Heat pound sloppy Hawks
Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 2:34 a.m.
ATLANTA - In his third season with the Miami Heat, Eddie Jones understands what coach Pat Riley wants to accomplish.
``Everybody's trying to run,'' Jones said. ``That's what makes us so good.''
Caron Butler scored 25 points and Jones added 20 Wednesday as the Miami Heat set a franchise-best road margin of victory by taking advantage of 25 Atlanta turnovers to beat the Hawks 107-73.
Miami, which has won seven of nine, sent the Hawks to their largest margin of defeat this season. Atlanta has lost four of five.
``The first quarter was definitely their tempo, their style,'' Jones said. ``Then we got our defense going. When we got our offense going, we got a lot of easy baskets.''
Reserve center Vladimir Stepania scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds for Miami, which scored 31 points off turnovers.
Butler, a rookie from Connecticut who was drafted 10th overall, was 10-for-15 from the floor. In the Heat's 93-84 win over Atlanta on Monday in Miami, Butler was 7-for-11 and scored 21 points.
``I'm learning the system a little more and getting a little more comfortable out there,'' Butler said. ``Now you start shooting your shots in rhythm because you're more comfortable and you understand the system. Your team believes in you. They come out and say, `Shoot the ball.' Even when it wasn't falling before, they said, 'Shoot the ball.' For those guys to believe in me gives me confidence.''
Atlanta was never closer after Shareef Abdur-Rahim's layup at 7:18 of the second quarter cut Miami's lead to 39-38. The Heat went on a 60-26 run that ended with two free throws by Rasual Butler with 5:50 remaining.
``We played with a lot of energy,'' Riley said. ``The commitment to running and getting down the floor was a big impact in the game, which started in the third quarter.''
Glenn Robinson had a game-high seven turnovers for the Hawks, who entered with the NBA's third-highest turnover total. Jason Terry led Atlanta with 17 points but he was just 6-for-15 from the floor, including 2-for-9 on 3-point attempts.
Hawks reserve forward Darvin Ham believes the Hawks were outhustled.
``We could take some lessons from that, but I'm just tired of saying it,'' Ham said. ``We need to implement that in our game plan, desperately. We've got the talent, we just need the courage and the heart.''
Abdur-Rahim had 10 rebounds and 12 points for the Hawks, who were outscored 31-5 on fast-break points and 42-30 in the lane. Wednesday marked the 19th time Atlanta has allowed opponents to score at least 20 points off turnovers.
``Our margin of error is very thin,'' said Atlanta coach Terry Stotts, who dropped to 1-3 after replacing Lon Kruger. ``And what bothered me about the first half was that the things that fell apart were things that we can control. We were soft with the ball, we were not alert in transition defense, we didn't do the things that we can control.''
Michael Doleac and Charlie Ward each added 11 points for the Knicks, who dominated the final three quarters and were never threatened in the second half. New York has won two straight and three of its last four games.
Alvin Williams had 15 points and five assists and Jelani McCoy had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the short-handed Raptors, who were without starters Vince Carter and Antonio Davis as well as forward Mamadou N'Diaye. Toronto completed a winless five-game road trip by scoring only 13 points in the fourth quarter, and has lost 15 of its last 17 games.
The Raptors cut the Knicks lead to 72-62 at the end of the third quarter, but didn't score for the first 2:56 of the fourth.
Thomas had a pair of jumpers and Charlie Ward had a 3-pointer in a 13-2 run, and New York led by as many as 22 points in the final period.
New York's guards outplayed the Raptors even with Latrell Sprewell hitting only one of eight shots.
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