[caption id="attachment_3405" align="aligncenter" width="429" caption="Winning sure is Fun"]
- It’s time to bring out the cheese and say it: the Miami Heat is heating up! The enduring flame was sparked at the players only meeting and fiery it remained as the Heat extinguished the Hawks and extended the winning streak to four.
- The fire was apparent from the start as the Heat began pushing the ball, creating fast break opportunities, foul trouble for the opponent and a 14-2 run to start the game. The public cries for more running continue and the unstoppable LeBron James drives are only adding fuel to the pace debate.
- A battle of national security ensued with Miami coming in 1st in Fewest Turnovers per Game and Atlanta a close 2nd. The Heat remained cautious with the ball, finishing with 10 turnovers to the Hawks 13 and keeping the title of safest team in the NBA so far this season. Hawks have now dropped to 5th.
- The notion of athleticism compensating for any shortcomings was in full force. A suffocating combination of speed, playing the passing lanes, weak side blocks and perfect defensive rotations held the Hawks to a 36 point 1st half on 35% shooting.
- The Hawks returned the favor in the 3rd quarter outscoring the Heat 25-13. Al Horford led with 14 points that quarter, one more than the entire Heat team.
- Hawks’ coach Larry Drew was curiously hesitant to use size against the height-deficient Heat. Zaza Pachulia entered the game and immediately gave Joel Anthony trouble, drawing two quick fouls from the 6-9 center and causing coach Spoelstra to summon Erick "The Body" Dampier. Zaza was nullified and played 5 total minutes in the game.
- One of the reasons Michael Jordan was one of the biggest offensive threats of all time was his complete arsenal of scoring methods. MJ could drive, shoot the three and most importantly, be an efficient threat in the post. LeBron has been sporadically featured in the post and now it was Wade’s turn. Wade posted Jamaal Crawford with relative ease, using his strength and quickness to overcome him, draw the foul or draw attention from defenders leaving teammates open. The day LeBron and Wade add a decent post-up game to their skill set might be the day the word "unstoppable" can be confidently thrown around when speaking of the Miami Heat.
- Mario Chalmers’ ambiguous recovery time for the ankle sprain has finally come to an end. Fitting what the LeBron-Wade duo require alongside their skill set, Mario flourished with his increased minutes hitting open shots, handling the ball with confidence, and contributing all around. Mario finished with a solid 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in 27 minutes of play. Most encouraging was his increased role in the fourth quarter, showing trust from coach Spoelstra.
- In a fitting and lovingly warm welcome back to South Beach, the crowd at AAA collectively started a "Mi-ami-loves-you!" chant as LeBron stepped up to the line to shoot free throws. Whether Cleveland hates LeBron more than Miami loves him is still to be determined.
- The rebound war can be clearly won when facing teams of similar length up front. The Miami Heat out-rebounded the Hawks 43-38 with Bosh and Wade gathering 10 rebounds each.
- Does Dwyane Wade play tennis? After an unlucky bounce caused the ball to seemingly escape out of bounds, Wade did his best Roger Federer impersonation by saving the possession and throwing the ball between his legs to a teammate. Dwyane never ceases to amaze.
- The Bosh-Wade-James trio accounted for 75 of the starters 77 total points for the game, justifying the Big Three moniker. If one takes into account the trio were responsible for 87% of the Heat’s 89 total points in the game, either the nickname needs to change to Literally-Eighty-Seven-Percent-of-the-Team or the Hawks need a better defensive game plan.
- Another impressive performance from the boys of South Beach with LeBron, Wade and Bosh all in double figures, efficiently taking turns at bruising the opponent until it can no longer stand. The sublime vision of possibilities is being slowly cultivated and consistency will be the most important ingredient.