The Miami Heat (5-1) played their first game without superstar Dwyane Wade this season, but they proved a dynamic duo is just as good as a Big Three with a hard-fought 95-89 victory on the road over the Atlanta Hawks (2-2)
This was the first win of the year on the road for a Heat team that relied mostly on Chris Bosh and LeBron James while also getting valuable contributions off the bench from Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.
The Hawks went toe-to-toe against the defending NBA champions for the first three quarters. In fact, they were trailing by just one point as they entered the final period.
However, this time, there was no miraculous comeback, as Atlanta's offense took an 87-85 lead with 3:26 to go, but couldn't make the key baskets (or free throws) down the stretch.
The Heat mounted a 10-2 run in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter as they took a commanding lead, but they saw it dwindle until LeBron stepped up to seal the game in the waning seconds.
This was a new development for the Hawks, a team that had excelled in the clutch this season.
Atlanta had outscored the opposition by an average of 27-19 in the fourth quarter during its first three games.
However, Miami prevailed on this night with its trademark stifling defense, 23-18, in the final 12 minutes.
Let's take a look at who excelled and who disappointed in this clash between the two strongest teams in the Southeast division.