Who?: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat
What?: Heat win 101-92, extended Division lead to 1.5 games
Where?: AmericanAirlines Arena (Miami, FL)
When?: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012
How?: Dwayne Wade & LeBron James. Enough said.
The 12-5 Atlanta Hawks faced off against the 13-5 Miami Heat in a battle for the Southeast Division lead.
The final was 101-92 but the second half made it seem not nearly as close. There was no answer for Lebron, who repeatedly got to the rim with ease, and Wade who was on fire from midrange, going 6-7 from outside the paint.
The first half was thoroughly entertaining, with crisp ball movement from both teams and many long bombs. The teams combined for 13-27 from three point land and for 110 first half points. Lebron James was was 7-10 in the first half for 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and finished with a 27 point, 7 rebound, and 6 assist line. Chris Bosh threw in a quiet double double but got burned on the defensive end, letting Al Horford establish great position in the paint for easy lay-ins.
The Heat shot 63.9% in the first half including 26 points in the paint, compared to the Hawks mark of 46.3% and 14 points in the paint. The final margin was 58% to 43%. The Heat left points at the free throw line however, going only 4-9 in the first half and 14-22 overall, or the lead would have been larger.
The Hawks have been one of the worst teams at getting to the free throw line in this young season, so finishing the game 19-20 at the line is very promising, despite the game result. The second half from behind the arc was a different story, as the Hawks finished 2-13 from long range in the second half.
DeShawn Stevenson took 7 shots in the first half, all three pointers, nailing 4 of them, but went 0-4 in the second half, also from behind the arc. It was the product of good ball movement in order to get him open, but the shots simply were not falling for Stevenson, a career 34.1% three point shooter.
Josh Smith was 1-8 on two point shots in the first half but 3-3 from three. He finished 7-18 and 4-5 from beyond the arc, but it was clear most of his energy was spent on trying to slow down the reigning MVP Lebron James.
The Hawks started the second half cold, coming out of the locker rooms shooting 1-8. The Heat jumped out to a 10 point lead midway through the third quarter and the Hawks could never make it close from that point on.
Larry Drew shortened his rotation for this game, only bringing Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, and Zaza Pachulia off the bench until some garbage time minute for Johan Petro, Anthony Tolliver and John Jenkins.
The Hawks were virtually tied in every area with the Heat, rebounds (32-32), turnovers (14-14), and steals (10-8), except for the shooting percentages. The Heat’s big three put on a display, combining for 27-40 for 67.5% shooting.
The Heat take a 1.5 game lead in the Southeast Division and bump their record to 14-5 while the Hawks fall to 12-6. Next game is in Orlando on Wednesday at 7 PM.
Points: LeBron James (27)
Rebounds: Al Horford (11)
Assists: Josh Smith & LeBron James (6)
Steals: Seven tied with (2)
Blocks: Joel Anthony (2)
Game Grades: Each player is given a grade on an A+ through F scale based upon their game performance.
Jeff Teague: D
Teague continues to struggle with his shot, converting just 3 of his 10 attempts. He’s now shooting 35 percent over the last five games. Headlined by the fact he had more attempts than points last week. Finishing with 41 points on 51 shots. He finished with 11 points, 3 assists to his 5 turnovers and 3 rebounds. If you’re feeling depressed at this point, you can hold onto the fact he had two steals. I guess.
Devin Harris: F
Five personal fouls, four missed threes, 2 rebounds and a lonely steal. It’s like the twelve days of Christmas on how to get an F. I realize there was no three in there. But it seemed appropriate considering.
DeShawn Stevenson: C
Stevenson took 11 threes. No, that’s not a typo. Eleven. Threes. Granted he was open for most of them. Although, at some point you’d think he might realize he’s open for a reason. Fortunately, he did knock down four of them on his way to 12 points. That was about all he contributed. Unless you consider mediocre defense something to get riled up about.
Josh Smith: B
Josh Smith was 4-5 from beyond the arc. Although it’s bittersweet performance in it’s own right. Because for the next few games we all know he’ll launching threes in transition, thinking he’s Shuttlesworth. But it is what it is. Anomaly or not. That said, it was a decent game for Smith. We saw some versatility offensively, as he frequently looked to finish with running hooks with his back to the basket. And he looked engaged for the majority of the game. At least more so than his stat line would read. He only finished with 3 rebounds, but also notched 6 assists. Which was essentially the story of this game and his season so far. Tremendous in one area, dreadful in another.
Al Horford: A
Horford not only be a pillar of consistency for the Hawks, but continues to make some serious noise in for his All-Star campaign. He notched his sixth consecutive double-double and showed yet again that Atlanta performs better when the offense is being run through him. Horford finished the night with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 2 steals. He also shot 8-14 from the field.
Lou Williams: B-
11 points, 4 assists, 2 steals and he knocked down all five attempts at the charity stripe. The Hawks actually shot 95 percent(19-20) from the line as a whole. Something certainly worth noting. Lou didn’t have the most efficient game shooting wise, as he went 3-8 and missed all three attempts from downtown. But who cares, it’s Lou Williams. He’ll probably drop 20 next game.. right?
Anthony Morrow: C+
Sample size performance with 16 minutes, but he was effective with it nonetheless. Went 3-4 for 6 points and had a swipe.
Zaza Pachulia: D
Three rebounds, one assist. Decidely Un-Zaza. The one assist was actually pretty nice though.
Plays of the Game
Player of the Game
D.Wade had the best shooting performance of his NBA career on Monday against the Hawks, hitting 11-of-13 shots overall — that’s 84.6 % for you Liberal Arts majors out there. Hats off to you, Dwyane.
The Hawks wrap up their 3-game road trip against the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday, 12/12.