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Atlanta Hawks end 7-game skid behind Howard, Millsap
Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (8) scores in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Dwight Howard had 23 points and 17 rebounds, Paul Millsap added 21 points and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 103-95 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Dennis Schroder had 17 points for the Hawks. They had lost 10 of 11 and had gone 14 days without a victory.
Tyler Johnson scored a career-high 27 points and Goran Dragic added 21 for the Heat. Miami has lost three straight.

It wasn’t an easy night for Atlanta’s offense as the Hawks settled too often for jumpers and struggled to make crisp, timely passes.

Coach Mike Budenholzer was clearly frustrated and called a timeout with a 10-point lead late in the third. The next three possessions resulted in a backcourt violation and an airball 3 by Malcolm Delaney and Howard’s offensive foul, but Atlanta led by 15 to begin the fourth.

The Heat pulled within three on two free throws by Dragic with 7:05 remaining before Thabo Sefolosha’s putback dunk two later possessions gave the Hawks some momentum, but not enough to put the game away.

Miami pulled within six with 2:40 remaining before Sefolosha’s fast-break dunk made it a 10-point lead at the 1:53 mark.
Howard’s dunk midway through the second put the Hawks up 15, but the Heat trimmed the lead to seven at halftime.


Miami coach Spoelstra wasn’t pleased when referee CJ Washington called Johnson for a foul against the 6-foot-11 Howard in the first quarter. Spoelstra couldn’t believe Johnson, who’s 7 inches shorter, affected the shot. “He can’t even jump that high!” Spoelstra said. Washington smiled, but Spoelstra held firm. “I’m dead serious!”


Heat: With six players staying home with injuries, Spoelstra had just eight in his rotation. … Dragic played 34 minutes despite having a stinger in his shoulder from Tuesday’s home loss to New York. … Johnson scored 14 points in the first half. … Whiteside had 12 rebounds and has led the team on the boards in all 22 games. … Wayne Ellington scored 19 points. … Josh McRoberts had two points, two rebounds and five turnovers in 30 minutes.

Hawks: G Kent Bazemore was sidelined with a sore right knee. He’s expected to miss at least one more game. An MRI Wednesday morning showed no structural damage. … Tim Hardaway Jr., who replaced Bazemore in the starting lineup, limped off the floor and into the locker room with a leg injury late in the fourth. … Howard and Millsap combined for 26 of Atlanta’s 53 points and for 12 of its 25 rebounds in the first half.


Heat: Visit Cleveland on Friday night and Chicago on Saturday night.

Hawks: Visit Milwaukee on Friday night.

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