Performances like these make it hard to believe LeBron entered the league without a jump shot. In the second game of a back-to-back, James settled for jumpers and flaunted his range with gusto. He managed to mix in some attacks as well, toeing the free throw line with frequency. LeBron's only flaw was some careless turnovers, but otherwise, it was another strong effort.
This was a tale of two halves for Wade. In the first half, Wade carved up the Hawks, slicing through defenders in the half court and getting out on the break for finishes. His last-second reverse layup before halftime was a perfect capper to a high-flying Heat first half. But Wade vanished as a scorer in the final 24 minutes, being held to just one field goal in the second half.
His inside-outside game was working early, as Bosh jumped out to a big start. He scored 13 points in the first half on silky shooting and a flurry of dunks. But foul trouble kept him sidelined in the second half, as he picked up a fifth foul just seconds after the start of the fourth quarter. He stepped in for a critical charge late, icing the game.
Has there been a bigger seven-point performance this season? I doubt it. Jones' back-to-back 3s late in the fourth quarter were as clutch as any performance the Heat have gotten from the bench this season -- and one of them was a rare 4-pointer. The Miami veteran really wants this No. 2 seed.
The Hawks continued their post-All-Star spiral, but they certainly didn't go down without a fight. A 29-10 second-half run by the Hawks nearly closed the gap. However, it wasn't enough. Led by Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford, Atlanta's unheralded bench stifled the Heat's offense, working 24-second violations on consecutive possessions and locking down the paint. Too little, too late for Atlanta.