James unleashed a few residual post-Cleveland heat checks in the first quarter -- and drained them. After that, James had to scrap for every point. He picked a few at the stripe on aggressive moves to the rack, but didn't score in the second half until he drained a free throw at the 3:51 mark of the final frame.
Wade has officially buried any lingering effects of his slump, injured wrist or both. On nights like Saturday, we remember how much of an imprint Wade can make on a game with his sheer activity. Nearly every fight for a loose ball, every passing lane and every Miami fast break were impacted by Wade's instincts.
On a night when the Hawks were intent on doubling the Heat's perimeter duo, Bosh inherited a number of good looks and led the team in shot attempts. Bosh's normally reliable elbow jumper was a bit off, but he adapted. With a few crafty up-fakes and smart reads, Bosh was able to get to the rim off the bounce and convert.
You don't have to shoot the ball at a scintillating rate when you don't waste possessions. Maybe it's Erik Spoelstra's decision to keep a pure point guard in the game at all times or maybe it's a growing familiarity on the floor, but the Heat are doing a solid job of getting shots off -- even if they aren't always the best ones available.
With Joe Johnson sidelined, Al Horford has become the fulcrum of the Hawks' offense. Horford was magnificent, utilizing his speed against Zydrunas Ilgauskas. But those motion sets Larry Drew has installed don't have much command without a perimeter slashing threat. The Hawks had success had on the other end with strong 1-on-1 defensive stands, as they lured the Heat into launching a barrage of contested jumpers.