Both teams were slow to start, but it was Kelly who’d eventually draw first blood. The Heat made 4 of their first four shots to go on a very nice 7-0 scoring run with Justise and Bam leading the charge. The Hawks didn’t stay quiet for long, inching back off great plays from Trae Young and Kevin Huerter. Josh Richardson, was hot to start for the Heat scoring on some incredibly drives and finding his teammates for open looks.
The Heat struggled on defense getting out hustled for rebounds, but offensively they were solid. With nearly everybody getting involved. It was a great offensive quarter for the Heat filled with highlight plays.
Richardson opened the quarter for Miami with a huge chase down block. Hassan would follow up with a block of his own. Still Miami continued to get burned for second chance points that kept the Hawks in the game. Whiteside came in off the bench in this quarter and was effective, hustling and making great decisons.
Blocks were a theme this quarter as Wade got one to pass Michael Jordan and became the greatest shot-blocking guard of all time.
For a while it seemed like the Heat couldn’t miss as they went 9/9 from the field. Still with sub par defense sinking the Heat, the Hawks would go on a 11-3 run tying things up at the half.
Miami got it going with a beautiful Justise behind the back pass to Bam for an And-1. Miami’s young core is really something special. The Heat would find their groove once again and go on a 7-0 run.
The only thing really holding the Heat back was turnovers. If the Heat are going to be able to make a run they really need to clean up this problem. Even if the Heat are playing well, turnovers keep the other team within striking distance.
The Hawks hit a nice stretch to take the lead, but Dion would score right away to steal it back. Dion was really great on offense tonight. But he was a complete defensive liability. He found himself out of position a lot, and usually against great shooters.
The lead would fluctuate fairly often this quarter with both teams keeping it close. It’s crazy how much of a threat Vince Carter turned out to be in this one. He was a menace for this Heat team, truly ageless. Justise would tie the game up with a great buzzer beater drive heading into the fourth quarter.
Wade opened the fourth quarter for Miami with a jump hook and Josh Richardson followed it up with a beautiful three.
Still the mistakes the plagued Miami all game didn’t change allowing the Hawks get ahead. Turnovers, second chance points off offensive rebounds, it was infuriating to watch. Nobody on the Heat seemed to box out their men this game, and the Hawks crashed the boards hard.
Miami got the crowd on their feet with a huge Derrick Jones Jr. slam. This shifted momentum slightly. Dwyane Wade hit some beautiful jumpers to score 10 fourth quarter points and put Miami ahead. J-Rich then hit another big three to extend Miami’s lead to 9, giving Miami some much needed breathing room.
Miami wouldn’t stop there with Olynyk hitting a big three, and Wade continuing his excellence from the midrange. On the other end Vince Carter continued to torch Miami from three almost single handedly keeping the Hawks in the game. A 7-1 Hawks scoring run made things too close for comfort for the Heat and a poorly timed turnover that resulted in a Young bucket didn’t help anything.
Up only one, Wade drove and converted on a huge layup to put Miami up three. A travel on the other end gave the Heat an opportunity to put the dagger in Atlanta. But the Heat botched the possession, thankfully Miami got the rebound and was fouled. Unfortunately an untimely turnover by Olynyk resulted in Atlanta getting a chance to tie the game.
Atlanta went to Kent Bazemore off an inbounds lob, and he was fouled by McGruder. He’d cut the lead to one. Miami would execute a beautiful inbounds play and pass the ball multiple times to avoid an intentional foul and outlast the Hawks for a very important win and another legendary Wade performance.