Heat burn Hawks
Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Eddie Jones donated a season-high 21 points and
Shaquille O’Neal added 14 points and nine rebounds, as Miami downed Atlanta,
88-81, at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“He’s really helped us,” Miami head coach Pat Riley said of Jones. “I think
when he gets in better condition, and starts feeling comfortable, we’ll have
more nights like tonight.”
Gary Payton added 11 points and James Posey compiled 10 points and five
rebounds for Miami, which has won three straight and 11 of 14 overall in
addition to winning its ninth straight at home.
Anthony Johnson and Josh Smith totaled 16 points apiece, while Josh Childress
added 14 points and eight rebounds in the loss, Atlanta’s sixth straight and
10th in a row at Miami.
After a low-scoring first stanza, Miami ripped off the first 10 points of the
second period to take a 26-17 advantage. Posey capped the stretch with a
reserve layup off a good look from O’Neal.
The Heat held a 39-31 edge at the half.
Joe Johnson, who scored 12 points, converted a driving layup that brought the
Hawks within 39-37, then his three-pointer gave Atlanta the lead at 49-48 with
6:27 on the clock.
Miami led 59-54 after three quarters.
Tyronn Lue’s two free throws kept the Hawks within striking distance at 67-63
with 8:26 on the clock, but Jones responded with a three-pointer, then Antoine
Walker’s layup put the Heat ahead 72-63.
The advantage grew to 15 points at 80-65 on Posey’s three-pointer, and Atlanta
never drew closer than eight until the final margin.
“I think it was a lack of communication defensively,” Atlanta head coach Mike
Woodson said of his team’s defense. “We knew what they were running. They
stayed with their game plan.”
Miami is 35-1 at home over the last two seasons in February and March…Jason
Kapono left the game with a sprained left ankle and did not return. X-rays
were negative…Marvin Williams left the game for Atlanta with a back
injury…The game featured zero ties and three lead changes…Attendance