All Heat starters scored in double-digits, something that has not happened all season long (don't quote me on that). Dwyane Wade led the team as usual, but Jermaine O'Neal was not far behind with an impressive performance (22 PTS, 10 REBS, and 3 BLKS). The team made 12 out of their 23 three-point shots, just above 50%. The Heat was simply hot (cheesy but true).
While the offense was electrifying, the defense could be defined as shutdown. The team set an NBA Playoff record in blocked shots by erasing 12 of Atlanta's attempts - Wade and O'Neal had 7 by themselves. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith were flustered all night long as the Heat forced them to shoot a combined 9 of 31. Miami was on their game on both ends of the court, for the exception of the two Atlanta Hawks comeback runs.
As J.O. stated after the game, this game is only "justified if we win on Monday." He's absolutely right. A 2-1 series lead is great and all, but if you lose on Monday night Atlanta regains home court advantage. It would be a wasted effort.
Miami can enjoy Saturday's win and embrace the team's recent surge, but must refocus their attention to game four. Atlanta won't go down like this twice and the Heat must be prepared for a Hawks team that is out for revenge. I am confident about Monday's game and trust D. Wade and Company to take a commanding 3-1 lead going back to the ATL.
"To the Doubters" - Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. (Guard - Miami Heat)