The Hawks let opportunity after opportunity slip through their fingers allowing the reigning NBA Champions Miami Heat to escape Philips Arena with a 95-89 win.
Atlanta guard Jeff Teague knocked down two free throws with just over a minute and a half remaining in the game to tie the ball game at 89-89. It would be the last points scored by the Hawks in the game. Four different Atlanta players took aim coming up empty each time. DeShawn Stevenson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Jeff Teague all had their chances dance around the rim before falling haplessly to the hardwood.
With Dwyane Wade out of the lineup, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen picked up the slack scoring 24 and 17 pts respectively. Allen’s 17 th point of the game became the game winner as an unexpected nor’easter froze the Hawks side of the scoreboard.
Miami was unable to shake the pesky Hawks and even trailed by 4 going into the half. Leading scorer LeBron James scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half and was an assist shy of a triple double.
Anthony Morrow came off the bench in the first half for the Hawks to provide a much needed offensive boost - 12 points in just 8 minutes of work. The fifth year player out of Georgia Tech reappeared at the 5:20 mark of the third and pumped in 5 points to give the Hawks a 69-64 lead with 2 minutes left in the period.
The Heat closed out the last two minutes of the third the same way they closed out the game, on an 8-2 run. Rashard Lewis erased the goose eggs on the stat sheet knocking down all seven of his points during the run to give the Heat a slim 72-71 lead.
A layup from Bosh ignited another mini run that saw the Heat lead grow to 9 points through the first half of the final period. Good defense from the Hawks kept the lead from growing and two big back-to-back three’s from Teague helped erase it.
Knotted at 89-89, nothing the Hawks threw up went in. Stevenson’s three point attempt over James missed but a loose ball foul called on Miami guard Mario Chalmers gave the Hawks another chance. Josh Smith missed both free throws but the Hawks got yet another chance. Ray Allen was called for traveling on the trip up the court. Down by just 2, Smith lobbed an alley oop to Al Horford. Now on a normal day, the sure-handed Horford would have punched in the pass but this wasn’t a normal day. This time the ball hit the rim and bounced out, along with the air of the Hawks fans. Miami added another two on a jumper from Udonis Haslem before Allen sunk the final two free throws of the night to help the heat survive a frantic game against the Hawks.
Print copies of CORE 360 Magazine can be obtained by visiting the CORE 360 Magcloud website