Hawks handled by Heat

Miami 107, Atlanta 87

ATLANTA — On their last trip to Atlanta, the Miami Heat were missing two-thirds of their Big Three.


This time, they were at full strength.

The result was a laugher.

LeBron James scored 23 points, Dwyane Wade added 21 and Chris Bosh grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds, leading Miami to a 107-87 rout of the Hawks on Sunday night.

The Heat raced to a 22-point lead by halftime and made a big statement in the Southeast Division against the second-place Hawks, turning a supposed showdown into nothing more than a showcase for Miami’s trio of stars.

“We couldn’t script it (any) better,” James said.

By halftime, Wade had 21 points. James was rolling along with 14 points and nine rebounds. Bosh had already put a double-double in the books with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Heat went to the locker room with a commanding 63-41 advantage, the Hawks having surrendered their most points in a half this season.

That was quite a contrast from the first two meetings between the division rivals. Atlanta pulled off a stunning 100-92 win in Miami on Jan. 2, while the Heat bounced back three days later on the Hawks’ home court for a 116-109 victory in triple overtime.

James and Wade missed that second meeting, but Bosh carried the load with 33 points and 14 rebounds.

He had plenty of help in this one.

“You just have to give credit to the team effort on the defensive end,” Bosh said. “Everybody did their job, put bodies on guys. We just went up in traffic, got it with two hands. Just fundamental basketball.”

Miami won for the 10th time in its past 12 games, leading by as many as 32 before both coaches cleared their benches.

“They came out with an aggression,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “Against a team like this, you can’t fall prey into being seduced into taking jump shots. You have to get to the basket, and you have to get to the free-throw line. In the first half, we did not do that.”

The Hawks starters – four of whom were averaging in double figures – combined for just 40 points, led by Joe Johnson with 12.

Willie Green actually led Atlanta with 17 points.



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