Hawks run away from Heat in 4th quarter
MIAMI (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 21 points, Tracy McGrady hit a pair of big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and the Atlanta Hawks ended Miami’s perfect start by beating the Heat 100-92 on Monday night.
McGrady and Al Horford each scored 16 for the Hawks (4-1), who opened the final period on a 15-3 run to take control. And McGrady made perhaps the two biggest plays of the night in the final minutes, first throwing a lob to Josh Smith for a dunk, then hitting a 3-pointer that gave the Hawks a 93-84 lead with 2:26 left.
LeBron James scored 28 points, Chris Bosh scored 19 and Dwyane Wade finished with 12 for Miami (5-1). The Heat led by as many as 10 in the early going and took a four-point lead into the final quarter before getting outscored 33-21.
Jeff Teague finished with 15 points for Atlanta.
McGrady and Jannero Pargo made 3-pointers midway through the fourth, giving Atlanta what was then its biggest lead at 82-74. Miami twice cut the lead to four, the second of those coming when Udonis Haslem made a free throw with 3:24 remaining.
The Heat got no closer. Off a set play called during a time-out, McGrady’s lob to Smith gave Atlanta some breathing room, and then the Florida native connected from beyond the arc on the left wing to essentially seal the win for the Hawks.
As has been the case regularly this season, Miami came out flying.
A right-handed dunk from the left-handed Bosh — he went by three Hawks on the play, sprawling to the court on the landing — less than a minute into the contest got the Heat started. Wade threw a long alley-oop pass to James for another slam and a 20-10 lead.
And when the 6-foot-10 Atlanta forward Vladimir Radmanovic tried to dunk on the 6-foot-4 Wade in the second quarter, not only did he get rejected at the rim he got a stare-down as well.
More often than not so far in this young season, once the Heat get the highlight machine going — as they did against Dallas in the season opener and Charlotte on Sunday night — they’ve simply run away from opponents.
Not in this game. Atlanta had plenty of answers.
Down by 10 midway through the second quarter, Atlanta got back into the game by using a zone defense to slow down Miami. A 17-5 run not only erased the deficit, but gave the Hawks their first lead at 44-42 when Horford scored off a lob from Smith.
Miami scored the next eight points, then got unlucky on the final play of the half. Wade swatted a ball away from the baseline, but it sailed directly to a wide-open Johnson, who swished a 3-pointer as the half expired to cut Miami’s edge to 50-47 at the break.
Johnson was 4 for 4 in the second quarter, and the Hawks’ starters shot a combined 11 for 14 in the second 12 minutes.
Neither team led by more than four points in the third, and that was the cushion — 71-67 — that Miami carried into the fourth. Atlanta led by three after another jumper by Johnson with 4:39 left, but the Hawks missed seven of their final eight shots of the quarter, six of those from the perimeter. And when Shane Battier made a 3-pointer, just his third field goal of the season, with 26 seconds left in the period, the Heat were back on top.
Then Atlanta simply took off in the fourth, denying Miami any shot at the first 6-0 start in franchise history.
NOTES: Actor Adrien Brody and rapper Lil Wayne sat next to each other courtside. … The teams play again Thursday in Atlanta, a game that will mark Miami’s fourth in five nights. … Wade had eight assists by halftime, already tying a season high. … Monday’s game marked just the third time McGrady played at Miami since November 2008. … The Heat were without reserve rookie C Mickell Gladness (left foot infection). He is day-to-day. … Hawks vice president Dominique Wilkins said G Kirk Hinrich (shoulder surgery) is still expected to miss another month.