When the Miami Heat play as a team, which means they played good defense; when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James combine for a night like this, there’s probably not a single team in the NBA that can stop them from winning and putting on a show.
This time it wasn’t just about the highlights, but a display of effectiveness, of selection and of making the right decision and shots. The Heat simply got too many easy shots, especially in transition, which made it a very comfortable night against the Atlanta Hawks, the team battling them for the supremacy in the Southeast division.
After two consecutive losses, the Heat are beginning to regroup. Better basketball, especially on defense. More focus, more speed. The Heat were perfect in the transition game, going 9-9 from the field. LeBron James finished with six for six in those situations. The Heat, like in their previous game vs the Hawks, had an easy time getting to the rim, finishing with 17-20 from within 5 feet of the basket, their best shooting performance from such distance in a game this season, although they were ranked third in the NBA going into the game.
James finished with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, making his biggest mark on the game with what the announcers called a towering alley-oop finish to Norris Cole’s lob, another fitting end to another fast break created thanks to a block on the other end. Dwyane Wade, despite his early struggles this season, is shooting above .500 from the field, averaging just over 20 points per game. He set a new career high for field goal accuracy, making 11 of his 13 shots, finishing with 26 points. He is now 20 for 25 in his last two games from the floor, scoring 26 points in each.
The man’s shooting 80 percent from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That’s like crazy, right? That’s why who he is.
Dwyane Wade began the 17-4 run that sparked the Heat’s way to victory after falling 65-63 behind in the fourth quarter. He began with a jumper that tied the game, finishing with 8 points in the surge that ended the game. A lot about this game was measuring their division rivals, off to a surprising start this season. A lot about it was showing them there’s quite a way to go before they can dream of contending with the Heat.
And it’s that simple. The Hawks made too many mistakes and looked off on certain defensive possessions and on their lazy return to defense in transition that it was made too easy for James and Wade to have a pretty fun day with plenty of easy shots. There was no need for anyone else to stand out, including Chris Bosh (14 points, 10 rebounds), while Ray Allen had his worst performance of the season, finishing with 1-8 from the field, scoring only 3 points.
The best team in the NBA, still? Too soon to talk about it probably. Too many things, too many ups and downs to go through in the remaining 63 games. Still, it’s comforting to know that Dwyane Wade is feeling much better and all the talk about a decline isn’t really holding up. LeBron James needs a sidekick and more to keep this title defense bid on the right course, and energy filled wins like this one are a solid foundation for the rest of the season.