Hawks clinch final playoff spot with win over Heat
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks turned things around just in time to cement a playoff berth.
They also might've been looking at their first-round opponent.
Jeff Teague had 25 points and four steals and the Hawks beat the Miami Heat, 98-85, on Saturday night.
Lou Williams netted 23 points for Atlanta, which was 25-21 on Feb. 4, but went into a 6-20 tailspin before winning six of its last eight games to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"It's satisfying to get a win and be in a groove that we're in," Williams said.
The Hawks, who tallied 29 points off 20 Miami turnovers, qualified for the postseason for a seventh straight season.
Dwyane Wade, who had missed his last nine games due to a hamstring injury, scored 16 first-half points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting. He finished with 24 points on a 10-of-14 effort for the Heat, who are tied with the Indiana Pacers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
LeBron James posted 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists in defeat.
"We're trying to make the right plays...but some were careless," James said.
The game was tied 51-51 before DeMarre Carroll capped a mini 7-1 push with a left wing triple for a 58-52 Hawks advantage with 7:26 left in the third.
Miami never got within four the rest of the way.
Atlanta led 69-62 after three and stretched the margin to 76-65 early in the fourth following Williams' three-point play.
A Wade turnaround jumper and three-point play quickly whittled the gap back to six, 76-70, but an 8-2 Atlanta flurry pushed the spread back to double figures midway through the frame.
The Hawks led by as many as 15 down the stretch.
Earlier, an 11-2 Hawks run vaulted them to a 24-16 advantage late in the first quarter before taking a 28-23 cushion into the second.
Wade netted the first eight points of a 13-4 surge, which Chris Andersen capped with a dunk to tie the game at 37-37 a little before the midway point of the second.
The tilt was knotted at 49-49 heading into the break.
The Hawks shot 46.2 percent (36-of-78) from the floor and 45.5 percent (10- of-22) from beyond the arc ... Miami shot just 24 percent (6-of-25) from beyond the arc.
04/12 22:36:59 ET