Mike Bibby poured in five points and Marvin Williams followed with a long-range 3-pointer to post the Atlanta Hawks to a 98-89 win over the Miami Heat in a competitive one at Philips Arena. Atlanta somehow overcame 38 points by LeBron James to defeat the big
three, two of Chris Bosh and James.
Joe Johnson, who had 27 points, sealed the win with a late 3-pointer to win it for the Hawks, who have just two wins this preseason.
"Preseason is winding down we just want to fine tune for the regular season," Johnson told TNT's David Aldridge afterward. "These last two games are important for us."
Perhaps Atlanta wanted to send a bit of a message, too. The Hawks seemed to finally get coach Larry Drew's new offensive scheme, sharing the basketball. Five Atlanta players finished in double figures. Mike Bibby had 13, Al Horford poured in 12 and Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith added 11. The team dished 23 assists.
"As long as we have good ball movement and set picks, everyone is going to get open shots. We just need to stay focused," Johnson said. "It keeps the defense honest and you can't double team."
The win was a bit of a statement for the Hawks against their much-improved division rival, who signed perennial All-Star free agents James and Bosh to compliment Dwyane Wade in the offseason.
Wade missed this one because he was in Chicago fighting for custody of his children. He also is nursing a hamstring injury. Miami missed Wade down the stretch. The team missed its last five shots as the Hawks scored the 14 of the final 15 points of the contest to dispatch of the Heat.
The run was good enough to overcome a terrible shot choice by Smith in the final moments. With Atlanta up by 3 with 90 seconds left, the Atlanta forward pulled up and took an ill-advised shot from beyond the arc. Luckily, Mario Chalmers missed his chance on the other side of the floor before Williams put the game out of reach with his trey.
Nevertheless, when will Smith learn not to take the three? I love J-Smoove and have covered him since he was a rookie with the old PA SportsTicker. He's one of the best cats in the locker room if you want a good quote, but Smith is effective in the post not from downtown. He should know better than to take that shot by now.