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Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

Hawks hand Heat first loss


MIAMI — Atlanta played zone defense. Tracy McGrady found his zone.

News photo
Bird of prey: Hawks guard Joe Johnson attempts a shot over the Heat's Shane Battier (left) and LeBron James on Monday in Miami. The Hawks won 100-92. AP

And with that, Miami's unbeaten start came to an end.

Joe Johnson scored 21 points, McGrady hit a pair of big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and the Hawks recovered from early 10-point deficits to beat the Heat 100-92 on Monday night.

McGrady and Al Horford each scored 16 for the Hawks (4-1), who opened the final period on a 15-3 run to take control. And McGrady made perhaps the two biggest plays of the night in the final minutes, first throwing a lob to Josh Smith for a dunk, then hitting a 3-pointer that gave the Hawks a 93-84 lead with 2:26 left.

"Been a long time since I had that feeling," McGrady said. "It feels good. It feels right."

LeBron James scored 28 points, Chris Bosh scored 19 and Dwyane Wade finished with 12 points and 10 assists for Miami (5-1). The Heat were outscored 33-21 in the fourth quarter and struggled against Atlanta's zone defense, which not only slowed Miami down but disrupted its rhythm for long stretches.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said not only was the zone effective on the court, it got into Miami's heads as well.

"We need to work through it," Spoelstra said. "Look, we're going to see enough of it that we will have our breakthrough. We hope to have it sooner than later. . . . But you can see, our minds were heavy from that point on and our minds were occupied rather than playing free."

Raptors 90, Knicks 85

In New York, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 points, and Toronto held onto a big lead against the Knicks after wasting one a night earlier.

Timberwolves 106, Spurs 96

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead Minnesota over San Antonio, which lost star guard Manu Ginobili to a broken left hand.

Suns 102, Warriors 91

In Phoenix, Steve Nash scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and rookie Markieff Morris added 16 points to lead the Suns past Golden State.

Celtics 100, Wizards 92

In Boston, Ray Allen scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and the Celtics won for the second straight night against Washington.

Pistons 89, Magic 78

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Ben Gordon scored 26 points, and Detroit overcame some early foul trouble in an impressive defensive effort against Dwight Howard and Orlando.

Pacers 108, Nets 94

In Newark, New Jersey, Paul George scored 21 points and Indiana shot a season-best 52.6 percent to beat the skidding Nets.

Jazz 94, Hornets 90

In Salt Lake City, Al Jefferson scored 22 points and Devin Harris added 19, including a 3-pointer and three free throws down the stretch for the hosts.

Nuggets 91, Bucks 86

In Denver, Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points, including a pair of free throws in the final seconds in a win over Milwaukee.

Mavericks 100, Thunder 87

In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 26 points during the third quarter, sending the Mavericks to a victory.

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