Monday, January 2, 2012
Hawks slow down Heat in Miami's first loss
By ESPN Stats & Information
Somebody finally figured out how to slow down the Miami Heat. The Atlanta Hawks opened the fourth quarter with a 15-3 run on Monday night, outscoring Miami 33-21 in final quarter to hand the Heat their first loss of the season.
Tracy McGrady scored 13 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Hawks handed the Heat their first loss of the season.
The Heat had a season-low 92 points and struggled offensively because they could not get out in transition. In their first five games, the Heat were averaging 101.6 possessions per game and were one of the best transition teams in the NBA. On Monday, Miami had a season-low 92 possessions and struggled to get out on the break.
The Hawks also dominated the Heat down low with a 50-38 advantage in the paint. Entering Monday night, Miami was allowing only 32.8 points in the paint per game, the third-fewest in the NBA, and were outscoring their opponents in the paint by an average of 16.4 points per game.
Miami’s ball-hawking defense was also absent against Atlanta as the Hawks committed only 10 turnovers, the fewest by any Heat opponent this season. The Heat generated just 13 points off turnovers, also a season-low and nearly half of their season average through the first five games.
In its first five games Miami scored 35.7 percent of its transition points directly off “live-ball” turnovers. On Monday only one of the Heat’s 13 transition plays resulted from a “live-ball” turnover, and they scored just one point on that play.
LeBron James was the lone star for Miami and finished with a game-high 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting. James now has 176 points on the season, his most points scored through his team’s first six games in any season of his career.
James, however, really struggled in isolation as he made just 2-of-7 shots and averaged a season-worst 0.57 points per play. He entered the game making nearly half of his shots in isolation and averaging almost a point per play.
Elsewhere Around The Association
• Kevin Love scored a team-high 24 points and pulled down 15 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season, as the Minnesota Timberwolves' snapped a 16-game losing streak vs the San Antonio Spurs.
Love has at least 20 points and 12 rebounds in each of his first five games this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other NBA player to do that since 1976-77 was Charles Barkley in 1992-93.
• Mike Bibby played just 15 minutes in the New York Knicks' 90-85 loss to the Toronto Raptors and scored zero points as he missed all three of his shot attempts from beyond the arc.
The Raptors outscored the Knicks by 18 points while he was on the court, which was the worst plus-minus on the team despite Bibby playing fewer minutes than all but two teammates.