Much, much worse.
The NBA’s leading scorer, Wade finished with 35 points on 13-for-19 shooting and the Heat held the Hawks without a field goal for nearly 13 1/2 minutes during one first-half stretch, beating Atlanta 95-79 on Monday night.
“An important win, a good win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’ll take that.”
Atlanta set a franchise-futility record with its 27-point first half. Still, the Hawks got within seven points early in the final quarter before a quick 11-3 burst fueled by Wade and Mario Chalmers sealed it for the Heat.
“You want to have that mentality to put a team away and keep them away,” Wade said. “They came back … but at the same time, I like the way we put them away after they made their run. The NBA is about that. Teams make runs. So you’ve got to be prepared for it, and when it’s your turn, be prepared to make one.”
Miami had a season-high 12 blocked shots and allowed the Hawks seven assists — the fewest by any Heat opponent this season.
“We just weren’t playing hard,” Johnson acknowledged.
One downside for Miami: Heat rookie Michael Beasley banged knees with Smith in the second quarter and didn’t return.
The team called it a bruised left knee, and Miami’s second-leading scorer this season spent the rest of the game on the bench with a large icepack strapped to his leg. Per team policy, Beasley wears knee pads in practice but hasn’t put them on for games, something he says he’ll change.
“I didn’t want to change my routine. Think I’m going to have to now,” said Beasley, who expects to play against Washington on Wednesday.
Williams’ 3-pointer with 5:57 left in the first quarter gave the Hawks a 12-11 lead.
Things went downhill from there at an incredibly rapid pace for Atlanta.
The Hawks missed their next 13 shots, plus committed 10 turnovers during the drought, during which Miami went on a 22-5 run. Williams and Murray each were 0-for-3, with both having dunk attempts blocked for good measure, and Miami’s halftime lead was 46-27.
At the break, Wade was 8-for-10. Atlanta was 8-for-26, matching the fewest field goals Miami has ever allowed in a first half.
“This game is played in four quarters,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “And we didn’t come to play the first two quarters.”
Still, the Hawks didn’t go quietly.
Down 57-37 after Wade’s jumper with 3:29 remaining in the third, Atlanta made a quick—and somewhat surprising—run.
Murray, who was scoreless to that point, scored 10 points in what became a 20-7 Hawks rally, and with 10:21 remaining, the Hawks were within 64-57.
But Murray forced a bad 3-pointer that missed the rim by about 3 feet with 9:36 left, and that proved to be a spark for the Heat. Miami went on an 8-2 run over the next 61 seconds—capped by Wade blocking Smith’s shot in the lane and setting up a three-point play by Chalmers at the other end—to restore a 72-59 cushion.
Chalmers hit a 3-pointer another minute later, and the Heat eased home from there.
“We put the game in our hands, and the momentum shifted over to us,” Wade said.
Hawks C Al Horford missed his ninth game with a bone bruise in his right knee, but hopes to practice with the team Tuesday. … Atlanta’s previous first-half franchise scoring low was 28, done five times. … Wade played in his 43rd straight game, a new career best. … Former Heat PG Jason Williams sat courtside, sporting a gray Florida Gators sweat suit. … The Heat started Jamaal Magloire at center, his first start since Nov. 19, 2007. … Miami used an 11-man rotation for the second consecutive game.