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Wade, Beasley lift Heat over sliding Hawks

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade had 28 points and eight rebounds, Michael Beasley scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half and the Miami Heat took control in the opening minutes on the way to beating the Atlanta Hawks 92-75 on Monday night.

Udonis Haslem scored 12 points and Quentin Richardson added 10 rebounds for Miami, which snapped a three-game losing streak and moved within 31/2 games of Atlanta for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat held Atlanta -- which came in averaging 104.9 points -- to a season low, plus finished with a 52-30 rebounding edge.

Jamal Crawford scored 23 points off the bench for the Hawks, who have lost four straight for the first time since Jan. 7-13, 2009. Joe Johnson scored 11 and was the only starter in double figures for Atlanta, which is 2-6 since Dec. 19 and 1-6 this season when scoring less than 96 points.

Atlanta has been Miami's nemesis in recent years, winning 11 of the last 16 meetings including postseason, plus knocking out the Heat in Game 7 of last year's Eastern Conference opening-round series.

Maybe it was those numbers, maybe it was the memory of wasting an early 19-point lead against Charlotte two nights earlier. Something clearly spurred on the Heat early.

Miami made its final seven shots of the first quarter, fueling a 15-2 run that built a 30-14 lead, and the Heat were off and running. Beasley drove for an easy basket, unable to contain his smile as the Heat went up 44-21 midway through the second quarter, and the lead ballooned to as much as 25 before Atlanta outscored Miami 8-0 to make it 51-34 at intermission.

Even with that spurt, the opening two quarters were a debacle for the Hawks. Atlanta set a season low in first-half scoring (previously 41), got outrebounded 28-13 in the first 24 minutes, and really was only saved by Crawford -- who had 15 points by the break, while the rest of his teammates managed only 19 on 7 of 27 shooting.

The Hawks settled in during the third quarter, getting 14 points from the starting backcourt of Johnson and Mike Bibby after they combined for only four in the opening half. But Wade scored nine in the period to ensure the early Heat cushion stayed relatively intact, and Miami took a 73-58 lead into the fourth.