MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Safe to say the Miami Heat found their rhythm on both ends of the court after a dreadful first half on Sunday, and will look to put four solid quarters together Tuesday when they host the Atlanta Hawks.
The Heat scored 65 points after halftime – Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Bosh combining to shoot 13-of-21 from the field – as Miami rallied from a 63-44 deficit at intermission to win 109-89.
Offense has not been a problem for Miami, which ranks among the top five teams in the NBA in field-goal percentage (47 percent) and free-throw shooting (87.5). Udonis Haslem blasted his teammates during a fiery halftime speech on Sunday, which Wade summarized to the media after the game as, “it was all bleep, bleep, bleep.” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer had his own reasons to be upset after the Hawks were torched for 37 third-quarter points Sunday at Charlotte before tightening up defensively in a 94-92 victory to sweep a home-and-home from the Hornets. Atlanta also dodged an after-game scare as X-rays on the finger of point guard Jeff Teague, who averages a team-leading 18.3 points to pace five Hawks in double figures, came back negative.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (3-1)
Kent Bazemore shined in both victories over Charlotte, scoring 39 points in the two games on 13-of-25 shooting. Atlanta clamped down on defense late in both contests but especially Sunday, when the Hawks held the Hornets to 4-of-24 shooting (all four baskets coming from 3-point range) in the fourth quarter. “They all know the third wasn’t our best,” Budenholzer said to reporters in describing Atlanta’s defensive effort in the third quarter, “but they found a way.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (2-1)
The Heat were ripped for 63 first-half points against the Rockets but absolutely controlled the final 24 minutes, hitting nine 3-pointers after the break and finishing the half at 58.5 percent from the field while forcing 11 turnovers. Whiteside, who scored 15 points with 15 rebounds combined in his first two contests, gave Miami 25 points and 15 rebounds. Wade has scored 20 or more points in each of his first three games.
1. The Hawks did not shoot a free throw until the 6:14 mark of the third quarter Sunday, finishing 13-of-14 from the line.
2. Miami rookie Justise Winslow hit two 3-pointers off the bench on Sunday and finished with 10 points and two steals in 31 minutes.
3. Atlanta G-F Thabo Sefolosha is among the NBA leaders in steals per game (2.7).
PREDICTION: Hawks 103, Heat 96
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