LeBron played as the Nos. 1 through 3 option in the first half as Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade couldn't get their shots going. LeBron's activity on defense in the third quarter was essential to the Heat's comeback and you could tell as he pounded his chest after a 24-second violation. LeBron carried the Heat most of the game, then let Wade do the rest.
It was shaping up to be a brutal night for Wade, but what a finish. He missed a flurry of chip shots at the rim in the early going, with each shot going halfway down before bouncing out. His go-ahead bucket in the post late in the game was critical for the Heat's win. Not his strongest night, but his three assists and bucket late were enormous.
Couldn't doing anything right until the late jumpers. With Wade struggling to hit the bunnies near the rim, the Heat could have used a pressure release from Bosh on Wednesday. But like Wade, the shots just wouldn't go down. This was not his night, but he earned a night off after single-handedly carrying the Heat to a triple-overtime victory in Atlanta back in January.
Down 10 points with 5:24 left in the third quarter, the Heat looked completely out of it on their home floor. Then the skirmish happened. The Heat capitalized on a Hawks turnover spree to rally back and take the lead by the end of the quarter. The scuffle between Zaza Pachulia and James added some extra theatre to a furious comeback.
Gotta hand it to the Hawks. They could have folded with about half their roster out, including the injured Joe Johnson and Al Horford. But the short-handed squad patched together a fine performance on the road. Josh Smith certainly enjoyed the night in the spotlight, taking 22 shots from the floor. A moral victory, if there is such a thing.