[Miami, FL] After blowing out the New Jersey Nets by 30 points, the Miami Heat were eager to give the Atlanta Hawks a taste of that good stuff. After all, the last time the Hawks and Heat met, Atlanta reigned supreme 100-92.
That game was close throughout, with both teams battling back and forth, but the Hawks eventually pulled away at the end. This game also had a post-season feel as well.
In the first quarter, LeBron James dominated. He scored 11 points and dished out 2 assists. For the Hawks, Josh Smith was the one doing the damage. Smith scored 10 points and reeled in a couple of rebounds. At the end of one, the Heat were up 25-22.
The Atlanta Hawks fought back and took the lead in the second, with Jeff Teague and Jerry Stackhouse combining to score 13 points in that effort. The Hawks were coming on strong and consequently went into the locker room at halftime up 45-43.
Both teams were fighting hard in the third quarter. Dwyane Wade and James took over for the Miami Heat, with Wade scoring 10 points and passing out a few assists. Meanwhile, LeBron also poured in 10 points.
On the Hawks side of the ball, it was Smith and Marvin Williams playing great, combining to score 13 points and matching the Heat bucket for bucket. At the end of the third, the score was tied at 68.
Miami Heat forward LeBron James pulls up for a jumper
At the start of the fourth, it was obvious that both teams came to play, both on the defensive side and the offensive side. With around 6 minutes left, it actually looked like the Heat could pull away. But Teague came back and hit 3 straight shots to tie up the game.
Udonis Haslem was clutch tonight – in the final minute he scored 4 points to put the Hawks away. When it was over, the scoreboard read Heat 89, Hawks 86.
The Heat have now won 11 straight home games. LeBron James had a double-double, scoring 31 points and pulling in 11 rebounds. Dwyane Wade scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds.
“That was ugly there for a while,” Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We certainly weren’t in a great flow offensively, but we were able to push through, grind out the game and make the finishing plays.”
And what about Haslem there at the end?
“We know U.D. is a champion, where he helps you win,” Spoelstra said. “More often than not, he just makes winning plays.”
Next up for the Miami Heat: Saturday vs. Pacers, Tuesday @ Magic, Wednesday @ Bulls.
By: Michael Tristani II/Sunshine Slate
Images: Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images