HEAT Top Hawks
By: Steve Rawnsley
Quietly, the Hawks have been playing very well this year, and been sneaking up on the Heat in the standings. With a win, the Hawks would have taken the lead in the Southwest Division. Luckily for the Heat, they have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The Heat and Hawks were off to a heated start. The Hawks’ perimeter starters scored the Hawks’ first nine points of the game. The Heat were staying toe-to-toe with them as all of the Heat starters scored in the first six minutes of the game.
The game then went to an offensive stalemate as the Heat outscored the Hawks 4-2 the next three minutes, as both teams were missing some open shots. However, after that, the Heat got a few driving shots, along with a Norris Cole three-pointer. On the other end, Josh Smith, the reigning NBA player of the week took over for the Hawks by scoring their next eight points, including back to back three pointers.
The Heat started the third quarter by getting penetration. Bosh drove to the basket for a layup, and then Ray Allen penetrated inside and got Shane Battier an open three-pointer, and then Mike Miller got a three as the Hawks went under on a screen. Al Horford proceeded to score for the Hawks. The Heat took a time out up by one with 6:50 left in the second quarter. The Hawks again, were hitting their outside shots, with Smith again, along with DeShawn Stevenson now joining the outside shooting barrage. LeBron and Wade both answered with their own threes. The first half was characterized by great outside shooting, while the Heat lead by two, 56-54.
Al Horford came out hot in the third quarter scoring their first six points. Bosh countered by scoring five of the Heat’s eight points. Jeff Teague hit a three with 6:53 left to give the Hawks a two point lead. Wade and LeBron then took over. Wade or LeBron either scored or assisted on the next sixteen of Miami’s seventeen points, as the Heat took an eight point lead entering the fourth.
The fourth quarter was a case where the game was not really over, but the Heat pretty much had it in the bag. The game was never closer than eight, and the Heat lead most of the fourth quarter by double figures. The Hawks eventually waived the white flag with two minutes left. The Hawks started out on fire from downtown, but cooled down and eventually ended the game 9-28 from downtown. Meanwhile Wade went 11-13 from the field.
The HEAT won the game 101-92 and improved to 14-5.
MVP: LeBron James
LeBron James really started going off when he got a few fast break buckets including a Norris Cole alley oop. He ended the game with 27 points 7 boards and 6 assists.
Stat of the Game: 24
LeBron set a Miami HEAT record (formerly held by Dwyane Wade) with his 24th straight game of 20+points.
The HEAT host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, 7:30 at American Airlines Arena.