Notebook: Heat 103, Hawks 90

Posted Feb 21, 2013 12:00 AM

Matt Winkeljohn, for

THE FACTS: The Hawks were 24-1 when leading after three quarters and they were up by 10 on the Heat entering the fourth Wednesday.

Didn't matter.

LeBron James turned into the ultimate facilitator while racking up eight of his game-high 11 assists in the final period as the visitors switched into a new gear and outscored the Hawks by 23 points for a 103-90 win -- Miami's eighth straight victory.

Miami (37-14) outscored the Hawks 40-17 in the fourth even though James scored just four of his 24 points in the period. Miami's chief bench players, Ray Allen and Shane Battier, did the bulk of the damage with 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the quarter.

Atlanta (29-23) outrebounded Miami 42-33, had 28 assists and shot 50 percent as Al Horford scored a game-high 27 points. But the Hawks had 21 turnovers leading to 23 Heat points. James led all players with four of Miami's 11 steals.

The Hawks led 73-63 after three quarters before Miami scored the first 13 points of the fourth. Battier and Allen combined for the first 11 points in that stretch, and they combined for 5 3-pointers in the period.

Several Heat players scored on back cuts -- usually receiving passes from James -- in the fourth quarter, when Miami shot 14-for-18 (77.8 percent). The Heat were 5-for-6 from distance in the period.

Kyle Korver scored 12 points for Atlanta, all on 3-pointers, and Josh Smith and Ivan Johnson scored 10 each.

Dwyane Wade had 20 points, Battier 17 and Allen 15 for Miami, which beat Atlanta for the sixth straight time, and for the seventh straight time in Philips Arena.

QUOTABLE: "He can do it so many ways. He can re-invent himself within a game. We couldn't get free with our normal actions. We played him at [center], we were using him as a screener, and then we played the high-low game like [the Kings used to do] with Vlade [Divac] and Chris [Webber]."

-- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, talking about deploying James differently late in the third quarter and in the fourth.

THE STAT: 13 -- The Heat had 13 assists in the fourth quarter.

TURNING POINT: Miami turned the game dramatically and for good early in the fourth quarter with James frequently working out of the high post.

The Heat did their damage from the 3-point line, where Allen and Battier were a combined 5-for-6, and in the paint, where they scored 16 mostly on back cuts. Discounting the seven free throws Miami made in the period, they scored just two of their 33 points between the 3-point line and the paint -- a 19-foot jumper from Chris Bosh.

QUOTABLE II: "We couldn't figure out a play they were running."

-- Korver, on Atlanta's utter defensive daze in the fourth quarter.

HOT: Horford shot a season-best 12-for-15. He has scored at least 20 points in three straight games for the first time in his career. Horford shot 27-for-39 (69.2 percent) in those games. . . . Allen shot 5-for-6, including 2-for-2 on 3-pointers, and made his only free throw in the fourth quarter. . . . Battier shot 3-for-4 -- all 3-pointers -- and made both his free throws in the final period. . . . Smith's team-high nine assists gave him 34 in the past five games. . . .

NOT: Bosh missed his first eight shots before making his last two.

IN THE CROWD: The Heat fetched quite the crowd. Hall of Famer Julius Erving was at the game, and local rapper 2 Chainz, local hip-hop artist Ludacris, local former world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, and the bulk of the Atlanta Falcons' passing attack were present. Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White represented the local NFL outpost. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed also attended the game.

QUOTABLE III: "We were able to hold them to 17 points on the defensive end in the fourth quarter, and then on the offensive end we executed. We were in tune with everything that they were running."
-- James.

NOTABLE: Heat guard Mike Miller did not play. He was ill.

UP NEXT: For the Heat, Wednesday at Chicago, Friday @ Philadelphia, Saturday vs. Cleveland. For the Hawks, Friday vs. Sacramento, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Monday @ Detroit.