ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks are changing their lineup in an effort to change their results.
Atlanta has sent slumping forward Kyle Korver to the bench and replaced him with Thabo Sefolosha in hopes of ending a seven-game losing streak. The change began on Monday and is expected to carry over into Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat at Philips Arena.
"We are in a tough stretch and we have to try anything to try to get this going again," Korver told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I’ll do my best, whatever the role is."
Sefolosha is one of the team’s best defensive players but averages only 7.2 points. He scored six points as a starter on Monday in a 102-99 loss to Oklahoma City. Korver, averaging 8.8 points, came off the bench to score 15 against the Thunder.
Atlanta (10-12) started the season 9-2 but has lost 10 of its last 11 games and is 10th in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta’s longest losing streak last season was three games.
"None of us would have expected this (after the 9-2 start)," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We all have high expectations and high standards. So this is a little bit of uncharted waters or unexpected."
Miami (7-14) hasn’t been a hot team, either. The Heat dropped a 114-103 decision at home to the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. Miami has lost two straight and six of its last nine.
Miami point guard Goran Dragic had a season-high 29 points and seven assists in the loss Tuesday. Forward Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points, which pushed him over 2,000 career points, and added 14 rebounds. Whiteside has led the team in rebounds in each of their 21 games.
The Heat has five players who are injured and didn’t play against the Knicks: Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Justise Winslow and Luke Babbitt. Fatigue was a factor against the Knicks; Miami used only nine players, and five played at least 33 minutes.
"Right now there are a lot of moving parts, guys coming in and out of the lineup," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We’re not a team that can designate a specific rotation, so it’s changing rapidly and you have to keep yourself ready."
This will be the second meeting between the Hawks and Heat. Atlanta won 93-90 in Miami on Nov. 15. The Hawks had six players in double figures that night, with point guard Dennis Shroder scoring 18 points, including two free throws with 5.9 seconds remaining. Miami’s Waiters missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
Miami won three of the four meetings between the two teams last year and prevailed in both visits to Atlanta.
Atlanta isn’t close to the franchise record for longest losing streak. The Hawks lost 16 straight in 1976.