Quick Thought: Hard to upset a team while shorthanded and handing a more talented team 22 turnovers when on the road. Still, it was there to be had.
Not much to say here. The Heat are known for jumping passing lanes and getting out into transition, but on the majority of the turnovers the Hawks simply dropped the ball or passed it right to the Heat -- no talent necessary. In a minor upset, the Hawks actually won the battle of the fast break points, executing brilliantly all night to edge their hosts, 19-17.
Josh Smith scored 23 points, but he pulled down only six rebounds, his lowest total since the Phoenix game February 6th. It was his lowest rebounding total playing that many minutes since a win over New Jersey January 9th. If he was winded against the Pacers late, it might have carried over to this game as well.
Overall, the Hawks scrapped and I finally gave into the thought that they would eventually pull it out -- they just seem to persevere, but the combination of the turnovers and weak playmaking down the stretch sealed it. You have to take care of the ball and get good shots to beat talented teams on the road and Atlanta didn't do enough of it to earn the win.
A note about meaningless correlations: The Hawks were perfect when Josh Smith scored 20 points or more this season. With 23 points and a loss now to the Heat, that record is kaput. All that record meant anyway was when Josh played efficiently, his scoring total got over 20 points and that would surely help the Hawks win. As Smith is using more possessions now that Joe is off the floor, meaning there would be less efficient nights that Smith scored 20+, it was a matter of time when that perfect record fell.
LeBron James made outside shots, which was okay, because when he took it inside, it was like he was on a ladder and the Hawks were holding it for him as he easily dropped the pill into the bucket. 31 points and 11 rebounds and a pretty good defensive effort as well.
Put yourself in the position of a Heat fan. Your team has two of the best players in the NBA. Not Top 20 best -- more like Top 5 best. Your team has a weakened Hawks team without their two All-Stars and playing Jerry Stackhouse 18 minutes. That the game was in doubt as long as it was probably doesn't fill you with confidence. Yes, you're happy it's a win, but the underlying current beneath the veneer of the notch in the win column is likely troublesome. Think they want the Hawks in a 7-game series? Maybe they can start a support group with the Orlando Magic fans.