Heat 101, Hawks 92

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade lead Miami Heat in win over Hawks

 

A record score

LeBron James set a Heat mark for the most consecutive games with 20 or more points:

PLAYER GAMES DATES
LeBron James 24 4/15/12 – present
Dwyane Wade 23 3/20/09 – 11/17/09
Dwyane Wade 21 1/30/09 – 3/14/09
Dwyane Wade 20 1/7/07 – 2/21/07
LeBron James 15 10/31/10 – 11/29/10


grichards@MiamiHerald.com

Winning the Southeast Division doesn’t mean as much to the Heat as it does to the Florida Panthers.

In Miami, after all, there’s only so much room in the rafters. A division championship doesn’t even get its own spot as the team puts multiple division titles on shared banners.

Perhaps that’s why Monday night’s division battle between the Heat and visiting Hawks didn’t have much hype to live up to. Regardless of the interest, or lack thereof, in a game pitting the two top teams in the Southeast, Miami still put on a show in its 101-92 win over Atlanta at AmericanAirlines Arena.

With the win, the Heat moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Hawks in the Southeast Division and improved to 10-1 at home.

“I don’t think a bunch of people were saying, ‘This is a Southeast Division headliner,’ ” Heat forward Chris Bosh joked afterward.

“It was a big game for us, we want to win it. But we’re second in the East. So there’s always work to do. If they continue to play the way they are and so do we, it will be a bigger game. … The division is cool, but I’m a big-picture guy.”

It could have been a mundane Monday for the Heat what with all the empty seats in the lower bowl early on.

Yet that wasn’t the case as LeBron James had more than his share of highlight plays, which led to 27 points. Dwyane Wade was a career-best 11 of 13 from the field and finished with 26 points.

James and Wade combined to hit 21 of 29 shots.

“If those guys can shoot that efficiently, it’s probably pretty tough to beat us in our building,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team has won five in a row against Atlanta, including a six-point win at Philips Arena on Nov. 9.

The Heat, which has won its division nine times since 1997 and has three banners to represent all of them, played a close game in the first half.

Miami needed a runner by James at the buzzer for a two-point lead after one; James’ layup and free throw kept it that way heading into halftime.

“We need to work on our starts a little,” said Bosh, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. “We have to get off to better starts in the first half. Once we get a feel for what they are doing, do a better job communicating, you see the potential of this team this year. We know what we have to do on defense. We just need to be consistent. Playing off misses and we’re very hard to beat. We need to keep that mentality.”

Miami (14-5) pulled away from the Hawks (12-6) in the third as James, Wade and Shane Battier (two three-pointers off fastball passes from James) had the building buzzing.

The Heat outscored Atlanta by eight in the third quarter with Wade getting 10 of his 26 points during that stretch.

“There’s going to be ebb and flow coming off knee surgery,” Wade said of his past two games in which he scored 26 points in each of Miami’s home wins after a lopsided loss to the Knicks.

“Some nights you shoot 11 for 13, other nights you go 3 for 13. The key is continuing to be aggressive and take your shots.’’

Miami went on a 10-2 run in the middle of the third with James, Wade and Battier scoring all of Miami’s points from the field. Ray Allen chipped in with a free throw off a technical to give Miami a 77-67 lead with two minutes left in the third.

After that, Miami wasn’t really threatened.

“We were able to pull away against a good team here at home,” Spoelstra said. “It was a good win, and we’ll move on. That’s a good team, and they came in playing the way they have been. They played extremely well in the first half.”

The Heat seemed to enjoy the fourth quarter — or at least the final moments of it — as Wade and Josh Smith traded words after Wade hit a long jumper.

Not long afterward, Norris Cole found Wade alone under the basket for an easy dunk to give Miami a 14-point lead.

“Obviously, I work on my shot but the biggest thing is making them,” Wade said. “Some nights it goes and some times it doesn’t. But you have to have the confidence to take them. I’m not the all-time leading scorer around here for nothing.

“Enjoy it while it lasts. Because it goes fast.”

Read more Top Sports Stories stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond reacts furiously after the safe call at the plate by the umpire in the eight inning during their game against the Cincinnati Reds at Marlins Park in Miami on July 31, 2014.

    Reds 3, Marlins 1

    Miami Marlins doomed by errors, controversial call in loss to Cincinnati Reds

    It took Major League Baseball's replay review committee in New York a six-minute, 10-second eternity Thursday night to decide if Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis had blocked Zack Cozart's path to the plate. It took Marlins' skipper Mike Redmond far less to lose his mind.

  •  
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice answers question during a news conference after NFL football training camp practice in Owings Mills, Md. on July 31, 2014.

    In My Opinion | David J. Neal

    David J. Neal: NFL fumbled on Ray Rice punishment, then tried to justify it

    Baltimore Ravins running back Ray Rice spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since security camera video and NFL discipline transformed him into the latest domestic violence national talking point. Rice occasionally came off as self-centered. He also indulged in some self-victimization. Generally, however, he seemed seriously ashamed of the actions toward his wife in February that got him charged with felony aggravated assault.

  •  
Joey Grosso was added to the UM football 105-man roster Tuesday and died Wednesday while scuba diving during lobster miniseason.

    UM FOOTBALL

    Man who died scuba diving was added to Miami Hurricanes roster a day earlier

    Joey Grosso, the 22-year-old Lighthouse Point resident and former Penn linebacker who died Wednesday while scuba diving on the first day of lobster mini-season, had been added to the 105-man Miami Hurricanes football roster Tuesday, UM confirmed Thursday.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category