MIAMI — For a franchise with three NBA championships in the past decade and a 27-game winning streak along the way, putting together four consecutive victories might seem insignificant.
Not in this case.
Ending a brutal January schedule the right way, the Miami Heat got 18 points from Chris Bosh and beat the Atlanta Hawks 105-87 on Sunday night. The Heat finished January with a 9-8 mark — playing 11 of their previous 12 games before Sunday on the road — and now have a four-game winning streak in the regular season for the first time since March 28 to April 2, 2014.
"Now that we’ve passed that, hopefully we can extend it," Bosh said. "That was like a mental hurdle for us. We jumped it for today, so we can celebrate with dinner tonight."
Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng each scored 17 points for the Heat (27-21), who never trailed and passed Atlanta (27-22) for first place in the Southeast Division. Miami also moved ahead of Boston (27-22) for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.
"If you would have told me we would have been 9-8 this month, I don’t think I would have liked it," Wade said. "But with everything we’ve dealt with, went through and the way that we’re playing, I think we can all like the way we’re playing. … You can feel the corner starting to turn."
Amar’e Stoudemire finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat, who outrebounded Atlanta 47-31 and shot 48 per cent to the Hawks’ 39 per cent.
Paul Millsap and Al Horford each scored 17 for Atlanta, which got 15 points from Jeff Teague and 11 from Dennis Schroder. The Hawks have lost three straight.
"We were in a big hole all night," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Offensively, we’re not where we need to be. It’s a credit to Miami and their defence."
The Heat scored 58 points in the second half, and now head back on the road for another three-game trip starting Tuesday. Wade’s 17 points left him tied with Bernard King (19,655) for 42nd on the NBA’s career scoring chart.
Wade started the season 54th on that list.
Miami missed its last 10 shots of the first half and still went into the break with a 47-34 lead. The Hawks shot just 28 per cent in the opening 24 minutes.
Atlanta warmed up some in the second half, but nowhere near enough. The Hawks cut a 22-point deficit to nine late in the third quarter, but Miami got the lead back to 13 going into the fourth and wasn’t challenged again.
"We’re trying to find ourselves right now," Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore said.
Hawks: Atlanta has lost as many times through 49 games as it did in all of last season’s 60-22 campaign. … Atlanta’s 34 points in the first two quarters represented its second-lowest-scoring half of the season. The Hawks had 25 points in the first half against San Antonio on Dec. 12. … Teague fouled out for the first time this season, with 4:14 left.
Heat: Hassan Whiteside (left hip) missed his fifth straight game, Tyler Johnson (left shoulder) missed his second straight and Chris Andersen (left knee) missed his ninth in a row. Andersen is unlikely to travel on Miami’s upcoming three-game road trip. … Someone will grab Miami’s 100,000th rebound (including playoffs) this week, probably Tuesday at Houston.
Miami ran out to a 7-2 lead, significant for this reason: It was the biggest lead Miami held at home over Atlanta since Dec. 23, 2013. In the last three Hawks at Heat games before Sunday, Miami’s largest lead was a mere four points.
Atlanta’s Kyle Korver missed all six of his shots, marking the third time in his career that he started a game and went 0 for 6 or worse. He’s down to 42 per cent from the field (his worst since 2004-05) this season and 37 per cent from 3-point range, which would be the lowest success rate he’s had from beyond the arc in his career. And he’s 6 for his last 26 in Miami.
Hawks: Host Dallas on Monday.
Heat: Visit Houston on Tuesday.