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Daequan Cook comes alive; Heat win by 18 in Atlanta

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The first quarter went by really quickly as both teams got plenty of chances.  The Heat had no problem chucking up three early treys, missing each one, which is starting to feel like wasted possessions.  Seriously, can we please stop forcing up all these triples?  The Hawks took a 7-point lead after the 1st quarter, with no Heat player stepping up offensively.  Wade shot just 1-for-5 in the opening quarter. 

It was all Heat when the 2nd quarter started, and they were led by the great Udonis Haslem.  Miami scored the first 11 points of the quarter, with Haslem scoring 8 straight in that stretch.  As the quarter winded down, I got quite pissed off when Mike Beasley was T-ed up after reacting to getting slapped in the face by Josh Smith while going after a rebound. 

It was pretty freaking clear what happened, and while the young Beasley probably shouldn't have acted out the way he did, I'm sure the Heat have taken notice to the crap that the Hawks have gotten away with over the past couple years when these teams play each other.  Phantom calls are ‘part of the game', I get that, and maybe its just my hatred towards the Hawks coming out, but I certainly notice there are many more calls going the way of the home team whenever the Heat visit Phillips Arena. 

When the 2nd half started, the Heat was trying to keep their slim lead going when they did something that really pissed me off.  In like a 2 minute span the Heat missed three (3) wide open triples.  Wasted offensive possessions for a team that quite frankly sucks at three-point shooting.  Just because they have one game every week or two where they hit like 9-of-15, that doesn't mean they should be chucking them up 15-20 times on a gamely basis.  

Daequan Cook drilled a jumper to put the Heat up by 5 late in the 3rd, then on the Heat's next possession Dae Dae chucked up a forced, ugly trey that airballed right past the rim.  Luckily, Udonis Haslem was standing right there and put back Cook's brick.  Miami closed the 3rd on a little 7-2 run and took a 3-point lead into the final quarter.   

After the Hawks caught up and tied the game at 71, Daequan Cook did something that he hadn't done in a very long time.  He hit a big trey to put the Heat up 3, then came right back on the next possession and drilled another 3-pointer!  THAT is the kind of quick scoring threat that the Heat have been missing.  Oh, and then Cook came back and hit another J, and so did Arroyo, and just like that Miami scored 10 straight points. 

Miami turned up the defensive intensity, giving Atlanta absolutely zero easy looks.  That turned into the Hawks missing 10 of 11 shots and the Heat outscoring them 16-3 late in the game.  The dagger came from Daequan, hitting his third triple of the quarter to put the Heat up 14 with under 2 minutes left.  That would be the cue for the fat lady, with Miami dropping the Hawks to 21-6 at home; still the best home record in the East, but its damn nice for Miami to get a big win in a very tough building to travel to. 

The story of the night is pretty obvious.  Daequan Cook came alive in the 4th quarter, doing more for his team in those 12 minutes then he has probably all season.  He shot 5-of-6 in the quarter, making all three of his 3-point attempts.  He played well against the Rockets after having what some said was his best practice of the season on Monday, then he comes to Atlanta and had Heat fans jaws dropping all over South Florida.  Will it stick?  It's certainly going to be a very hot topic for us to discuss during the All-Star break...and just imagine if he has a good showing in the 3-point shootout. 

GAME NOTES

  • Another dominating night for the Heat bench, outscoring the Atlanta reserves 45-8.
  • Jermaine O'Neal led the Heat in scoring with 19 points, and he hit several big buckets late in the game.  He also got the double double, finishing with 10 boards.
  • D-Wade had a ‘quiet' 18 points but was still very productive, finishing with 11 assists, 4 boards, 2 steals and a block. 
  • Back-to-back double doubles for Udonis Haslem, who is starting to heat back up.  He had 14 and 12, and took just 9 shots, making 7. 
  • Michael Beasley had a rough night, shooting just 3-of-11 for 7 points.  He grabbed 8 rebounds but played just 23 minutes and didn't touch the floor in the 4th quarter. 
  • Dorell Wright continues to provide solid minutes for the Heat.  He is hitting his shots (4-of-5 against Atlanta) and playing the hard nosed D that he's been known for. 

Overall, considering how things had been going for the Heat over the past couple weeks, they couldn't have gone into the All-Star break in a better way.  These were back-to-back wins against quality opponents, nothing to turn your nose up at.  We'll keep an eye on any trade rumors or talks that go on over the next week, but in the mean time let's just enjoy what the Heat have done for us in the past 24 hours.