Without All-Stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the shorthanded Miami Heat took on the Atlanta Hawks last Friday in Atlanta. In a game that was within five points for a majority of regulation, the Heat were able to make clutch stops along with big shots to win 115-111. With only nine players available, the Heat were able to come out with intensity and tenacity on both sides of the floor to tie the Hawks for the number four seed in the Eastern Conference. The win also ties the Heat with the Hawks for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Luol Deng broke out and had a huge game with 30 points. Goran Dragic also had a big night for the heat in the absence of Wade, chipping in 17 points and 10 assists. Off the bench, Heat forward Josh McRoberts contributed 19 points and 10 assists as well. As a team, the Heat were able to take a step up in the absence of their top two scorers and franchise players.
For the Heat, it was a true team effort. With each reach of the team stepping up on the road, one position that stepped up especially well were the Heat’s forwards. Justise Winslow and Luol Deng led the team in minutes played with just over 37 each. Josh McRoberts added a double-double off the bench. For Deng, the game was an especially efficient one. With his 30 points on just 17 shots, Deng was able to solidify a Heat offense that had struggled before the all-star break.
Looking forward, the Heat need to continue this solid play to move up as a top-4 seen in the East. With the return of Hassan Whiteside, Dwyane Wade, and hopefully Chris Bosh in the future, the Heat can become a team that no one wants to match up against in the playoffs.