DimeMag

Hawks beat Heat while Joe Johnson makes late All-Star push

We’ll say this much: Had LeBron James been able to (or wanted to) convince Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to move to Cleveland last summer, they would be playing in a much more electric building for their home games. Last night, as the Heat fell behind early on the scoreboard and couldn’t penetrate Atlanta’s brick wall of a defense, the Miami crowd was more dead than Dr. Conrad Murray’s office phone … LeBron was back after missing two games with an ankle injury, while Bosh sat out with his own ankle injury. Marvin Williams (back) and Jeff Teague (bench cramps) didn’t play for Atlanta, and neither team could get an offensive rhythm going. Mario Chalmers‘ three-pointer at the first-quarter buzzer was the only thing keeping Miami from ending the quarter in single digits, and they fell behind by 13 before LeBron and Wade led a 16-2 run capped by Joel Anthony snuffing a Joe Johnson dunk attempt at the rim and Eddie House sticking the go-ahead trey … The second half was back and forth, and the Hawks led by three with one minute to go. That’s when LeBron began a run – covering the fourth quarter and overtime – where he scored 15 straight points for Miami, including a coast-to-coast finger roll and-one late in regulation that gave Miami the lead before Johnson forced OT with a runner … In the extra frame, LeBron (34 pts, 10 rebs, 7 asts) scored all but two of Miami’s points, while Wade (27 pts) was all but invisible except for the time Josh Smith ran him over on the Hawks’ go-ahead bucket with 30 seconds left. After a terrible Heat possession that resulted in LeBron bricking a 28-footer when he could have taken Mike Bibby to the rack, Johnson added two free throws. “Well, you can make a three and foul right away,” said one Miami announcer hopefully, “but the problem for Miami is they have no timeouts.” Or the problem was they had nobody who was hitting threes (7-30 beyond the arc) … Did Joe Johnson (19 pts, 10 asts) suddenly realize he might not make the All-Star Game this year? He’s been more aggressive over the last two games – last night in Miami and Monday when he dropped 36 on Sacramento – than we’ve ever seen him. Last night he was in constant attack mode, like the play in OT where he caught the ball around midcourt, realized the Heat must have thought Atlanta was going to take a timeout, and exploded to the rim while Miami fell asleep to set up Jamal Crawford for a wide-open three … Speaking of explosion, J-Smoove made the play of the night when he dropped a bomb of a dunk on Anthony in the fourth quarter. Anthony was probably still thinking his night would be defined by the block he had on Joe, but now he’s back on the wrong end of the highlight … According to one Miami announcer, Mike Bibby “plays at his own pace. He doesn’t do what he can’t do.” Translation: Bibby is slow and limited, but at least he knows it … The only other NBA game last night was Bulls/Bobcats, which also went down to the wire. Derrick Rose gave Chicago a one-point lead with one minute left on a driving layup, and Stephen Jackson answered back with a jumper … With eight seconds left Charlotte was still up one and the Bulls had the ball. With everybody in the building expecting D-Rose (33 pts) to get the rock, Rose played the decoy while Kyle Korver slipped behind the defense and got a perfect pass from Kurt Thomas cutting to the rim. But Korver isn’t dunking on anybody, and Tyrus Thomas sent his layup packing. Chicago had another shot, but Rose missed a fadeaway at the buzzer … And it’s gone from bad to worse for the Blazers, who found out Marcus Camby needs surgery due to torn meniscus in his left knee. No word on when Camby might be back, but it may be too late to keep the Blazers in the playoff bracket … Your move, Jimmer: After Kemba Walker hit a game-winning shot to knock off the 7th-ranked team in the country on Monday, Jimmer Fredette had the stage Tuesday. He scored 21 points to go with 5 assists in BYU’s win over TCU. Nothing spectatcular, but the Cougars did improve their record to 17-1 … We’re out like Bibby’s speed …

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