Hawks can't hold 10-point lead in loss to Heat (updated)

022013 ATLANTA: Miami Heat Dwyane Wade helps double team Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith during the first half of a NBA game on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Atlanta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
caption arrowCaption
022013 ATLANTA: Miami Heat Dwyane Wade helps double team Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith during the first half of a NBA game on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, in Atlanta. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Credit: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

Credit: CURTIS COMPTON / AJC

The warning was issued.

The Hawks could not afford to pay so much attention to the Big Three of the Heat that they forgot about Miami’s supporting cast. Enter Shane Battier and Ray Allen. The reserve duo combined to score 24 fourth-quarter points as the Heat erased a 10-point deficit in a 103-90 victory Wednesday in what could be Josh Smith’s final game as an Atlanta Hawk.

Battier hit three fourth-quarter 3-pointers and Allen two more in the decisive period. The Heat went on a 13-0 run to start the fourth quarter to completely erase the Hawks’ advantage. When Allen hit a 3-pointer with 3:14 remaining, the Heat had an 11-point lead. It would grow to as many as 14 points as the Heat outscored the Hawks 40-17.

“They made a run at the beginning of the fourth quarter and it set the tone,” guard Devin Harris said. “It knocked us back on our heels. We couldn’t recover. We ended the third quarter on a good note but we have to have a better start to the fourth quarter.”

The Hawks (29-23) had their two-game winning streak snapped. They have now lost six straight to the Heat, including all three matchups this season, and seven in a row at Philips Arena.

Al Horford led the Hawks with 27 points. Smith, the subject of much trade speculation, had 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Kyle Korver (12 points) and Ivan Johnson (10) were the Hawks’ other double-digit scorers.

“I just try to tune everything out,” Smith said of the trade talk. “It’s pretty much everywhere. It’s hard not for it to come up. I’m trying to stay close to my family and not put my ear to the streets or the media and just focus on basketball.

“I don’t know (if this was his final game with the Hawks). We’ll have to see at Thursday at 3 p.m. We’ll see. Who knows?”

Smith remained a member of the Hawks hours before the trade deadline. The team has had trade conversations about the forward, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Smith was in the starting lineup Wednesday, a sign that no trade was imminent.

General manager Danny Ferry has declined to comment on the trade deadline or speculation involving Smith.

“I think it will be a relief of all the questions I have to keep answering,” Smith said of the deadline. “Whether it happens or not, I’m going to still play hard. This organization gave me so much over the years. They gave me a chance to play my dream.

“Minus the first three years when I first got here, we had some successful seasons. We had some emotional playoff runs. There are a lot of positives that you can take. I understand that it’s a business. Whatever happens, happens.”

The Heat (37-14) won for the eighth straight time. LeBron James finished with 24 points and Dwyane Wade added 20. Chris Bosh, the other of the Heat’s Big Three, had four points on 1 of 9 shooting.

Battier finished with 17 points and Allen had 15.

“We lost them a couple of times,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said. “That just can’t happen. … In situations where we could have easily switched and got a body on a body, we just didn’t communicate it. Two guys ran at one guy. They threw it back to the open guy. It’s not anything that we have not discussed. It’s not anything that we have not gone over.”

The Hawks took a 10-point lead, 73-63, into the final quarter. They led by as many as 11 points in the period. Korver had nine points, on three 3-pointers, in the quarter. Two came sandwiched between baskets by Horford and Smith as part of a 10-0 run.

Korver hit a first-quarter 3-pointer to extend his franchise record streak to 46 straight games with a long-range basket.

The Hawks held a 49-45 halftime lead, erasing a nine-point second-quarter deficit. They went on a 20-5 run at the end of the second quarter to lead by six points. Only a James basket at the intermission buzzer snapped the run. The Hawks grabbed the lead despite 11 first-half turnovers.

Horford led the Hawks with 14 first-half points. Johnson added 10 points, eight coming in the second quarter. James had 18 first-half points for the Heat.

The Hawks finished with 21 turnovers, one off their season high.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Drew said. “You can’t have that many breakdowns against a team like this.”

There was plenty of star power in the Philips Arena crowd with Falcons Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Julio Jones, rap stars Ludicris and Two Chainz, boxer Evander Holyfield and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed in attendance.

About the Author

Editors' Picks