Monday, February 13, 2012

Heat outclass Hawks; Jazz snap losing streak


MANILA, Philippines – The Miami Heat completely manhandled the Atlanta Hawks, 107-87, to increase their lead in the Southeast Division, while the Utah Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak with a 98-88 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

In their last game in Atlanta, the Heat were without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade but leaned on Chris Bosh to win in triple overtime. With Wade and James in uniform, the Heat were in complete control and led by as much as 32 points.

James played only 30 minutes and scored 23 points along with 13 rebounds and six assists, Wade added 21 points, and Bosh contributed 14 markers for the Heat, who played in the first game of a back-to-back-to-back.

"We couldn't have scripted a better start," James told "We played Miami Heat basketball... we were able to get stops defensively, and transition translates to offense."

The Heat have now won 21 games against seven losses and are up three games on the Hawks (18-10) in the Southeast Division. They are four games ahead of the Orlando Magic (17-11).

Willie Green came off the bench to lead the Hawks with 17 points. Joe Johnson was the only other Hawk to score in double figures with 12 points; Josh Smith struggled with his shooting and finished with eight points on four-of-12 shooting, along with seven boards and seven assists.

The Hawks shot 39% from the field and committed 13 turnovers. They were out-rebounded 38-52.

Meanwhile, the Jazz got a season-high 23 points from Gordon Hayward in their win over the Grizzlies, their first victory since February 4.

Utah have lost three straight games against New York, Indiana and Oklahoma City but bounced back against the Grizzlies, who saw their two-game winning streak snapped.

The Jazz, who are also playing the first game of a back-to-back-to-back, limited Rudy Gay's supporting cast as the Grizzlies' bench produced a combined 13 points.

Gay topscored for Memphis with 22 points while Marc Gasol and Mike Conley each added 17 markers.

But the Grizzlies could not recover from a poor start that saw them miss their first eight attempts from the field and go down by as many as 13 points.

They took the lead briefly in the third quarter, 61-59, following a three-point play from Conley. The Jazz quickly answered, however, and the Grizzlies didn’t threaten again.

"Obviously, this is a good first win for us going into it (back-to-back-to-back). We're going to need all the momentum and confidence we can get," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said. "If we can keep our confidence level up and continue to play basketball like we did tonight, we'll be all right."

In Oakland, Monta Ellis had 33 points and seven assists and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets, 106-97.

The Warriors shot 13-of-24 from beyond the arc and led by as much as 14 points against the Rockets.