The Atlanta Hawks are looking for answers.
Against a understaffed Miami Heat team, their decline continued at State Farm Arena, falling 115-91, marking their ninth straight loss at home, a streak dating back to November 22.
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The Heat, which again lacked Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, improved to 11-4 without their star duo in the lineup, compounding the misery in Atlanta with Tyler Herro hitting a near triple-double off the bench with 21 points, 11 assists. and nine rebounds.
It was a brutal night on the offensive end for the Hawks, who shot just 37.8 percent (31-of-82) from the field and 28.9 percent (13-of-45) from 3-point range and after trailing by just five. points at halftime (56-51), they let the game slip with a poor performance in the third quarter.
Miami started the third quarter on a 19-2 streak to extend their lead to 22 points, outscoring the Hawks 30-16 on the period thanks to a barrage of 3s, knocking down five of their 16 on frame. Meanwhile, the Hawks went 0 of 6 from deep in the room and shot just 5 of 18 from the field.
“We just couldn’t really hold anything,” Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said of his poor performance in the third quarter.
Following a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks have disappointed this season, currently holding the fourth-worst record in the East at 17-23, 3.0 games behind the final Play-In Tournament rankings.
In those nine losses at home, the Hawks’ defense has been almost non-existent, yielding 117.9 points per 100 possessions, who would rank last in the NBA this season.
In their last eight games, they have given up more than 130 points four times and while they have struggled to maintain consistency in their lineup due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, they have no excuses.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you”, Trae Young said following Sunday’s loss to the LA Clippers. “I feel like this is getting repetitive from my early years losing, you try so hard to find a way to win and it just isn’t enough, and you just have to find a way. It’s hard. I don’t know how to answer that question. I think that is between me and me.
“… We’re finally getting some guys back, but we have to win. For me, I mean, obviously, it’s frustrating. I hate to lose. That’s pretty much it. I’m not the happiest guy in the world right now, but we have to find a way to win. “
Atlanta has now lost three in a row and dropped nine of its last 12 games.
They will get another shot at the Heat on Friday when the two teams meet again in Miami, before a four-game stay at home against the Knicks, Bucks, Timberwolves and Heat again.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.