Wednesday , Mar , 21 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Red-hot Heat hold off Hawks

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Jason Williams scored 21 points and dished out
eight assists to lead the Miami Heat over the Atlanta Hawks, 91-83, at Philips
Arena.

Williams hit a key jumper and a pair of free throws down the stretch for the
Heat, who nearly blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead but managed to hold
on for their 10th win in 11 outings.

Eddie Jones added 14 points and Shaquille O’Neal had 12 points, six assists
and just three rebounds for Miami, which for the time being pulled into a
first-place tie with Washington for the top spot in the Southeast Division.
The Wizards play in Seattle on Wednesday night.

Josh Smith scored 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots for
the Hawks, who have lost three of four. Marvin Williams added 16 points and 12
rebounds for Atlanta, which had a five-game home win streak halted.

Ahead by just three points, 49-46, early in the third quarter, the Heat scored
eight straight points to start an 11-2 run that put the team in control.
Udonis Haslem scored four points during the surge, which Jason Williams capped
with a three-pointer for a 60-48 lead with five minutes left in the stanza.

Miami later led by as many as 15 points, 67-52, following a free throw by
Antoine Walker and cruised into the fourth quarter with a 69-59 lead.

Atlanta made it interesting down the stretch, using a 14-4 run to draw within
83-80. A pair of free throws by Josh Childress with 1:17 left capped the
surge, which saw Smith score six points.

Williams, though, answered for the Heat next time down the floor, draining a
jumper over Childress with 1:03 left to extend the lead to five points. Jones
then stole the ball from Marvin Williams under the basket on the other end of
the floor and Jason Williams converted a pair of free throws with 25 seconds
left to ice the game.

“I just took the shots that were open,” said Jason Williams. “It is critical
to us to win every game we play and try to get homecourt advantage in the
playoffs. I was trying to be aggressive. They were pressing and trapping, but
when they decided not to double team me I had to be aggressive and take the
shot.”

Jason Williams hit 7-of-14 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 from three,
as Miami shot 50 percent for the game (36-of-72). O’Neal tried only eight
shots from the floor for the game.

The Heat led 24-22 after one quarter and extended to a 47-36 lead at halftime
thanks to a 14-point second quarter by the Hawks. Atlanta, though, responded
to open the third, scoring 10 of the first 12 points to draw within three
points.

“We picked up our defense in the second quarter,” said Miami head coach Pat
Riley. “Offensively, when we play pick-and-roll it opened up the score a
little bit and we played well from there. We had some spotty moments in the
second half, but for the most part we were okay.”

Game Notes

Miami center Alonzo Mourning missed the game with a right knee
contusion…Miami has won all three meetings against the Hawks this
season…The Heat improved to 14-19 on the road…Atlanta fell to 15-19 at
home.

ATL MIA