Hawks Cool Off Heat with ‘3-Mac’

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
By Jon Newberry

Atlanta 100 – Miami 92

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The Hawks handed the Heat their first loss of the 2011-12 season and improved their own record to 4-1 by posting a 100-92 win in Miami on Monday night. Tracy McGrady, now in his 15th season in the NBA, may not have the athleticism he had when he entered the league as a teenager, but on this night he showed that he can still knock down the 3-ball in clutch situations.

Atlanta executed Larry Drew’s game plan extremely well through the first three quarters, save for a few spurts where they let the Heat get out in transition for easy baskets. In the halfcourt the Hawks forced Miami to settle for perimeter shots with a mix of zone defense and more switching on ball screens than they typically employ. To keep the Heat from getting out in transition the Hawks had solid shot selection and only committed nine turnovers in the game.

All of the Hawks efforts set them up for a clutch fourth quarter by McGrady. T-Mac played all 12 minutes of the final period, scoring 13 of his 16 points while hitting all three of his attempts from behind the arc. For good measure, he added five rebounds and four assists to help Atlanta turn a four-point deficit into an eight-point win.

Joe Johnson also hit a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, helping him finish with a team-high 21 points, while Al Horford added 16 points and nine rebounds. Jeff Teague had another solid game at point guard, consistently breaking down Miami’s defense and getting into the paint while taking good care of the ball. Jeff hit six of his first seven shots while scoring 13 of his 15 points in the first half to keep the Hawks within striking distance.

LeBron James finished with a game-high 28 points and Chris Bosh added 19, but the Hawks did a great job of keeping Dwyane Wade out of the lane and settling for jumpers. Wade had 10 assists and scored 12 points, but he shot just 4-of-17 from the field.

The real story of the game was the clutch play from McGrady. With the condensed schedule and T-Mac’s injury history the Hawks shouldn’t plan on counting on these kind of heroics every night, but I think tonight proved that he still has plenty left in the tank to make a big contribution this season. He is definitely not afraid of stepping in to take the big shots.

GAME NOTES FROM HAWKS PR:

— On the strength of 21 points from Joe Johnson and a solid 16 off the bench from Tracy McGrady, the Atlanta Hawks knocked off the previously unbeaten Miami Heat, 100-92 Monday at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

–The win was Atlanta’s fourth in five games, and dropped Miami to 5-1.

— Al Horford also finished with 16 and Jeff Teague turned in a smooth, 15-point, five-assist and four-steal night.

— The Heat led by as many as 10 early, and took a 23-19 lead after one.  Atlanta narrowed the margin at the half, behind Teague’s 13 first half points, 50-47.  The Hawks took advantage of nine Miami turnovers, converting them into 14 points.

— Atlanta trailed by four heading into the final quarter (71-67), and completely dominated the home team in the fourth, outscoring them 33-21.  The Hawks shot 60% in the fourth, making 9-of-15 FGs and held the Heat to 37 percent shooting.

— McGrady had 13 of his 16 points in that crucial fourth, drilling three three-point FGs.

— Atlanta wraps up this three-game road trip Tuesday at Chicago at 8 ET (Sportsouth HD, NBA TV, 680 AM and 93.7 FM).

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