For awhile there, the Miami Heat had the look of a team that hadn’t played basketball in a week.
With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh struggling, the Heat faced a 73-63 deficit heading into the final frame against a team that was 24-1 when leading after three quarters. LeBron James had tirelessly supported the team with 20 points and three assists up to that point and was the only reason why the Heat were even in the game in the first place. What the Heat needed was a hero.
Miami settled for a pair of heroes.
Shane Battier hit three of his five three-pointers and Allen scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth, leading the Heat to a 40-17 fourth quarter advantage in a 103-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks. LeBron assisted on eight shots in the final frame. The 40 points was the most fourth quarter points scored by the Heat in the “Big Three” era.
The Heat are now riding an eight-game winning streak.
LeBron finished with 24 points (putting an end to his streak of seven consecutive games with 30 points), 11 assists, six rebounds and four steals. He was supported by 46 combined points from Allen, Battier and Mario Chalmers, as well as 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting from Dwyane Wade. The aforementioned trio of role players combined to shoot a staggering 9-of-18 from beyond the arc.
The Heat finished 10-of-23 from beyond the arc on the night, hitting five of those threes in the fourth quarter. Miami started out the quarter of a 13-0 run and regained the lead, after facing that 10-point deficit heading in, not even two minutes in. The first 11 points were scored by either Allen or Battier.
They were needed. Chris Bosh had one of his worst performances of the season finishing with eight points on 2-of-10 shooting. He missed his first eight shots, but saw his first field-goal come at a timely moment with his team up by only four with four minutes remaining. The Heat ran off eight consecutive points following Bosh’s first make of the night.
Atlanta was led by Al Horford’s 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting. However, Josh Smith, 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting, was the only other starter in double-figures. Kyle Korver came off the bench to convert four three-pointer on only five attempts, while Ivan Johnson scored all 10 of his points in the first half.
The Hawks shot 50 percent, but converted only 27 percent of their 26 three-point attempts and scored only 11 points from the foul line.
Miami had as much as a nine-point lead in the first half, but saw that quickly evaporate as the Hawks would win the second and third quarters by a 56-35 margin. Fortunately for the Heat, the seven-point lead they built up to conclude the first quarter kept the margin reasonable and LeBron being LeBron made sure Atlanta didn’t run away with it upon gaining an 11-point third quarter lead.
The Hawks were up 67-56 following a Josh Smith fastbreak dunk. Miami would go on a 47-23 over the final 16 minutes.
No rest for the Heat as they head to Chicago for a Thursday night matchup.