partlycloudy
Saturday July 4th, 2015 3:03AM

With big night from James, Heat top Hawks, 101-92

By The Associated Press
MIAMI -- LeBron James leaped as high as he can soar. Dwyane Wade shot better than he ever has before.

And when the Miami Heat stars are on their games like that ... "We probably won't lose," James said.

Such was the case Monday night. James scored 27 points, Wade had 26 and the Heat pulled away in the second half to beat the Atlanta Hawks 101-92, improving to 10-1 at home this season.

James (10 for 16) and Wade (11 for 13, the best single-game shooting percentage of his career) made 21 of 29 shots for Miami, which shot 58 percent as a team. Chris Bosh had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Norris Cole made all four of his shots to score 10 for the Heat, who handed the Hawks just their second loss in 11 games.

"Just trying to be as efficient as I can," Wade said. "Shooting 13 shots, it's nothing I'm used to. Some nights you go for 11-for-13. Some nights you go 3 for 13. But you just try to continue to be aggressive and continue taking shots."

Josh Smith scored 22 points and Al Horford finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta, which briefly held the lead midway through the third quarter before the Heat got rolling and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Hawks in the Southeast Division.

Atlanta has dropped both games against Miami this season and is 1-7 against the Heat since March 2011.

"We gave LeBron and D-Wade some opportunities to be able to get some layups early on and whenever you play against a team like that or whenever you give a great player opportunities to get layups first, the rim gets that much bigger," Smith said. "And they started hitting all kinds of shots."

A big third-quarter run put the Heat in control, and one of James' best dunks this season helped seal it in the fourth. Cole took a pass from Ray Allen, dribbled once and nonchalantly flipped the ball toward the rim.

James, who also had seven rebounds and six assists, did the rest.

James leaped - the top of his fingers stretched easily more than a foot above the basket - for a slam with 9:51 left, and the Heat weren't threatened in the final minutes.

"Cole made me go get it, for sure," James said. "He actually took that literally when I told him, `Just throw it anywhere.'"

Said Wade: "That's his bionic leg."

Wade is now 20 for 25 in his last two games from the floor, scoring 26 points in each, and maybe it's not a coincidence that those outings came after NBA analyst Charles Barkley - Wade's one-time cell phone commercial co-star - said what he's been saying many times in the past couple years: The 2006 NBA Finals MVP's game is declining.

"It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up," James said. "I mean, the man's shooting 80 percent from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That's like crazy, right? That's why who he is."

The Heat came into Monday night talking about how this particular game was significant for many reasons, foremost among them the Hawks' position in the division.

And while it's way too early to take more than a passing interest in the standings, Miami had taken notice of Atlanta's early success.

"We've been watching," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The up-close-and-personal view wasn't a surprise, then.

Miami led 56-54 at intermission, a well-played half where neither team led by more than five points. The Heat shot 64 percent from the field in the opening two quarters, 50 percent from 3-point range - but a mere 44 percent from the line, part of the reason why the margin was only two points at the break.

James finished each of the first two quarters with a flurry, first going 1-on-4 for a driving layup to give Miami a 28-26 lead, then blowing past Horford for a layup-and-foul and putting the Heat up two with 14.6 seconds left in the half.

The Hawks were helped mightily by a friend of Heat opponents of late, the 3-pointer. Atlanta made seven from beyond the arc in the half, and through three quarters, Smith was 4 for 4 - already matching his career-best single-game total from long range.

But in the third, Miami began to flex its muscles.

Jeff Teague made a 3-pointer midway through the third to give Atlanta a 65-63 lead, but after that, Miami took off running.

"We made just entirely too many mistakes," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "Too many mental mistakes against a very good a basketball team. Against Miami you can't do that."

A 17-4 run was the difference maker, turning a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead with 1:24 remaining in the third. Wade got it started with a jumper, and he wound up with eight during the burst, including a layup off a perfect pass by James from the right side of the lane. Shane Battier made two 3-pointers in the run, including the shot that ended it, and Miami's margin was suddenly 80-69.

NOTES: Celebrities were everywhere, with Jay-Z (a close friend of James, who gave his pal a long look after the alley-oop slam on the Cole pass) and Beyonce near the Hawks' bench, Floyd Mayweather Jr. across from the Miami bench and Lil Wayne watching from his now-usual baseline seat, headphones on virtually all night. ... The Heat were without Udonis Haslem (flu), and the Hawks played without Kyle Korver (back spasms). ... Smith entered the night 8 for 21 from 3-point range. ... The Heat caught a break late in the second quarter, when a pass from James was headed out of bounds before it caromed off the leg of referee Karl Lane. Mario Chalmers wound up setting James up for a layup and a 50-49 Miami lead.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 2 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 2 years ago )
Sports
Williams, Horford pace Hawks past Indiana
Lou Williams had 21 points and a career-high 12 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and the Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight, 109-100 over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
10:19PM ( 2 years ago )
Gwinnett wallops Greenville, 6-2
Five different Gladiators racked up multiple points, as Gwinnett dominated the Greenville Road Warriors 6-2 Saturday night at the BI-LO Center to move into a tie atop the South Division with Greenville.
10:05PM ( 2 years ago )
Teague leads Hawks past Cavaliers, 102-94
Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points and the Atlanta Hawks scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 on Friday night.
10:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Professional Sports
Uribe homer lifts Braves past Phillies
Juan Uribe hit a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning, Julio Teheran delivered another strong home start and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 on Friday night.
By The Associated Press
8:03AM ( 4 hours from now )
G-Braves split DH with Charlotte to end road trip
Behind a complete game from former Major League right-handed starter Brad Penny and a four homer attack, the Charlotte Knights whipped the Gwinnett Braves by a score of 11-2 on Friday night in the second game of the day/night doubleheader at BB&T Ballpark.
By AccessWDUN staff
11:19PM ( 3 hours ago )
Gainesville Braves best of 32; win USSSA World Series
Two come-from-behind wins, last-inning heroics and timely pitching meant one thing for the 9-and-under Gainesville Braves travel baseball team the last week of June: a USSSA World Series title.
2:50PM ( 12 hours ago )
Maybin gives Braves walk-off win over Nats
Cameron Maybin drove in the go-ahead run with a chopper against Max Scherzer that bounced over third base in the ninth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
By The Associated Press
9:23AM ( 17 hours ago )
Wolves' Bennett signs with Reds
Former Buford High standout pitcher Connor Bennett signed with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday. Bennett was drafted in 34th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by Cincinnati.
By AccessWDUN staff
9:15AM ( 17 hours ago )