The Atlanta Hawks could have been allowed a soccer squad of 11, demons from Kobe's commercials, or a soccer squad of 11 demons to defend LeBron James, but it would not have mattered. Friday night belonged to him. The Atlanta Haws yelled charge, looking aggressive and determined to take the Heat with a full head of steam from the onset. A lineup change shifted Joe Johnson back to the SG position to take a sizable advantage over his defender, Wade. Josh Smith would impose his physicality on the smaller (yes, it's possible) LeBron James and Al Horford would take Bosh's lunch money in the post. All futile, as James would drain shot after shot after shot after shot shot shot, like needles deflating bubbles of hope and felicity, turning cheers for their Hawks into boos for James, then morphing into uncontrollable cheers and MVP chants. James loved every second of it, antagonizing fans to coax the vitriol out of them, only to use it as fuel to power his competitive locomotive. James finished with 43 points on an array of step-back jumpers, shot clock buzzer beaters and acrobatic drives to the basket, not missing a shot until the 3rd quarter. Shame you can't choose where to play in the playoffs. Playing all games on the road might be crazy enough to work. Game Notes:
- Mike Bibby shared a few laughs and convivial times with his ex-teammates before the game. He entered at the end of the 1st quarter to well-deserved cheers and sporadic standing ovation from the fans at Phillips Arena. He would go on to have a paltry shooting night from the floor scoring 2 points on 1-of-5 from the floor but contributed with 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a blueprint to the Hawks gameplan.
- Purchasing an flight ticket from Atlanta to Washingon since you were just traded without notice, $300. Asking for a buyout to leave the icy streets of Washington and play for the hottest team in the league, in the hottest city in the world, $6.2M. Knowing your previous teams' schemes and communicating them to your new team in order to dismantle their every move, Priceless. Thanks, Mike. We see you, Carlos.
- With tonight's outing, James has become the youngest player to reach 17,000 points. His 76.2% shooting performance is now a career high.
- Heat killer Jamaal Crawford was held scoreless, going 0-4 from the field.
- Size matters but against the Hawks, the Heat can still come out on top. Miami grabbed 42 boards to Atlanta's 27 which created 2nd chance opportunities.