7:30 PM ET, December 4, 2010
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
Chris Bosh pours in 27 points, grabs 10 rebounds as Miami tops Atlanta
MIAMI -- LeBron James' new fan base in Miami had a response.
So did his teammates.
Chris Bosh scored 27 points, Dwyane Wade added 26 and the Miami Heat scored 11 straight points in the final minutes to beat the Atlanta Hawks 89-77 on Saturday night -- winning their fourth straight to move a season-high five games over .500.
• Miami tied its season-high win streak with its fourth win in a row. The Heat have won each of their games during the streak by an average margin of 19.0 points.
• Chris Bosh (27 points), Dwyane Wade (26 points) and LeBron James (22 points) combined for 84.3 percent of Miami's points.
• James attempted 13 free throws, one more than the Hawks team.
• The loss ended Atlanta's five-game winning streak.
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"It's just a better feel in the locker room, away from the game, but also on the basketball court," Wade said. "We're starting to 'get it' with each other. ... It's making a world of difference."
James was quiet offensively for much of the second half, and it didn't matter. He finished with 22 points, and got serenaded by "Miami loves you!" chants -- a nod to the "Akron hates you!" cries James heard when Miami visited Cleveland for the first time since he scorned the Cavaliers and joined the Heat in July.
Wade and Bosh did their part to keep the Hawks at bay, and then the reigning two-time MVP got his first field goal of the second half with 2:52 remaining -- a fierce slam, followed by a scream, all giving Miami an 81-72 lead. Mario Chalmers hit an off-balance jumper with 1:38 left, the lead was back to 11, and Miami survived.
"We're figuring it out," James said. "We're figuring out what it takes for us three to be successful, and to have the team win."
Wade and Bosh each had 10 rebounds for the Heat (13-8), whose lead was cut to two at 74-72 with 4:39 remaining. Atlanta then missed its next six shots and Miami ran away.
"They're a tough team," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "Anytime you have three guys that can potentially be 20-plus every night, you got your hands full."
Only a week ago, the Heat were reeling, calling a 40-minute players-only meeting after a loss in Dallas sent a team with championship aspirations to 9-8.
Four straight wins later, that all seems a distant memory.
Bosh the No. 1 option, at least for a night
When Chris Bosh is the third-best player on your roster, and he plays like he did to lead Miami past the Hawks, there's a reason to believe the Heat are just warming up, writes Michael Wallace. Story
"If you don't break from crises, conflict, adversity, those moments make you stronger," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And we didn't cave in."
Al Horford scored 22 points on 10-for-11 shooting and Atlanta, which had its five-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the third time in 10 road games. Jamal Crawford and Josh Powell scored 12 points apiece for the Hawks, Josh Smith had 11, and Mike Bibby 10.
James drove the middle of the lane on a fast break with 1:22 left, getting knocked to the court by Horford. He bounced back up, a theme of the night for Miami, which found itself on the ropes after running out to a big first-half lead.
The Heat were just 1-6 against teams that held winning records coming into the day, and that stat looked on the verge of getting worse in the final minute, until Miami went on its game-sealing run. Wade had an off-balance layup to make it 79-72, and the Heat kept going from there.
"There was a look in the guys' eyes, that we needed to be aggressive at both ends of the court," Spoelstra said. "Probably more than anything, we made some real defensive stands."
The Heat led by 17 on two occasions in the first half, the second coming after James' free throws with 3:49 left put Miami up 46-29. There have been times this season where big early leads just get bigger -- and times when they quickly disappear.
This was a disappearing act.
Atlanta trailed by 18 on Friday before beating Philadelphia, and turned what looked like a Miami runaway into anything but with an inspired third quarter. It just wasn't enough.
The defending champs are trying to three-peat. The Heat Index.
"It is disappointing but I'm proud of the way the guys hung in there," Horford said. "We were down big in the first half but we kept fighting. We just couldn't pull it off tonight."
Down 50-36 at the half, Atlanta opened the third quarter with an 8-2 run. Horford had six of those points, all coming in a span of just over 2 minutes, and the Hawks kept chipping away from there.
Horford finished 6 for 6 in the quarter, pushing him to 9 of 10 in the game to that point.
Miami built the lead back to 10 on four separate possessions of the third, and Atlanta remained undeterred. The Hawks closed the quarter as they started it -- on another 8-2 run -- and Crawford hit two jumpers in the final 56.2 seconds of the period to trim Miami's lead to 63-61 entering the fourth.
The Heat shot 6 of 19 in the third, and James missed all three of his from the field during the quarter. But Miami never lost the lead in the fourth, buoyed nicely by the run -- and an emotional lift from Bosh, who got a huge roar from the crowd when he looked toward the stands and gave a scream after drawing a foul.
"We got the crowd into it," Bosh said, "and we won the game."
James knocked over two seated courtside cameramen in the second quarter. Each of the photographers grabbed one of James' outstretched arms after the play, and he pulled them back upright. ... Damien Wilkins, the son of former NBA player Gerald Wilkins and the nephew of Hall of Famer and former Atlanta star Dominique Wilkins, made his Hawks debut. He was signed Friday and was scoreless in 13 minutes. ... Wade reached the 10-rebound mark for the third time this season.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||32-80 (.400)||34-72 (.472)|
|3PM-3PA||5-17 (.294)||3-8 (.375)|
|FTM-FTA||8-12 (.667)||18-23 (.783)|
|Fast Break Points||9||23|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (1/0)||16 (0/0)|
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ESPN Stats & Information