The Union Recorder

Local Sports

December 11, 2012

With big night from James, Heat top Hawks, 101-92

(Continued)

MIAMI —

James, who also had seven rebounds and six assists, did the rest.

James leaped — the top of his fingers stretched easily more than a foot above the basket — for a slam with 9:51 left, and the Heat weren't threatened in the final minutes.

"Cole made me go get it, for sure," James said. "He actually took that literally when I told him, 'Just throw it anywhere.'"

Said Wade: "That's his bionic leg."

Wade is now 20 for 25 in his last two games from the floor, scoring 26 points in each, and maybe it's not a coincidence that those outings came after NBA analyst Charles Barkley — Wade's one-time cell phone commercial co-star — said what he's been saying many times in the past couple years: The 2006 NBA Finals MVP's game is declining.

"It means Charles Barkley needs to shut up," James said. "I mean, the man's shooting 80 percent from the floor in the last couple games. Come on, man. That's like crazy, right? That's why who he is."

The Heat came into Monday night talking about how this particular game was significant for many reasons, foremost among them the Hawks' position in the division.

And while it's way too early to take more than a passing interest in the standings, Miami had taken notice of Atlanta's early success.

"We've been watching," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The up-close-and-personal view wasn't a surprise, then.

Miami led 56-54 at intermission, a well-played half where neither team led by more than five points. The Heat shot 64 percent from the field in the opening two quarters, 50 percent from 3-point range — but a mere 44 percent from the line, part of the reason why the margin was only two points at the break.

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