The Miami Heat defeated the Atlanta Hawks 92-87 in the preseason opener for both teams. The Heat ran out to a substantial 20+ point lead in the first three quarters only to have the Hawks make a late run. The Heat were led by Chris Bosh’s 21 points on 7 of 8 shooting. While it seemed that both teams were content to ease into the new season, Bosh was as aggressive and determined as he has been in a Heat uniform. Bosh scored 11 of the Heat’s first 14 points in the first 6 minutes of action. Bosh, one of the league’s best stretch fours, had his complete arsenal going tonight. On the defensive end, he did a nice job defending Al Horford.
LeBron James eased into preseason, showing occasional flashes of his MVP form. However, for the most part James was passive finishing with just 9 points of 4 of 11 shooting, with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Roger Mason Jr. had a nice game as well, tallying 14 points on 3 for 4 shooting from beyond the arc. He looked confident in his defensive rotations and fit in nicely in his first real action with the Heat. If he keeps this up, Pat Riley may need to lobby Mr. Arison for a 14th guaranteed spot on the roster.
The Heat did flash a couple of hard traps, full-court on the games’ first possession and half court during the first quarter. The half court trap was not their standard pick-and-roll hard show trap, but rather an on ball trap near the baseline. This reporter had visions of James, Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Chris Andersen flying around the court with their speed and length while a healthy Greg Oden anchored the rim. It wasn’t even fair in my vision.
Wade, Andersen, Oden were held out of action along with Michael Beasley, Justin Hamilton and Udonis Haslem for various injuries.
The Hawks had four players in double figures led by Mike Scott’s 13 points and 6 boards. The Heat next play Thursday at Pistons.