The Atlanta Hawks were down double digits for much of the third quarter to the Miami Heat, playing without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, until they stormed back behind the defense and energy of 27-year-old rookie Ivan Johnson — veteran of professional leagues in China, South Korea, Puerto Rico and the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League — playing in his first meaningful NBA minutes.
It was only a matter of time, it seemed, before something sparked the Hawks, who were completely listless for the first half hour of this game. Johnson has provided that, and the Hawks lead the Heat 70-68 after three quarters. Joe Johnson and Josh Smith have 13 points apiece and Willie Green has 14, all of which came in the second quarter.
Chris Bosh, in a leading role, has 20 points and eight rebounds, playing with a group of teammates that must remind him of his days in Toronto. The Heat are playing with energy, but as soon as the Hawks matched that energy, they went on a run and eventually took the lead.