LeBron James and the Miami Heat held onto a slim lead in the Southeast Division by knocking off the surging Atlanta Hawks in South Beach on Monday night. The Hawks, who had won nine of their last 10 games, just couldn't muster enough scoring to hang with a focused Heat team.
The Heat shot a blistering 58 percent against a Hawks defense that hadn't allowed any opponent to crack the 50-percent barrier all season. As usual, James led the way for Miami with 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists on 10-of-16 shooting.
More importantly, the Heat proved they could straighten out their perimeter defense when needed. Atlanta hit seven of its first 15 three-point attempts, but made just 2-of-13 after the Heat put the clamps on in the second half.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 22 points, six assists and three rebounds. Al Horford chipped in with 20 points and 11 boards, as well.
With both of these teams looking like upper-tier playoff squads, there's a good chance we see them meet again this spring. For now, Miami moves to 14-5 with the win, while Atlanta drops to 12-6 with the loss.
Final Score: Heat 101, Hawks 92