Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver (26) fouls Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) in the second quarter at Philips Arena. (USA TODAY Sports: Brett Davis)
ATLANTA — Kyle Korver had a 3-pointer to extend his NBA record of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 109 games but none was bigger than his third with 55 seconds left to play to give the Hawks a five-point lead as Atlanta topped Miami 121-114 at Philips Arena on Monday.
“I was almost too open,” Korver said. “They were focused on Paul (Millsap). Paul had a great fourth quarter. We were just feeding him and he dumped off the pass to Pero (Antic) and made plays at the rim himself. The Pero set a good flare screen for me and I was wide open. It was one of those where you’re so open and it’s the end of the game.”
Millsap had put some fear in the Heat as he led the team in scoring with 26 points.
The Hawks (21-19) pulled away several times taking double-digit leads but Miami (29-12) made runs of their own keeping the game close.
After three lead changes, Atlanta took the lead with 3:06 left in the first period on Lou Williams’ second successful free-throw attempt giving Atlanta the 25-24 lead. All that changed with 7:05 left in the game when a 3-point LeBron James, who led all scorers with 30 points, shot gave the Heat the 106-104 lead with 6:25 left to play.
Despite James’ shot, it did not hamper Atlanta’s feeling that they could still win the game.
“We had to stick with what we were doing, Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They went up by three on us but we had to continue to play the way we had been playing all night and get a few more stops.”
One of those big stops came late in the game when Millsap blocked a Chris Bosh layup which took away even more momentum from the Heat.
“We had a situation where we committed two or three guys to come across to contest Chris Bosh on a lay up. I think it was indicative of our commitment to play together as a team,” Budenholzer said. “I feel like we got a few key stops. A lot of times in a close game you have to get some of those crucial stops along the way.”
Atlanta’s biggest lead came in the second quarter where they led by as many as 12 points. But the Heat closed out the second half strong to make it a one-point, 71-70 game.
Bench play gave the Hawks a big push through the first half scoring 27 of their 71 points giving Atlanta the halftime lead. Pacing the home team from the bench were Shelvin Mack with 11 points and Mike Scott with eight. Both players finished with 12 points.
Even though Miami had the momentum to end the first half scoring the final six points of the half, Atlanta came out of the locker room charged up to go on a 11-3 run forcing the Heat to take a timeout after dunk by DeMarre Carroll to give the Hawks a nine-point lead.
Modern technology took a couple of points off the board for Miami after video footage showed the Bosh did not let go of the ball until after the shot clock expired to give the Heat a two-point rather than four-point lead late in the game.
Atlanta had outscored Miami in every quarter including the second and third they had a two-point edge in scoring.
“(It) was a real positive for our group to be able to find a way to get some stops against a very talented, well-coached team,” Budenholzer said. “We were able to score enough to be able to get the win.”