MIAMI // Dwyane Wade scored 35 points and the Miami Heat inched closer to second place in the Southeast Division with a 95-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. A dominant first half, in which the Heat held the Hawks without a field goal for more than 13 minutes, led to the easy win. "Defensively, we got off to a great start ? I wish we had done that for the whole game," Heat centre Jamaal Magloire said after making his first start of the season.
Defence was also on Wade's mind. "The main thing with Atlanta is you want to keep them out of transition and make them face some half-court defence," he added. Atlanta led 12-11 after Marvin Williams connected on a three-pointer in the first period. The Hawks had only eight field goals in the first half and their 27 points at intermission were a franchise-low. "We're not playing together on either end of the court," said Atlanta's Joe Johnson.
"We just weren't playing hard and that's pretty much how it's been a lot of games that we've been down." The win pulled third-placed Miami within one and a half games of the Hawks, who sit seven and a half behind division leaders Orlando Magic. Wade, the NBA top points scorer, had 12 points in the second quarter when the Heat outscored the Hawks 29-13. He came up with 12 more in the fourth quarter after Atlanta rallied to within seven points.
Daequan Cook added 16 and Mario Chalmers had 12. Udonis Haslem had a game-high 13 rebounds and eight points. The Atlanta scoring was more balanced. Johnson led with 19, Williams had 17 and Josh Smith and Ronald Murray contributed 14 each. Smith also had 10 rebounds. Hawks coach Mike Woodson found two other statistics to underscore his frustration. "We had 15 turnovers and three assists (in the first half)," Woodson said.
"We were so selfish and it didn't get much better to start the third quarter. Fortunately for us they were turning it over as well." *Reuters