Having spoken just days earlier of needing to beat teams out of the playoff picture, Spoelstra instead saw his team put forward a rendering that made one wonder whether they suddenly gained visions of the potential of Duke forward Zion Williamson.
It is doubtful any NBA-level team could have looked much worse. The Heat shot .356 from the field, 5 of 34 on 3-pointers and 15 of 27 from the foul line.
"They started making shots and then it started to see like our fight went away from that point on," Wade said. "Once they go up, we couldn't come back."
Five degrees of Heat from Sunday's game:
1. Can’t have nice things: It likely isn't arrogance, but it has to be something, because the Heat simply refuse to seize opportunities.
After finally completing the push to get over .500 with Friday's victory over the Washington Wizards, the Heat fell back to that level at 19-19 largely because of losses such as these.
Unlike the previous two losses to the Hawks, this wasn't the case of the Hawks imposing their pace on the Heat.
This was offensive incompetence to the level of Hassan Whiteside believing a pair of 3-point heaves was as good as it could get for the Heat.
For much of the night, it was as if the Heat couldn't be bothered looking for better looks.
"If you don't bring your best effort, your best game, best focus, you can pay the price and get beat at any time," Spoelstra said. "It was urgency and attention to detail that we lacked tonight."
2. Waiters and Ellington watch: Even with the Heat struggling to muster any level of offense, Dion Waiters was limited to spectator for the second consecutive game in his third game back from last January's ankle surgery.
Wade again played as the first guard off the bench followed by Tyler Johnson, with Bam Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr. and Kelly Olynyk rounding out the bench unit.
There also wasn't a sniff of Wayne Ellington.
Asked if perhaps Waiters and Ellington could have helped, Spoelstra said, "Yeah, I don't know. When you have a game like this, anything would have been a better answer than what I did or what we did. So, just all across the board."
Waiters' lone appearance in his return came when Wade was out with a stomach ailment in Wednesday's victory in Cleveland.
"I don't know. I just suit up," Waiters said. "At the end of the day, that's the coach. He controls all that. That's out of my control. The only thing I can do is be ready."
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3: Best pass ever: So DeAndre Bembry, amid Sunday's celebration of Wade's final career appearance in Atlanta, had the temerity in the first quarter to actually challenge a Wade breakaway layup in transition, much to the chagrin of everybody not in red uniforms.
No problem, Wade simply tossed the ball over his head for Jones Jr. to finish in "Airplane Mode" style.
"Once the ball came to me a little slow, I know the defense had a chance to recover. I looked back at D-Jones and I saw he had a step on his man," Wade said, comparing it to some of his moments alongside LeBron James. "I played with a player once he had a step on his man, you could just throw it anywhere. So, yeah, throw it back. I didn't even see what happened. I just threw it back and heard the crowd.
"So tried to do something for the fans tonight. So that was the moment we gave them, probably the only moment for them to cheer for us tonight."
4: Dual milestones: Along the way, Wade reached 1,000 career points against the Hawks and with a third-quarter 3-pointer, joined James and Michael Jordan as the only players with 20,000 career points, 5,000 career assists, 4,000 career rebounds, 1,500 career steals, 800 career blocks and 500 career 3-pointers.
5. Just awful: Even with the early Wade highlights, this might have been the worst first half . . . ever.
Not only did the Heat trail 38-37 at the break, but they were 14 of 43 from the field and 8 of 15 from the line over the first 24 minutes, with 10 turnovers.