Heat at Hawks: You play to win the game

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Friday, January 06, 2012 with No comments
   With Dwyane Wade out with a sore foot and LeBron James out with an ankle sprain, the Miami Heat were on the road to battle the Atlanta Hawks who they'd just lost to days earlier.  Featuring a line up of Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams, the Miami Heat were out numbered when it came to stars, pedigree.

The Heat were not supposed to win

Before the game it was said that
the Heat would win based on the fact that Chris Bosh is a member of the Big Three and should be able to lead the Heat to a victory.  A disagreement between the analyst ensued but the stage was set, Chris Bosh had to have a monster night in order for the Heat to at least have a shot at winning.  Bosh finished the night with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assist and he carried the Heat on his broad shoulders.

The Heat were not supposed to win

Mario Chalmers played perhaps his best game as a pro.  He was aggressive and in control for most of the night, a calming presence with very few mistakes made.  It was a night where he was finally able to push back the challenge of his would be replacement Norris Cole.  During this game Chalmers scored 29, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 7 rebounds, and finished the evening with 3 steals, all the while hitting timely shots.

The Heat were not supposed to win

It was one of those games that are considered a trap game, a home game with your opponents injured and playing on the second night of a back to back.  If it were a movie, the script would have had you winning the game by 20 points, a demolishing should have been the outcome but in reality truths were revealed.  Tonight revealed that one really is at their most dangerous when they are wounded.  One team showed the heart of a champion while the other showed that they are yet to be ready to take the next step.  One coach showed his value while the other was left in a daze.  Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was masterful tonight and anyone who questions his coaching ability must take a look at his management of this game.  Hawks coach Larry Drew seemingly has to go back to the drawing board.

The Hawks simply had to win this game, defeat their wounded opponent, show the league that they are capable of being a power house and yet they failed miserably.  The Hawks displayed a lack of focus and intensity throughout the night and it became clear that the team is simply soft.  How could you play with a lack of aggression, lack of passion on this night, the night where you could have turned heads for all the right reasons but now you have more questions that answers.  Where's the leadership?  Is Larry Drew the right coach for the team?  Is it time to break up your core of Williams, Horford, Smith, and Johnson?  Was Joe Johnson worth the $120 million contract that he was awarded but at the same time set the franchise back for perhaps the next 5 years?  In the NBA there's only winning or misery.

Heat forward Shane Battier tweeted after the game:

"Now THAT was one of the best wins of my career.  We showed great toughness and unity.  How about CB, MC, and T-harris?  HUGE efforts!!"

Hawks center Al Horford stated:

"This by far has to be my worst defeat here as a Hawk.  I didn't feel like we wanted to win this game."

Winning or misery

Who would have thought that on a regular season night where one team was wounded and the other disinterested, that we'd be blessed with a triple overtime thriller that featured the wounded team playing with heart and the other playing heartless.  You play, to win the game.......I guess the Hawks didn't see the speech below.