MIAMI – Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade went on a scoring spree to lift the Heat to a 101-92 victory at home over Southeast rivals Atlanta last night, opening up a 1.5 game gap over the Hawks.
James tallied 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Wade scored 26 points to snap Atlanta’s three-game win streak and keep the Heat (14-5) ahead of the Hawks (12-6).
Reigning league MVP James punctuated the win with a thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter where he took an alley-oop from Norris Cole and soared high above the rim.
“Cole made me go get it, for sure,” James told reporters. “He actually took that literally when I told him, ‘Just throw it anywhere.”
After a close first half, Miami trailed 65-63 in the third quarter before seizing the momentum with a run of nine straight points. The Heat finished the stretch with a 14-2 advantage to open up a 10-point lead.
Wade came to life during the run with eight points, and was red-hot for the game, making 11 of his 13 shots.
Wade, a former NBA Finals MVP, has had a few tough shooting performances this season leading some to worry about his decline but he was at his best against Atlanta.
After two losses last week, the champions have now won two straight.
Josh Smith scored 22 points for the Hawks, and Al Horford finished with 20 and 11 rebounds.
Atlanta employed three guards in their starting lineup, with DeShawn Stevenson, Devin Harris and Jeff Teague, but it did little to jolt their offence.
The visitors shot just 42 percent from the field and could find no way to stop the Heat.Other Monday night scores were: Pistons 97, 76ers 104; Warriors 104, Bobcats 96; Spurs 134, Rockets 126; Kings 96, Mavericks 119; Raptors 74, Trail Blazers 92.††