Atlanta Hawks Spank Miami Heat and Take Game One In Emphatic Fashion
Miami couldn't score, couldn't defend, committed turnovers, got out-rebounded, played sloppy, looked young, played poorly on the road, and truly looked like the one-man team that they have been criticized of being.
The fourth seeded Hawks took game one of the seven-game playoff series in emphatic fashion, demolishing the fifth seeded Heat 90-64 at Phillips Arena.
Miami was held to a season-low 64 points, including a pathetic 25 points in the second half.
The NBA's scoring champion Dwyane Wade was held to 19 points, 11 points under his season average of 30.2, on eight-for-21 shooting.
Rookie Michael Beasley was the only other Miami player to score in double figures, as he finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Atlanta simply outplayed Miami and were the better team.
They had a well-rounded attack with every one of their starters scoring in double figures, led by Josh Smith's double-double of 23 points and 10 boards.
The Hawks also got it done on the defensive side. They limited the Heat to 36 percent shooting from the field, including an atrocious four-for-23 (17 percent) from the three-point line.
In addition, they were able to do something many teams aren't able to accomplish—contain Wade.
The Hawks' defense hassled Wade all night long, limiting the superstar to 38 percent shooting and forcing him into eight turnovers.
Wade didn't look like the player we saw light up opposing defenses and take control over games in the regular season. He only got to the foul line two times in 40 minutes of play.
Everything just went wrong for this Miami Heat and that became apparent very early on in the game.
At the end of the first quarter, the Hawks led 24-21. After that, everything went downhill for Miami as the Hawks took over.
The second quarter exposed the Heat's inexperience, with the Hawks taking full advantage. They outscored Miami 35-18 in the second quarter, out-rebounded them 12 to seven, and turned seven turnovers into 10 points, while limiting them to seven-of-18 shooting.
In addition, Atlanta exploded for 61 percent shooting, including an array of acrobatic dunks by Josh Smith.
The highlight reel dunks by Smith epitomized the game, as the Heat just got overpowered in the second quarter, ending the first half with a 20-point deficit, dashing any hopes of a comeback.
The game was over before it started. Atlanta took advantage of a hostile crowd that roared loudly after every highlight reel play that Smith made and gave full momentum to the Hawks.
Joe Johnson also ignited the crowd with his play, contributing 15 points. Mike Bibby finished the game with 10 points and nine assists.
But, there are some positives for Miami after a blowout loss like this.
The game is a wake-up call for the Heat. They have two days to prepare before game two on Wednesday night in Atlanta, and will have time to adjust their strategy and work on their mistakes.
More importantly, Wade never has two bad games in a row. He will come back hungry and show that his 19-point effort was just a fluke. Wade will not let his team be ridiculed in the playoffs, especially after they worked so hard to get there.
The Heat will look to rebound Wednesday night, hoping to adjust their play so they get more contributions from their role players, as well as being much sharper on defense and limiting their turnovers. If they can do that, they will have no problem rebounding and stealing one on the road.
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