The Heat rested Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and James Johnson in the second game of a back-to-back set for both teams.
The game didn’t begin in a blowout fashion as Miami trailed 36-28 two minutes into the second quarter, and then Kelly Olynyk and Heat defense happened.
.@Bam1of1 rises up for a rejection on one end, and then KO spins himself into a 3-pointer on the other! Catch the @MiamiHeat in action tonight against the Hawks live on FOX Sports Sun or FOX Sports Go! #HeatCulture #NBA pic.twitter.com/ParLHD7Uzq— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 5, 2018
@Bam1of1 rises up for a rejection on one end, and then KO spins himself into a 3-pointer on the other!
Olynyk made all 5 of his 3-pointers in the second quarter and the defense held Atlanta to 50 points in the last 34 minutes for a 87-50 thrashing during that time.
The Heat finally blew out of their 3-point doldrums by making 17 of 38 shots from downtown.
Besides Olynyk, Rodney McGruder went 3 of 4, and Wayne Ellington broke the NBA record for most 3-point baskets by a player off the bench with his third three pointer of the game.
Coach Erik Spoelstra went big with Bam Adebayo and Olynyk early in the game and had great results, as they dominated the boards and help Miami outscore the Hawks by 26 points in just 20 minutes together.
Five Heat players scored in double figures, including Derrick Jones Jr. who had 10 points and 4 rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, and McGruder all continued to impress with solid all-around efforts to slow down the younger athletic lottery teams Miami sometimes had trouble with this season.
Richardson went 7-12, 2-2 on 3-pointers, had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 4 blocks and no turnovers or fouls.
Winslow had a stat line of 7-16, 1 rebound, 5 assists and a solid +/- of +24 as he made winning plays for the team.
McGruder was a more modest 5-6, but his three early 3-point baskets, along with Olynyk’s, set the tone of the game and posted a +/- of 21 in just 21 minutes on the court.
As a team the energy and intensity showed itself with 54 rebounds, 9 steals, 10 blocked shots, and the bench scoring the most points this season.
Tonight’s intense effort level by the younger players shows fresh legs and youth can be a difference-maker, especially against some of the less-talented teams, whose players are competing fiercely just to get a NBA contract for next season.