The Miami Heat gave its fans another reason to feel infuriated with a despicable choke job at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
On the same evening when franchise legend Udonis Haslem watched his iconic #40 jersey lifted up to the rafters of the Heat’s home arena, Miami surrendered a 9-point third quarter lead and a 4-point edge with 35 seconds left.
A game-winning triple by Hawks guard Dejounte Murray with two seconds remaining on the game clock paved the way for Atlanta to win a third straight contest and snap Miami’s 22-game winning streak at home against Southeast Division adversaries. It was also the first loss handed to the Heat by a division opponent this season.
A 10-1 Heat run including 5 consecutive points by Jimmy Butler, a Bam Adebayo turnaround jumper, and a Tyler Herro 3-ball give Miami it’s cushion with a little over half a minute to play.
The downfall began when Josh Richardson fouled Bogdan Bogdanovic on a pass catch. With Miami in the bonus, the Serbian trooped to the foul link and made both charities. Then instead of having Butler make a play to seal the contest, the Heat went with a ridiculous Herro isolation, leading to a well-contested jumper from the baseline.
Atlanta coach Quinn Snyder didn’t call time-out, paving the way for Murray to pull up shortly after crossing halfcourt and providing Miami with a figurative slap on the face, which was warranted given the frequency of low-IQ basketball the Heat played with all evening long.
Miami had one more chance to win the contest but couldn’t even get a shot up as Caleb Martin dribbled the clock off after Butler was trapped in the corner on the catch. The Heat have now lost two straight games against below .500 clubs, preventing itself from moving up a tight Eastern Conference standings race.
Butler had 25 points and 6 dimes on 8-10 shooting. Adebayo had 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Herro finished with 25 points and 6 rebounds. Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson combined for 24 markers.
The Heat made a change to their starting unit by inserting Martin and having Kyle Lowry come off the bench, but Atlanta still led after the first period by eight.
Miami shot 46% from the field but turned the ball over 16 times. The Hawks drilled 15 of their 35 attempts from deep and were paced by Murray’s 22 markers on as many shot attempts.
The Heat are back in action on the road on Sunday against Orlando, who like Atlanta entering Friday’s contest are 0-2 against Miami this season.
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