Kurt Helin

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) shoots over Atlanta Hawks center Tiago Splitter (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Miami. The Heat won 105-87. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Associated Press

Heat win season-best 4th straight, top Hawks 105-87

1 Comment

MIAMI (AP) — For a franchise with three NBA championships in the past decade and a 27-game winning streak along the way, putting together four consecutive victories might seem insignificant.

Not in this case.

Ending a brutal January schedule the right way, the Miami Heat got 18 points from Chris Bosh and beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-87 on Sunday night. The Heat finished January with a 9-8 mark – playing 11 of their previous 12 games before Sunday on the road – and now have a four-game winning streak in the regular season for the first time since March 28 to April 2, 2014.

“Now that we’ve passed that, hopefully we can extend it,” Bosh said. “That was like a mental hurdle for us. We jumped it for today, so we can celebrate with dinner tonight.”

Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng each scored 17 points for the Heat (27-21), who never trailed and passed Atlanta (27-22) for first place in the Southeast Division. Miami also moved ahead of Boston (27-22) for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

“If you would have told me we would have been 9-8 this month, I don’t think I would have liked it,” Wade said. “But with everything we’ve dealt with, went through and the way that we’re playing, I think we can all like the way we’re playing. … You can feel the corner starting to turn.”

Amar’e Stoudemire finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who outrebounded Atlanta 47-31 and shot 48 percent to the Hawks’ 39 percent.

Paul Millsap and Al Horford each scored 17 for Atlanta, which got 15 points from Jeff Teague and 11 from Dennis Schroder. The Hawks have lost three straight.

“We were in a big hole all night,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Offensively, we’re not where we need to be. It’s a credit to Miami and their defense.”

The Heat scored 58 points in the second half, and now head back on the road for another three-game trip starting Tuesday. Wade’s 17 points left him tied with Bernard King (19,655) for 42nd on the NBA’s career scoring chart.

Wade started the season 54th on that list.

Miami missed its last 10 shots of the first half and still went into the break with a 47-34 lead. The Hawks shot just 28 percent in the opening 24 minutes.

Atlanta warmed up some in the second half, but nowhere near enough. The Hawks cut a 22-point deficit to nine late in the third quarter, but Miami got the lead back to 13 going into the fourth and wasn’t challenged again.

“We’re trying to find ourselves right now,” Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore said.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Atlanta has lost as many times through 49 games as it did in all of last season’s 60-22 campaign. … Atlanta’s 34 points in the first two quarters represented its second-lowest-scoring half of the season. The Hawks had 25 points in the first half against San Antonio on Dec. 12. … Teague fouled out for the first time this season, with 4:14 left.

Heat: Hassan Whiteside (left hip) missed his fifth straight game, Tyler Johnson (left shoulder) missed his second straight and Chris Andersen (left knee) missed his ninth in a row. Andersen is unlikely to travel on Miami’s upcoming three-game road trip. … Someone will grab Miami’s 100,000th rebound (including playoffs) this week, probably Tuesday at Houston.

Wizards coach Wittman to miss 2 games after brother’s death

Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman watches during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Washington. The Nuggets won 117-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman will miss his team’s next two games following his brother’s death.

Assistant Don Newman will assume head coaching duties in Wittman’s absence for games Monday night at Oklahoma City and Wednesday night against defending-champion Golden State.

The Wizards said Wittman was expected to return for the game against Philadelphia on Friday night.

Wittman coached Saturday night in Houston after his brother, Rick, died the previous day.

Washington is 21-24 and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.

Knicks’ Derrick Williams throws it down against Warriors

Golden State Warriors forward Brandon Rush (4) defends a shot by New York Knicks forward Derrick Williams (23) in the second half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. The Warriors defeated the Knicks 116-95. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Leave a comment

The Knicks got off to a good start against the Warriors on Sunday. Well, more accurately Stephen Curry got off to a slow start — three of nine shooting in the first quarter — which opened the door for the Knicks to grab an early lead.

Derrick Williams was part of that Knicks push, throwing down a massive slam early in the second quarter.

As you might have guessed the good times did not last for the Knicks. Klay Thompson dropped 34, and the Warriors got a 116-95 win.

Mark Cuban on trade deadline: “nothing is really tempting to us”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Dallas has been a surprise success this season, at 27-22 they are the six seed in the West currently and seem playoff bound, something not expected this season.

Are the Mavericks going to double down on that at the trade deadline in a few weeks?

Don’t bet on it. Mark Cuban said as much speaking to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com.

This is the right play. Unless there is a “Godfather offer” the Mavericks have to realize that they are not going to compete with the Warriors or Spurs at the top of the conference, so why move future assets to get a little better now? That’s not the smart play.

The Mavericks are far from the only team in that boat.

Clippers blow out Bulls 120-93 for 4th straight victory

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jamal Crawford scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, leading a dominant bench effort for the second straight game, and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Chicago Bulls 120-93 on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory.

J.J. Redick added 21 points and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Clippers, who improved to 15-3 without Blake Griffin. Their four-game streak has coincided with Griffin being out at least a month after breaking his right hand while punching the team’s assistant equipment manager.

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Derrick Rose added 20 and Pau Gasol had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls. They’ve lost four of six and dropped to 10-11 on the road.

Crawford scored the Clippers’ first eight points of the fourth, pushing their lead to 92-75.

Rose and Butler were held to four points each in the third.

The Clippers had three double-digit scorers off the bench a game after their reserves scored 56 points in a 105-93 win over the Lakers. Austin Rivers added 16 and Wesley Johnson had 11, with the duo combining for five 3-pointers.

Los Angeles pulled away in the third after clinging to a four-point lead at the start of the quarter. Led by Redick’s 11 points, the Clippers built the game’s first double-digit lead. In one stretch, they outscored the Bulls 15-9 despite going nearly 2 1/2 minutes without a field goal to take an 84-73 lead. During that spurt, the Clippers made 7 of 8 free throws and got defensive stops.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Butler’s first basket of the game pushed him over 4,000 career points. … G Kirk Hinrich was scoreless on two shots in his return after missing six games with a left quad contusion. … G-F Mike Dunleavy is getting closer to playing after back surgery that has kept him out since the season began. He has resumed practicing and will likely return after the All-Star break.

Clippers: Griffin wasn’t at Staples Center for the second straight game and neither was staff member Matias Testi, the team’s way of minimizing distractions surrounding their altercation in Toronto last weekend. … F Jeff Ayres, who has had two points and two blocks in two games since his debut last weekend, will be signed to another 10-day contract. … The series is even at 1-1 after the Clippers lost 83-80 on the road Dec. 10.