LeBron James scores 43 as Heat dominate in Atlanta

For a team that hadn't played a game on the road in two weeks, the Heat certainly looked right at home as they ran the Atlanta Hawks right out of their own building in a game that wasn't as close as the 106-85 score would indicate.  This game began with some tough defense being played by both teams, but it was the Hawks that jumped out to an early 7-2 lead.  The Heat would rebound from the tough start, both figuratively and literally, out-rebounding Atlanta early on and closing the quarter on a 15-6 run that took them from down by 5 to up by 4.

LeBron James made all 6 of his shots in the 1st quarter, scoring 13 of Miami's 25 points as they took a 4 point lead into the 2nd.  That would get built on early with the Heat scoring the first 7 points of the quarter, and that turned into Miami going on a 17-5 run to open the period, giving them a 16 point lead.  The only guy who didn't really get involved was Dwyane Wade, but his services weren't really needed in a dominant opening half for Miami.

They shot 58% in the first two quarters, assisting on 15 of their 19 field goals.  The Heat also out-rebounded Atlanta 24 to 13.  LeBron James ended up going a perfect 8-for-8 in the opening half as he and Chris Bosh combined to score 33 of Miami's 50 points.  It didn't take LeBron long to miss a shot once the 3rd quarter began though, missing an open trey in the first minute.

James would immediately hit his next jumper, and then Dwyane Wade followed it up with a pair of back-to-back triples that changed his game scoring total from 5 to 11. Not to be outdone, LeBron came back with a vengeance, hitting 4 straight shots for the Heat, 3 coming from downtown.  It was a 17-1 run for Miami that ballooned their lead over the Hawks to 28. 

The last triple by LeBron was a milestone shot for him because it brought his career points total to 17,002, making him the youngest player in NBA history to reach 17,000 points.  He did it while making the fans inside Phillips Arena ooh and aah over the insanity of his offense.  D-Wade tried to keep up, and after he hit a trey with about 4 minutes left in the 3rd, both he and LeBron had put down three 3-pointers in the quarter. 

James ended up scoring 23 points in that ridiculous 3rd quarter, and the Heat took a 29-point lead into the final quarter of a game that was well over.  LeBron finished with 43 points on 16-of-21 shooting in just 31 minutes, as he would watch the 4th quarter from the bench.  James Jones would fill in nicely for the King, scoring 8 points including a pair of triples.

GAME NOTES

  • The 16-for-21 shooting night, good for 76.2%, is a career best for LeBron. 
  • D-Wade and LeBron had great games from downtown, as James hit 5-of-7 and Wade went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. 
  • Miami out rebounded the Hawks 50 to 27.  The Heat is now 32-5 when they grab more rebounds then their opponent. 
  • Chris Bosh finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his 4th straight double double. 
  • The Heat centers did a great job rebounding the ball.  Magloire played 17 min, Dampier played 16 and Joel played 15 and the three combined for 20 boards. 
  • Would you believe that of the three centers, Joel Anthony led them in points with 6?  Damp and Magloire had 4 points each. 
  • Miami once again used 12 players, and their bench continues to put up points, accounting for 28 of the Heat's 106.
  • Mario Chalmers left the game in the 3rd quarter after taking a Josh Smith elbow to the neck.  He didn't return to action but was on the bench and seemed to be fine.

One of the best things about the Heat's win last night was that they were able to rest their starters during the 4th quarter.  Miami has a very tough home game tonight against the Denver Nuggets

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