How do the Hawks measure up against the Heat?
Very well it turns out.
The Hawks went toe-to-toe with the defending NBA champions in a back-and-forth, thoroughly entertaining contest Friday night at Philips Arena. In the end, LeBron James hit a jumper with 13.7 seconds remaining as the Heat won 95-89 over the Hawks.
Al Horford missed a contested shot alley-oop dunk attempt, after a timeout, and a jumper down the stretch for the Hawks. Ray Allen hit a pair of free throws to seal the win.
The Heat played without a key piece of their Big Three as Dywane Wade missed the game due to a cold.
“We don’t want any moral victories,” said Anthony Morrow, who came off the bench with 17 points. “We know what we need to get better at. We know the things we did well tonight. We will continue to work on the things we need to work on and execute down the stretch.”
The Heat opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run to take a nine-point lead, 82-73. The Hawks staged another comeback, something that is becoming a trademark early in the season. They went on a 14-3 run to regain the lead that was punctuated by two straight 3-pointers from Jeff Teague. The second, with 4:02 remaining, tied the game at 85-85 and sent the home crowd into a frenzy. After a defensive stop, Horford drove past Chris Bosh for a layup and gave the Hawks’ first lead since late in the third quarter.
Kyle Korver could have extended the lead. He missed a fast-break layup and after getting his rebound appeared to be pushed out of bounds. However, the Heat were awarded the ball.
“They called out of bounds on me,” Korver said. “I missed the layup first of all. I shouldn’t have been in that situation. I’ve got to finish that. There was a scramble. I was off balance. I thought I got pushed in the back but they felt otherwise.”
Allen put the Heat up by two, 91-89, on a short jump with 1:21 remaining. They took the lead into the final minute when Josh Smith missed two free throws with 1:05 left.
“Not an excuse,” Smith said about expending energy having to guard James for much of the game. “I have to be better offensively for this ball club. As a leader I have to be more efficient. I have to be better at the free-throw line. I apologized to all my teammates because that was just a poor effort offensively by me. I mean it is a tough task to give energy on both ends of the court but I have to be more efficient. And I will be more efficient.”
Smith finished with 13 points but was 6-for-19 from the field and 1-for-5 from the free-throw line. He added eight rebounds. Teague led the Hawks (2-2) with 20 points. Korver (11) and Horford (10) were the other double-digit scorers.
Bosh finished with a game-high 24 points for the Heat (5-1), who have won four straight and four overall against the Hawks. James added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was a very hard-fought game,” Drew said. “It really was. I thought my guys came out and really competed at a very high level. We played good in spurts, and again we showed some resilience, particularly when we got down by nine points in the fourth quarter. …
“But this game is about making plays down the stretch and we didn’t come up with enough plays down the stretch. They did, and they came up with the win.”
The Heat took a one-point lead, 72-71, into the decisive final quarter. They outscored the Hawks 18-2 in points in the paint – an important stat for both teams coming into the game.
The Hawks took a 46-42 lead into intermission thanks to Morrow. He scored the first seven points of the second quarter for the Hawks. Morrow had 12 points, including two 3-pointers, in the first half off the bench.
Smith had nine first-half points before leaving with a few seconds remaining before halftime after taking a charge from James. He said he suffered a bruised knee and expected to be sore Saturday when the Hawks leave on a four-game west coast road trip.
“We fought back against a great Miami team,” Smith said. We’re going to be good. We’re going to be going to be good and I’m going to be better.”
- Chris Vivlamore