Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
It wasn't pretty for the Heat, though, as they started the third quarter down by 10 points.
Luckily LeBron James and Co. cut that double-digit deficit to just two points after just one and a half minutes of the fourth quarter had gone by.
LeBron led the way with 24 points and 11 assists, on 53.3 percent shooting from the field. And Shane Battier was his biggest supporter off the bench with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
For the first three quarters of action, the Heat were still struggling from their post All-Star break lull.
Fortunately, they snapped out of it in just enough time to remind the Hawks that they are the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers was a perfect example of efficiency against the Hawks.
When you see his stat line of 14 points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals and just one turnover—on 66.7 percent shooting from the floor and 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc—it's clear to see why Chalmers thinks he's a top-10 point guard in the league.
The problem is he just doesn't put this kind of production up on a consistent basis.
Let's hope the All-Star break taught him something about consistency, because his performance against the Hawks was exactly what the Heat need him to be night in and night out.
It was refreshing to see Chalmers let LeBron and Wade create offense instead of him trying to force up shots. Let's hope this "new version" of 'Rio is here to stay.
Overall Grade: B+
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
While his performance wasn't necessarily efficient, Wade did come on strong in the fourth quarter. It was just when the Heat needed him to step up, and he helped the Heat finish strong.
Wade had twice as many turnovers as any other player on the Heat roster, with four. But he made up for that by accounting for three steals.
The best part of Wade's performance is that he didn't put up a single three ball the entire evening. For the first time a few games, Wade got his offense in the paint and he got to the charity strip an impressive amount of times.
What he has to work on next is hitting more than 50 percent of his free throws.
It wasn't a beautiful performance by Wade, but it wasn't awful either. He got the job done, even if took a few too many fadeaway jumpers.
Overall Grade: B-
Small Forward: LeBron James
With 24 points on 53.3 percent shooting, you could say that LeBron James had a "bad" night. Being able to make that statement shows just how incredible he has been over the past few weeks.
LeBron simply decided to do his scoring in the first half, with 18 points the first two quarters of action, and the facilitating in the second half, with 11 assists overall.
He had a complete performance, and while he settled for a few too many three balls late in shot clocks, he still had an efficient shooting night above the 50 percent mark.
With the Heat trailing by double digits to start the fourth, LeBron came out and did what he does best—pass the ball.
Time and time again he created open three-pointers for Shane Battier and Ray Allen, and that's how the Heat cut the Hawks' double-digit lead to just two points in just one minute and 30 seconds in the fourth quarter.
It's clear that LeBron is still ready to dominate at the ridiculous rate he was before the All-Star break. While it isn't at the 30-point, 60 percent level, it's still thoroughly impressive.
Just stop putting up three balls, LeBron, and you'll easily get back to 60 percent shooting from the field.
Overall Grade: A-
Power Forward: Udonis Haslem
If there's one thing Udonis Haslem is, it's consistent.
Over the past 10 games, he's been consistently below average, and while the Heat keep on winning, his unenthused play is concerning to say the least.
Haslem ended the night with three points, five rebounds and three personal fouls in 19 minutes of action.
Sure, his production isn't awful for someone averaging the time on the court that he is. But the Heat need more production out of him in the paint because they sure aren't going to get it from Chris Bosh any time soon.
Without much depth in the interior, Haslem has to be more aggressive on the glass. Creating second-chance opportunities for the Heat is key as Miami heads down the home stretch of the season.
Overall Grade: C-
Center: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh is apparently still hanging out in Houston for the 2013 All-Star break, because he certainly wasn't himself in Atlanta.
Not only did he miss his first eight shots. Bosh also didn't score his first bucket until there was just four minutes left in the game.
His final stat line of just six points and six rebounds on 20 percent shooting from the floor aptly depicts his performance against the Hawks. Bosh looked lazy and unassertive, which shouldn't be all that shocking.
His aggressiveness on the boards left a lot to be desired. Maybe it was having to defend Al Horford for most of the night, but Bosh looked tired from the tip.
No, this kind of performance doesn't mean that the Heat need to trade Bosh before the trade deadline. It just means that Bosh needs to continue to increase his intensity in the paint.
Luckily his cronies, LeBron and Wade, picked up the slack for the Heat, because if they hadn't, it would've been a bad loss for Miami.
Overall Grade: F
Sixth Man: Shane Battier
Shane Battier sure came to play against the Hawks. It was like he had a personal vendetta against them.
He ended the night with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. The best part of that shooting for the Heat is that all of Battier's shots came beyond the arc.
The Heat have consistently been making up for their lack of production in the paint with the three ball, and against the Hawks they did just that.
In addition to his hot shooting from the three-point line, Battier also was a solid force on the defensive side of the ball, especially in the fourth quarter.
Battier's intelligence and knowledge of the game showed against the Hawks as he cut into passing lanes on defense and consistently found open space on offense. Great job by the 12-year man out of Duke.
Overall Grade: A
Well hello, Miami Heat bench; it's nice to finally meet you.
With 36 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the floor, the Heat's second unit played just the way they needed them to—minus some interior production from Chris Andersen.
Ray Allen seemed to have benefited from the All-Star break, adding 15 points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench.
Shane Battier led the way with 17 points on 62.5 percent three-point shooting, and while Chris Andersen and Norris Cole didn't add much, it was enough to help the Heat get the win.
What the Heat's bench did best was allow the game to come to them, from guys like LeBron and Wade, instead of forcing offense. If the second unit can pump out 30 points per game on around 50 percent shooting, the Heat will be an even more dangerous team as the season rages on.
Overall Grade: B+