ATLANTA - If the Hawks lose again in the opening round of the playoffs, they may remember that pesky bird flying around their arena, disrupting the opening minutes of Game 2.
Then again, if the Hawks had shown as much feistiness as their real-life mascot, they might have done a better job coping with Dwyane Wade and the Heat.
After getting blown out in the series opener, the Heat bounced back for a 108-93 victory Wednesday night that evened the series with Atlanta. Not surprisingly, it was Wade leading the way -- showing up early for some extra shooting, admonishing his teammates to get serious before the game, scoring 33 points to spark the win.
"I've been feeling it coming, feeling it coming," Wade said. "I didn't see nothing but the basket, and it was getting bigger and bigger."
With 13 straight points to close the first half and an unlikely 3-pointer off the backboard in the waning minutes, Wade showed it's hard to keep him down two games in a row. He already had more points by halftime than he had in Game 1, when he was held to 19 points and turned it over eight times in a 90-64 loss.
Now, the Heat have the home-court advantage. Game 3 is Saturday in Miami.
"It's just one game," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "It's a long series and we have to go back and get a game in Miami."
Only once during the regular season was Wade held to less than 20 points in consecutive games, and he wasn't about to let it happen again in the playoffs. This was vintage D-Wade -- 6-of-10 from 3-point range, 11-of-20 overall, five rebounds, seven assists, two blocked shots and a steal.
"He set the tone," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Before I came out to talk to the team, right before the game, there was some joking and laughing in the locker room and I heard him tell everybody to shut up and get their minds on the game."
After trailing by as many as 18, the Hawks twice closed within five points in the fourth quarter -- but never got over the hump. Wade delivered the decisive blow when, with the shot clock running down, he threw up a long 3-pointer. The shot was errant, but it banked in for a basket that was just as good as a swish.
"I didn't call 'bank,"' Wade quipped. "Just like everybody in the building, I'm not going to tell a story, I was shocked, too."
The improbable shot pushed the Heat to a 101-91 lead, and Atlanta was done.
The Hawks should have known this wouldn't be their night when "Spirit," an actual hawk that flies down from the rafters during the pre-game introductions, decided to hang around for the tipoff. The game had to be halted for a couple of minutes when the fierce-looking bird landed on the top of the backboard; he finally flew to his handler and was led out of the building.
Turns out, the real hawk showed more aggressiveness than any of the players wearing Hawks across the front of their jerseys until the fourth quarter, when Atlanta finally came to life.
"We didn't start the game with a sense of urgency, like the start of the first game," Smith said. "We didn't play together. Put those two negatives together, and that's what caused us to lose. We were playing selfish on offense."
Unlike the loss in Game 1, when only one other Miami player scored in double figures, Wade had plenty of help this time. Daequan Cook scored 20 points, going 6-of-9 from 3-point range to make up for an 0-for-5 showing beyond the arc on Sunday night.
Jermaine O'Neal scored 19 points, giving the Heat a presence on the inside. Michael Beasley added 12 and Udonis Haslem 10.
Mike Bibby led the Hawks with 18 points, but the home team shot only 44 percent from the field and struggled at the foul line, making 19-of-30.
Joe Johnson, Atlanta's leading scorer during the regular season, had an especially miserable night. He made just 5 of 13 from the field and missed several key shots in the final period that might have made a difference.
Blame it on the bird.