The black tie jerseys were back despite the Heat dropping their last two road games in them. Coming off a back-to-back, it wasn't going to be easy for the Miami Heat. They put together one of their most complete games of the season, beating the Hawks 100-88.
This was a game that wasn't dominated but was certainly affected greatly by Hassan Whiteside early. He blocked some shots, snatched rebounds and made it difficult for the Hawks on the inside. But it was really Goran Dragic who was the driving engine behind the Heat tonight. He was creating things and being fearless out there.
In the middle of the third quarter, Goran Dragic took an elbow from Al Horford in the face as he was guarding him. Dragic was called for the foul, and he lost a tooth. His mouth was bleeding and he had to exit the game. Trainer Jay Sabol was working on Dragic to help stop the bleeding.
Here's what Dragic looked like:
The Heat kept rolling. They played really well, and led by as many as 15 in the third quarter. Dragic returned near the end of the quarter, and Miami took a 13 point lead to the fourth quarter. Gerald Green caught some fire late in the third and early in the fourth. Made some shots, some plays and played great defense the entire game. A really good outing from him. Green had 20 points off the bench for Miami in 31 minutes.
Again, Hassan Whiteside did not play in the fourth quarter. This time, it was in a winning effort. Whiteside finished with 8 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Chris Bosh contributed timely shooting and was on target from behind the perimeter. He led the Heat with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Dragic had 12 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Luol Deng had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Dwyane Wade only had 7 points on a rough 3-16 shooting night.
Beno Udrih finally got aggressive. He scored 9 points off the bench. The Heat bench was again short without Tyler Johnson and Josh McRoberts. Udonis Haslem also contributed, while Justise Winslow went scoreless in 13 minutes.
The Heat led by up to 18 in the fourth quarter and had control of the entire game. The Hawks just couldn't do anything right. Some of it was the Heat's defense, some of it was just missed shots. The Hawks cut the lead to 9 with under 2 minutes to go, but the Heat were able to hold on for the win.
Atlanta shot under 40% and was led by Kent Bazemore. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korve combined for 12 points while Paul Millsap had 18 points himself. Atlanta was not smooth, turned the ball over 14 times and shot 8-33 from downtown. The Heat were fortunate to get a less than stellar effort from them tonight. But also credit Miami -- they had the necessary energy, focus and attention to detail needed to play a full 48 minutes well.
Miami is no 14-9 on the season and will play in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.