This is the side of the team that seems to show up every other game. Or, is it every other week? In either case, this was the version of the Miami Heat that arrived at AmericanAirlines Arena and demolished the Atlanta Hawks 92-75 on Monday to snap a three-game losing streak.
In the process, the Heat (17-15) dealt the Hawks (21-12) their fourth consecutive loss and improved to 3-1 this season against the teams ahead of it in the Southeast Division. That's right, this is the version of the Heat that is 2-0 against Orlando and 1-1 against Atlanta.
Raise your hand if you've figured out this team and know what to expect from the Heat night in and night out? If you have, this blog is yours. If you can predict how this team is going to play on any given night of the season, I envy you. I see these cats every day and can't figure them out. And get paid to do so.
But I'm not alone. Neither can Pat Riley. Nor can Erik Spoelstra.
At the end of the day, this was a great bounce-back victory after the disheartening home loss to the Bobcats on Saturday night. Yes, that was the other side of this Heat team. The bad side. The side that is 2-2 against the Wizards and Bobcats of the division.
D. WADE'S DOINGS: Look past the game-high 28 points, the efficient 11-of-20 shooting from the field, the perfection on six free-throw attempts, the eight rebounds and the four assists. Those are the type of numbers you've come to expect from Wade, despite the few duds he's provided this season. What was most impressive about Wade's night was the lone turnover in nearly 34 minutes. This was pure gold, considering dude has committed 29 turnovers in the past three games. It was also a good sign for Heat fans to see Wade set up Michael Beasley for a few scores early in the game when Beasley had it going.
TURNING POINT: The Heat turned it on from the opening tip and raced out to a 30-14 halftime lead. And this time, Miami managed to maintain that foot-on-the-gas pace. The hot start was the turning point in this game for the Heat, which couldn't maintain a similar performance Saturday against Charlotte. Miami led 29-10 in that one and somehow found a way to trail at the half and lose 107-97. There was pure chemistry in that first quarter on Monday, with Beasley turning in 11 points and 4 boards, Wade adding nine points and three assists, Richardson harassing Joe Johnson and Joel Anthony holding down Al Horford.
WINNING EDGE: This one's easy. Real easy. The Heat outrebounded the bigger, more athletic, more explosive Hawks 52-30. It was the 15th-highest rebounding margin in Heat history. Five different Heat players finished with at least eight boards, led by the 10 apiece from Jamaal Magloire and Quentin Richardson.
HEAD-SCRATCHER: For some reason, there has been a stoppage of play in each of the last two Heat home games after the opposing coach complained of a fan blowing a whistle in the crowd on Miami's offensive end of the court. Security even went into the stands to find someone during the loss to Charlotte. The same thing happened in the first half of Monday's game against Atlanta. The beef is that the visiting team's players instinctively stopped guarding on defense when they heard what they thought was an official's whistle. The assailant, apparently, remains on the lose. He or she might even have been encouraged to show up for Wednesday's game against the Celtics if it gives the Heat anything resembling a home-court advantage. Because there hasn't been much of one at the Triple-A this season.
KEY CONTRIBUTION: Jamaal "Big Cat" Magloire shook off the rigor mortis and was tossed into the rotation after Jermaine O'Neal was scratched from the lineup with a hip flexor. Magloire has been clamoring for his shot at meaningful playing time for weeks. He got some against the Hawks. Beasley had more points, Anthony got the start at center, Richardson played more minutes and Udonis Haslem scored more points. But Cat did the most damage down low. It's good to see the dude get rewarded like this. He had a season-high 10 rebounds, a season-high two blocks and played a season-high 21 minutes. File this one under the Head-scratcher, too. Because I just can't figure out why Cat hasn't gotten more burn from the staff this year.
NEXT UP: Celtics at Heat, 7:30 Wednesday - AmericanAirlines Arena