The Miami HEAT defeated the Atlanta Hawks 104-93 Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Josh Richardson led the way for the HEAT with 21 points.
1. J. Rich Does It All
From beginning to end, Richardson was just in another gear. After scoring 10 points in the first quarter to help Miami get off on the right foot, the 24-year-old attacked the basket and tallied eight points in the fourth.
One of his more impressive plays of the night came late in the final period thanks to Justise Winslow’s defensive prowess.
With 4:31 to play, Winslow stole the ball from Mike Muscala and hit it ahead to Richardson, who absorbed contact from Kent Bazemore and still finished the play.
Yup, J. Rich was fired up.
On the flip side of the ball, the former Tennessee Volunteer was his usual versatile self and defended multiple guys, including Bazemore, Taurean Prince and Marco Belinelli.
Of course, he also did his thing in pick-and-roll defense, too.
In addition to his 21 points on 8-of-17 shooting, Richardson also accumulated four rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and a plus-10 rating.
Leading up to Monday night’s contest, Wayne Ellington hadn’t been making as many threes as he’s accustomed to.
Well, it’s time to put that to rest.
Ellington scored 19 points in the second quarter and tied a HEAT record with six treys in the period. Yes, six. As usual, the 29-year-old did a great job of utilizing screens and moving well off the ball.
Let’s take a look at one three in particular that also showcased Kelly Olynyk’s value to the offense. With 7:51 left in the second quarter, the big man passed the ball to Ellington and then got it right back from him. With Ellington running his way, Olynyk set a screen on Tyler Dorsey and flipped the ball to the former North Carolina Tar Heel, who nailed the 3-pointer.
When it was all said and done, Ellington had 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, two boards, two assists and a team-high plus-15 rating.
3. K.O. Keeps Up His Strong Play
After a sharp performance against the Pacers, Olynyk simply did more of the same versus the Hawks. Time and time again, the 7-footer executed well in the pick-and-roll game and also set up his teammates with some good feeds.
You also can’t forget about this tough and-one finish in the fourth quarter.
Olynyk finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.
-Once again, Jordan Mickey showed quick feet in the pick-and-roll and played solid defense. On back-to-back possessions early in the third quarter, he deflected a lob attempt and had a nice block on Bazemore. The 23-year-old ended up with two points, six boards and two blocks.
-Hassan Whiteside (left knee contusion) and Rodney McGruder (left tibia surgery) sat out. A.J. Hammons and Derrick Walton Jr. were assigned to Sioux Falls.
-Up next for the HEAT are the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at 8:00PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.