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Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami

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Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
You cannot stop them. You can only hope to contain them.

The Miami Heat brought an 18-game winning streak into Tuesday's contest against the Atlanta Hawks. Miami never trailed on their way to a 98-81 victory.

Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 23 points, followed by LeBron James and Josh Smith with 15 each.

Miami's lead never ballooned to full-fledged blowout proportions, but the game did not feel close at any point in the second half as the Heat comfortably completed the season sweep of Atlanta. 

Miami shot just 37.5 percent from the field in the first quarter, but they opened up an eight-point lead by dominating Atlanta on the glass 16-4. Miami coasted from there.

While the Hawks narrowed the rebounding margin somewhat in the second quarter, Miami continued to get to the free-throw line. The Heat shot 17-of-20 from the charity stripe in the first half while the Hawks were just 2-of-2.

Miami led by 13 at the half and were never challenged after that. The Hawks managed only 37 points in the second half. It also didn't help that Atlanta committed 24 turnovers, handing 27 points to Miami.

Perhaps the presence of P.J. "Quiet Storm" Brown—who was honored at halftime as part of the franchise's 25th anniversary celebrations, despite playing just four seasons with Miami—inspired the Heat to crush their opponent instead of toying with them.

Miami extended their winning streak to 19 games, with their last loss coming way back on February 1 at the Indiana Pacers.

Miami already had the best overall record in the league (47-14) and the best home record at 29-3.

The 34-28 Hawks entered Tuesday in seventh place in the East, but just half a game out of fifth. Atlanta was 9-9 over their last 18 games, and if they keep sliding, they might find themselves playing Miami in the first round of the playoffs. 

Judging by the way this contest went, that is to be avoided at all costs.

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