After two straight losses last week, including one to the woeful Washington Wizards, some major questions began to arise about the Miami Heat defense. The Heat responded with a dominant performance over the weekend, smashing the New Orleans Hornets 106-90 on Saturday night.
Things started out poorly, as New Orleans led 32-31 after the first quarter. But then the Miami defense finally clamped down, giving up just 58 points in the final three quarters. Dwyane Wade led the way, scoring 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. LeBron James added 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
Monday, Miami faces a big contest against the red-hot Atlanta Hawks, who are winners of nine of their last 10. The Hawks got two wins over the weekend, including a huge victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic split two games, losing to the Sacramento Kings on Friday and beating the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. The Magic fell apart down the stretch in the 91-82 loss to the Kings, getting outscored 29-18 in the fourth quarter. Against the Suns, J.J. Redick led the way with 20 points, while rookie Andrew Nicholson scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Elsewhere in the Southeast Division, the Charlotte Bobcats lost two games, getting blown out by the Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs. The Wizards also lost two games, dropping to the Hawks and the Golden State Warriors.