LeBron James scored a season-low 13 points, Dwyane Wade sat out to rest his knees, and yet the Heat still beat the Atlanta Hawks by 16 points in Miami on Tuesday.
Chris Bosh was the man for Miami as he dropped 19 points on a near perfect shooting performance going eight-of-nine from the field. Bosh added five rebounds, four assists, one block and one steal in 25 minutes of action to help the Heat win 104-88 in a game that had first place implications on the line.
Ray Allen returned to action after sitting out Miami’s previous two contests due to an illness, and appeared to be back to normal by scoring 17 points off the bench — two points shy of his season-high. He scored the Heat’s first 12 points of the fourth quarter. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers scored 12 of his 14 total points in the third quarter, which included a personal 9-0 run against Atlanta, while also dropping three timely 3-pointers with each one extending Miami’s lead to double-digits. James Jones started in place of Wade and finished with seven points.
Atlanta (6-5) came into the last night’s matchup only one game behind the defending champs in the Southeast division, and could have moved into a first place tie with Miami (8-3) if they were able to steal a win on the road. However, there’s a reason why the Heat are back-to-back reigning defending champs — they’re really, really good.
Mike Scott led Atlanta with 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while Al Horford and Pero Antic each scored 12. Horford had a rough game by committing a career-high seven turnovers.
The Hawks had more turnover (24) than assists (22).
The game was close for the first three quarters, and Atlanta actually had a 25-24 lead over Miami after the first period. However, the Heat came back and went up 48-45 by halftime, and extended the advantage to 78-68 after the third quarter. Miami broke the game open in the fourth and cruised down the stretch for a 104-88 victory.
With the win, the Heat have now won eight straight games over the Hawks dating back to the 2011-12 season.
They’ll try and rebound at home Wednesday night when Atlanta’s native son Josh Smith returns to Philips Arena for the first time since he and the Hawks parted ways in free agency.