Wade scored 25 points and channeled some frustration into a key
third-quarter run that allowed Eastern Conference-leading Miami to
pull away and defeat the Atlanta Hawks 111-92 on Wednesday night.
Shaquille O'Neal added 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Heat
(29-11). Eddie Jones added 16 for Miami, which played its first
home game in two weeks.
After getting knocked to the court and not drawing a foul call,
Wade scored seven points in a five-minute span to spark a 23-7
Miami run that turned a three-point game into a rout. Al
Harrington's driving layup with 5:38 left in the third quarter drew
Atlanta to 66-63, but a smarting Wade soon took over.
"There was one play where I felt I got pushed and they didn't
call it," said Wade, who missed Miami's previous two games with a
back spasms, sore ribs and a migraine. "It was a play that turned
my second half around and made me focus more."
Following Harrington's score, Wade drove at Hawks rookie Josh
Smith for a layup, took a long outlet pass from O'Neal after
Smith's next miss and drove by him for a dunk, then added a
three-point play later in the period to give Miami what was then
its biggest lead at 80-68 -- and some long-awaited breathing room.
"He has fire, he has heart, he's a great competitor," O'Neal
said of Wade. "This team is looking pretty good."
Antoine Walker had his ninth straight double-double -- 18 points
and a game-high 16 rebounds -- for Atlanta, which dropped its
seventh straight road game and lost for the 14th time in 17 games
overall. Jason Collier added 17 points for the Hawks.
"We let Dwyane Wade take control of the game," Walker said.
"We did a good job on him at the start, but in the third quarter
he got it going ... and made things happen."
Miami, the NBA's best shooting team, connected on 51.9 percent
of its field-goal attempts. O'Neal made 11 of 20 shots and scored
25 or more points for the eighth straight game, extending his team
record. Over that stretch, O'Neal is averaging 29.8 points and 12.3
"More than anything, it was our defense," said Hawks coach
Mike Woodson. "They were able to penetrate the ball wherever they
wanted to go and we were struggling to score."
O'Neal had 19 of his points in the first half, helping Miami
take a 54-49 lead at intermission -- marking just the 16th time in
40 games that the Heat led entering the third quarter.
Atlanta stayed close behind some solid shooting -- 47.4 percent
in the first half -- and strong bench play, with the Hawks' reserves
outscoring Miami's 20-11 in the opening two quarters.
After halftime, the story changed decidedly in Miami's favor.
Led by Keyon Dooling, who had 10 of his 12 points in the second
half, the Heat bench outscored Atlanta's 22-4 after halftime, and
the Hawks managed to make only 39.1 percent of their shots in the
final two quarters.
"We had the best bench production we have had in a long, long
time," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Harrington and Smith each had 13 for Atlanta, with Predrag
Drobnjak scoring 11.
O'Neal now has 9,019 career field goals, and moved past
Jerry West into 14th on the NBA's all-time list. West had 9,016;
next on the list is Moses Malone (9,435). ... Atlanta fell to 0-3
against the Heat this season. ... Eddie Jones' 3-pointer midway
through the second quarter was the 1,227th of his career, moving
him past Hersey Hawkins and into 14th place on the all-time list.
Dell Curry (1,245) is 13th. ... Before the game, Atlanta activated
G Tony Delk and placed G Royal Ivey (right knee tendinitis) on the
injured list. Delk wore a brace on his sprained left hand and
finished with three points in eight minutes. ... Miami is 9-0 in
divisional games, 21-2 against Eastern Conference teams, 22-2 when
scoring 100 and 7-0 on Wednesdays.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
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