Spoelstra benched the center for the entire fourth quarter.
With a six-game road trip on the horizon, Miami has three games left in a critical four-game homestand. The next three are all against teams which entered Tuesday with losing records.