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Heat score franchise playoff low 64 points in Game 1 loss to Atlanta

D-Wade got the game off to a great start, poking the opening tip away from the Hawks to Mario Chalmers, then getting a wide open jam off a screen to open the scoring.  It was exciting, and after all the buildup leading up to the Heat's first playoff game in two years, it was a great way to get started.  Unfortunately the 2-0 lead would be the largest the Heat would hold in Game 1.  They also led 21-20 before the game completely turned on them.

It seems like both teams were very jittery at the beginning, making ‘questionable’ plays and trying to force things that just weren’t there, like Mario Chalmers looking for a Wade ally-oop and throwing the ball 2 rows into the seats behind the basket.

Miami’s 3 turnovers in the first 2+ minutes had me cringing.  But they would quickly settle down on offense and hit back-to-back three’s (James Jones and D-Wade).  Wade was definitely looking to make a statement early, already having taken six shots half way through the first quarter, including three from beyond the arc.  Unfortunately this was just a glimpse of what we’d see for the remainder of the game. 

Michael Beasley made an early appearance, checking in for Jermaine O’Neal just 5 minutes into the game.  He would start off defending Josh Smith.  His jumper wasn’t automatic as it usually is, starting off just 1-of-4 including a wide open three.  The game wouldn’t get any better for Beasley, finishing up just 5-for-15 from the field and 0-for-2 from 3-land.  He did grab 10 rebounds, making it the worst double double of his young career. 


With the Heat down by 8, D-Wade came back into the game just 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter, and the momentum instantly changed in Miami’s favor.  Wade immediately drove through the Hawks D for an easy layup, leading to five straight points for the Heat and shrinking Atlanta’s lead to 3. That would be the extent of it…Atlanta quickly fought back, going on a 7-0 run that included 4 points off 2 Heat turnovers.  D-Wade missed a layup and fouled Josh Smith going after the rebound (which was the Heat’s 5th team foul just 4:29 into the quarter), then on their next inbound pass, they couldn’t handle the Hawks press and Daequan Cook threw it right to Marvin Williams, who was then quickly fouled by Cook. Atlanta closed the quarter outscoring Miami 29-12 and took a 20-point lead into the half.

Wade took his first free throws with 3:24 left in the 1st half, making only the first one.  It was amazingly obvious how much Wade was trying to do everything himself, forcing the issue instead of simply letting the game come to him.  He had six turnovers in the first half, often trying to make an extra move or do something fancy. 

Coming out of the half Miami should have been ready to roll and make up for that disgusting 2nd quarter.  Instead they were called for a 24-second violation on their first offensive possession, and it wasn’t even close, with no shot being attempted.  The Hawks continued to look as though they could do whatever they wanted, scoring at will…while Miami was just stagnant on offense, unable to get anything positive going.

Mid-way through the 3rd quarter in the midst of a couple more Heat turnovers, the message I was getting from the Heat’s body language was that they were giving up.  There was no hustle going on and nobody was executing worth a damn.  One thing that was interesting, after D-Wade gave away his 8th turnover, he didn’t touch the ball at all on the Heat next three offensive possessions.  

Miami finally cracked 50 points on a Michael Beasley layup that made the score 74-51 with 3:29 left in the 3rd quarter.  That bucket was part of an 8-2 run by Miami, who got within 20 points for the first time since the 2nd quarter.  It would be the last ‘run’ the Heat would go on, with the Hawks keeping the lead greater then 20 for the majority of the 2nd half.   

As the 4th quarter wore down, the Hawks were backing off more and more on defense as it became apparent that the Heat just couldn’t score.  They put up clankers, airballs and everything in between. Miami went almost ten full minutes without scoring and had a total of two 4th quarter points until Jamario Moon hit a jumper with 2:35 left.  The Heat scored just 7 points in the 4th quarter, which was the perfect amount to reflect they effort they put fourth. 


Moon spent way too much time on the bench tonight.  He played a little more then 2 minutes in the 1st half, then was left on the bench for a couple hours before finally coming back in with 4:43 left in the game and the Heat down 23.  He’d then hit his two shot attempts, one from beyond.  I think Moon is the best candidate to play against the athletic Hawks because he is fast and has those long limbs which get in passing lanes and can slow guys up that all-important split-second. 

Dwyane Wade waited until there was just 1:44 left in the 3rd quarter before finally getting on the score sheet in the 2nd half.  He finished with 19 points on 8-for-21 shooting and only 2-of-4 from the foul line.  That’s a real good job by the Hawks to keep Wade off the line.  He finished with 8 turnovers and just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Mario Chalmers left the game in the 4th quarter after turning his foot/ankle while closing out on defense.  Some would say he was lucky to get out of the game…He wasn’t particularly good anyway, and my clearest memory of Chalmers from game 1 is him missing several open 3’s.

On a national stage, Coach Spoelstra completely dropped the ball with the Heat’s rotation.  He seemed to go into the game with the idea that he would let Atlanta dictate the kind of lineup to use.  We can only hope that Pat Riley sits Spo down sometime before Wednesday and explains to him that he must use his players in ways that he knows can bring success, not just try and match whatever odd combo the Hawks put out there.  

He needs to find a way to get Jamaal Magloire in the game.  He can be very effective in the paint banging around with Atlanta’s big guys, and had been playing great the past few weeks.  Meanwhile, Jermaine O’Neal grabbed 1 rebound in each half. 

Michael Beasley did get some minutes at small forward in the 2nd quarter, when he was lined up next to Jermaine O’Neal and Udonis Haslem.  Beasley did a good job with Marvin Williams and we’ll see how much Coach Spo tinkers with his new option.

Daequan Cook played with a protective sleeve on his right shoulder, and looked a tad off.  Then he fired up an airball in the 4th quarter and I began to worry…

The 64 points scored by the Heat is the lowest ever for a playoff game in their franchise history. 

Just some final stats:  Miami went 4-for-23 from beyond the arc.  They were out-rebounded 50-35 and had only 12 assists.