Miami Heat

Heat’s struggles against Hawks continue, this time in 24-point blowout loss

Erik Spoelstra speaks after Heat’s blowout loss to Hawks

Erik Spoelstra speaks about what hurt the Heat in its loss to the Hawks on Sunday night.
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Erik Spoelstra speaks about what hurt the Heat in its loss to the Hawks on Sunday night.

Just when you thought the Miami Heat had fixed most of its issues, Sunday happened.

The Heat (19-19) turned in one of its worst performances of the season in a 106-82 loss to the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks (12-27) at State Farm Arena. Atlanta is now 3-0 against Miami this season.

The loss put a damper on what has been the Heat’s best stretch of the season. Miami entered the contest with victories in 12 of its past 17 games.

The Heat usually wins behind strong defense, but its offense was mostly to blame for its disappointing night in Atlanta.

Miami scored a season-low 82 points on 35.6 percent shooting from the field and 5 of 34 shooting on threes. On top of that, the Heat was just 15 of 27 from the free-throw line.

The Heat’s starting lineup of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder, James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside combined to score 36 points on 34.1 percent shooting.

Whiteside was held to two points and four rebounds in 21 minutes, and Winslow scored 13 on 6-of-16 shooting.

For the Hawks, their offense came to life in the second half. After making 31.1 percent of their shots in the first half, the Hawks shot 63 percent over the final two quarters to outscore the Heat 68-45 in the second half.

Despite the Heat’s issues on offense Sunday, Dion Waiters and Wayne Ellington were healthy scratches once again. It marked Waiters’ second consecutive DNP-CD (did not play, coach’s decision) after returning from left ankle surgery last week, and it was Ellington’s ninth DNP-CD in the past 13 games.

Next up for the Heat is a Tuesday matchup against the Denver Nuggets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.

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