We never get a true sense of how incredibly agile and active James is until he's slightly hobbled. LeBron came up big in crucial moments -- a huge 3-pointer in OT, sharp driving layups late -- but was noticeably slower in transition and passed up a number of opportunities to work in isolation. He also was a far less aggressive defender and rebounder, and seemed reluctant to elevate off his sprained left ankle.
Whatever residual effect Wade was suffering from his sore knee wasn't the least bit evident. Wade attacked on both ends and took advantage of the help he received on Joe Johnson by swarming the Hawks' leading scorer, poking at the ball and generally wreaking havoc. This wasn't Wade's most efficient outing of the season, but it might have been his grittiest.
Bosh missed his first game of the season after spraining his left ankle against Chicago on Saturday night. With Joel Anthony starting in Bosh's place, the Heat struggled to get anything going offensively at the outset, as the Hawks sagged off Anthony (0 points) to load up on the Heat's perimeter scorers.
Only a razor-thin margin made this game watchable. Both teams shot the ball horribly, but despite the low field-goal percentages, neither squad played quality defense. Teammates routinely collided all over the court. The circus just vacated the arena, but the entertainment value of the game would've been helped by releasing a lion onto the court.
Ankle sprains are apparently contagious, as Al Horford suffered one in third quarter. The Hawks, meanwhile, continue to confound. At times, they seem as though they've graduated to a more refined level of play, particularly when Horford is their fulcrum. At other times, the gears grind to a halt or there's a bizarre defensive lapse.