“That’s D-Wade,” Smith said. “He normally gets the calls down the stretch.”
Not these days, he doesn’t. And that proves absolutely nothing is going right for the Miami Heat—especially at home.
Smith snuffed out Wade’s potentially game-tying layup with 3.9 seconds left, Joe Johnson scored 22 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from a 10-point deficit entering the final quarter to beat the Heat 82-79 Wednesday night.
It was Atlanta’s first win in 18 road games since Valentine’s Day, and oh, how the Hawks loved this one.
“It was past due,” said Johnson, who hit a pair of crucial 3-pointers in the final minutes.
Shaquille O’Neal had 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks—his most in nearly three years—for Miami. O’Neal passed Alex English for 11th on the NBA’s scoring list with his eighth point, but other than that, there was little for Miami to enjoy.
Going back to last season, the Heat have lost eight straight at home, including their two playoff defeats last April. Only one NBA team—Minnesota— has a worse overall record to this point than Miami’s 2-9 mark.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re beginning to feel the pressure,” Heat coach Pat Riley said.
Atlanta opened the fourth quarter on a 15-3 run, taking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes with 6:43 left on a pair of free throws by Childress.
Miami’s first basket of the fourth didn’t come until 6:03 remained, and it was a Wade highlight-reel effort. Driving the lane, he got fouled, scored, tumbled to the court and did a couple push-ups with the score knotted at 71.
But two 3-pointers by Johnson—the second a long one from the left wing with 1:58 left—gave Atlanta a 79-74 edge, and they hung on, despite shooting 35 percent in the game.
“I thought our defense was solid even though we couldn’t score,” Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. “We just kept it close and that’s all you want to do on the road, give yourself an opportunity to win.”
Haslem scored four quick points to get Miami within one, then was hit with a foul call the Heat strongly disliked with 1:11 left. With the ball on the floor, he and Smith both dove—but referee Tony Brown whistled Haslem, Smith hit two free throws and Atlanta was up 81-78.
“Ball was on the floor, two guys go for the ball, and at that point in the game I would hope it would be a jump ball,” Haslem said.
A free throw by Wade got Miami within two, Smith missed badly with 16 seconds left and the Heat called timeout to set up a final shot. Wade drove, Smith blocked it, and Williams hit a free throw for the final margin.
“We beat ourselves tonight,” Miami guard Smush Parker said. “The Atlanta Hawks did enough to win and they got the ‘W’ but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We get any shot we want. We just have to make them.”
Atlanta shot 29 percent in the first quarter, 28 percent during the second, but never fell behind by more than 11. The Hawks limited Miami to one field goal in the final 3 1/2 minutes before intermission, getting within 43-37 at the break.
The Hawks stayed pesky in the second half, and came through down the stretch.
After six straight points by Haslem late in the third helped Miami go into the final quarter up 66-56, the Heat shot 3-for-15 in the last 12 minutes.
And for the eighth straight time, a sellout crowd in Miami left the same way players did—in disbelief.
“It’s just a team that’s been losing, finding a way to lose,” Wade said. “We gave this one away.”
Wade was briefly shaken up with 10:11 left in the third quarter. He grabbed his surgically repaired left knee on a play where Smith was called for a blocking foul and was in obvious distress. … Atlanta missed its first seven shots, then went 0-for-4 to start the second quarter. … Miami’s last home win was April 13 against Indiana.