MIAMI - Center Chris Bosh and teammates picked up the slack on a night when guard Dwyane Wade wore a suit and LeBron James had his lowest scoring game of the season.
With Wade sitting out because of sore knees, Bosh scored a game-high 19 points as the Miami Heat defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 104-88, on Tuesday night.
"I've been trying to work on my aggression early and it doesn't necessarily means taking a lot of shots," said Bosh, who shot 8-of-9 from the field. "I understand with this team everyone has to be efficient. I really tried to focus of getting down there in the block and getting some easy buckets. It kind of got me going.
"I just have to keep it up."
The Heat (8-3) broke the game open with a 20-4 surge that stretched from midway through the second quarter and into the third period.
Guard Mario Chalmers finished with 14 points and scored nine unanswered points midway through the third quarter as Miami increased a three-point halftime lead and took its first double-digit advantage. Chalmers' second straight 3-pointer with 5:06 remaining in the period increased the Heat's lead to 68-54. Chalmers started his spurt on a 3-point-play with 5:45 left.
"We try to get out in transition and let our defense be our offense most of the time," Chalmers said.
The Heat forced 24 Hawks turnovers. The Heat built a large lead after three periods and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra substituted freely and rested his starters for Wednesday's second of a back-to-back set at Orlando.
"I was open-minded, and that's the way I went into it in the fourth," Spoelstra said of the reserves. "They have accepted their roles, understanding what it is and they just want to contribute."
The Hawks got no closer than 80-71 after forward Cartier Martin's 3-pointer 1:59 into the fourth quarter.
"Give Miami and their defense a lot of credit," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Their activity can make it difficult on you offensively. We turned the ball over too many times.
Reserve forward Mike Scott finished with a double-double 15 points and 10 rebouns center Pedro Antic scored 12 points to lead the Hawks (6-4). Forward Al Horford also finished with 12 points but was held scoreless in the second half for Atlanta, which had won four of its previous five games.
"We just turned the ball over. I turned the ball over a couple of times," Scott said. "Their defense sped us up. Especially myself, I have to play with more poise."
Reserve guard Ray Allen, returning from a three-game absence, scored 17 points and shot 3-of-5 from behind the arc.
Bosh's corner 3-pointer with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter capped a 13-2 run and gave the Heat a 43-38 lead. Bosh shot 8-of-9 from the field.
James was limited to 13 points but increased his consecutive double-figure scoring streak to 506. James sat out the fourth quarter after the Heat built their double digit lead.
Held scoreless in the first quarter, James scored 10 points in the second period. James' layup with 16 seconds remaining in the quarter gave Miami a 48-45 lead at halftime.
The Hawks had three separate six-point leads in the second quarter, the last on DeMarre Carroll's layup with 5:56 remaining for a 36-30 advantage.
NOTES: The Heat continue to limit G Dwyane Wade's games to rest his sore knees. Coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade will travel with the team for the second game of a back-to-back set Wednesday at Orlando. ... G Ray Allen, F Udonis Haslem and G Mario Chalmers returned to action against the Hawks. Haslem missed the past four games because of back spasms, while an illness sidelined Allen for three games. Chalmers served a one-game suspension for his flagrant foul on Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki in Miami's 110-104 win against the Mavericks on Nov. 15. ... On Tuesday, the Hawks began a stretch of four-games over the next five nights. Although early in the season, coach Mike Budenholzer said the Hawks will have plenty of opportunities to find themselves during the busy period. ... C Gustavo Ayon started his third consecutive game over F Paul Millsap, who was inactive against Miami.