April 30, 2009
Scanning the blogs and beats following the Hawks' 106-91 win over the Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals ...
Peachtree Hoops: "I can harp on just about anyone. I yell at refs at games. I think Dwyane Wade is a faker. I come close to booing Josh Smith three pointers before they have left his hand. I criticize Woodson for the smallest infraction ... and I have no problem with Josh Smith's [between-the-legs] dunk [attempt].
(Note: Check out Smith's dunk attempt around the 1:35 mark.)
And I find it laughable that Spoelstra said, “It turned into a highlight show after a while. They were trying to embarrass us." Certainly, it would be bad form in the regular season. But the Hawks are/should be trying to establish an NBA city. ESPN is not going to show this game outside of a Dwyane Wade highlight/low light. Phillips is rarely as loud as it was tonight. The arena was sold out. The Heat starters, not in foul trouble, were still in, and if that dunk fell, the place would have gone crazy. Minimum three fans would have died. I am not saying Josh crossed these things off a list and decided to do it, but I thank him for trying."
Heat Daily: "Josh Smith is obviously a mediocre athlete who is only good for highlight reels. This is his chance to become a leader, but he ruins it with childish and immature behavior. Not only that, but will that guy ever admit to committing a foul? I know most NBA players act surprised when they're called for a foul, but guy is ridiculous. 'What do you mean, ref? I just punched Dwyane Wade in the stomach. Is that a foul?' Dwyane had a bad game and so did the Heat, but as it has happened before, they bounce back as they get angry. Let's hope they are angry and ready to play hard at home on Friday. We still have a chance at this and even though the Hawks are a hard team to beat, I don't think players with that kind of attitude are destined to be winners. I will give all the deserved credit to guys to Mike Woodson, Zaza Pachulia and Flip Murray. They are hard working competitive players. I hope they become a role model to others in their team."
The Human Highlight Blog: "Despite TNT's best efforts to excuse everything he did and didn't do and paint Dwyane Wade as a modern day Hercules, trying lift the Heat above all odds, the Hawks withstood this unstoppable power by using smart defense, good rebounding, and solid offense to move one more win from advancing to the second round. The game marked a return to form for Joe Johnson, who had almost as many free throw attempts in Game 5 (15) than in the previous four games combined. He passed well out of the automatic double team, was aggressive to the hoop, and posted a 25/6/6 effort, establishing his solid game as the pulse for the Hawks rhythmic beating of the visitors."
Hawks Basketblog: "Miami may have shot the lights out to win Games 2 and 3, but as tonight's game showed, that's really the only way they can beat these Hawks. They just don't have the horses outside of Dwyane Wade, and when Wade struggled in the first half, they fell too far behind to really make it a game, even when Wade got it rolling in the third quarter. The Hawks continue to dare the rest of the Heat roster to beat them, and that strategy need now work only one more time to advance to the second round. The win didn't come entirely without cost, as the physical nature of the series continued to take it's toll. With Marvin Williams already out with a wrist injury, it remains to be seen how much time (if any) Al Horford will have to miss after spraining his ankle in the second quarter. Miami felt it as well, with Dwyane Wade missing several minutes early on after hitting the back of his head on the court, and Jermaine O'Neal caught an incidental elbow from Zaza Pachulia that left him dazed for a spell as well."
Dime: "Heat/Hawks had all the physicality and ill will of a 1990s playoff series — for a minute there we thought Mookie Blaylock and Kevin Willis had checked in unnoticed — but at the same time, it had refs and rules from the 21st century, and Principal Stern was sitting courtside as a constant reminder to everyone not to get too wild ... Dwyane Wade was out of control, and not in a good way for Miami. He picked up a technical and a flagrant foul within a few minutes of each other, almost started multiple brawls, and was berating the refs the entire time. (If you had put Wade in a “Jackson #1″ Warriors jersey, he 100% would’ve been ejected.) Oh, and he might have gotten a concussion in the process."
True Hoop: "Dikembe Mutombo used to tell Aaron Brooks to 'do what you do best.' It seems like a platitude until you consider it in the Josh Smith context. Smith is a player who does a lot of things well. He's established himself as a master of the help side, who is never out of a defensive possession. He's also deadly in transition. Off the dribble, when decisive but in control, he's a high-percentage player. But Smith's stubbornness hurts him, and stunts like the botched Orlando Wooldridge styling give off the impression that he's not a serious or trustworthy player in crucial spots. Despite the concerns, his energy is infectious. If he can moderate his shot selection and transform the creativity in his game into productivity, he could potentially be a top ten talent — potential the operative word."
Peninsula is Mightier: "I thought Erik Spoelstra left an ailing D-Wade in the game a bit too long in the 4th quarter. The game was well over with eight minutes left and the Hawks up 19. Meanwhile, Wade stayed in the game until 3:40 was left."
Mark Bradley, AJC: "The wonder isn't that the Hawks have again taken a series lead. The wonder is that they were ever behind. They're so much better than the Heat it isn't funny. And they won't be laughing if Sunday arrives and they're back here trying to close this out in a Game 7. This one should end Friday night in Miami. We know the Hawks can play. What we need is for them to prove they can finish, that they can win a best-of-seven series for the first time since 1970, that they can dispose of a demonstrably lesser opponent and commence with the serious business of chasing LeBron. The Hawks have being waiting for April 2009 since Game 7 in Boston last May, and now it's here. And it's time for them to prove they're more than just a team that can give somebody a spirited run. It's time to put the Heat to bed, D-Wade or no D-Wade."
Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "There was a moment late in the first quarter, a timeout just ending, and Heat president Pat Riley sat 10 rows up among the fans in Philips Arena with one hand wedging a phone to his ear and the other motioning a few seats down to team owner Mickey Arison. Riley, grimacing, tapped his head. Arison, frowning, shook his head. The long faces belonged to the Heat again. The worries did, too. And it's a shame in some regards. It's one thing to lose, as the Heat did again to Atlanta, 106-91. It's another to lose without your best player healthy enough to play his best. Under the stands, in the locker room, Dwyane Wade's head was the topic of worry this night, and not his back like the other night. It was an open-court collision with Atlanta center Josh Smith that smacked Wade's head to the floor, taking him from the game, and not a back spasm that made him ineffective Monday. Either way, it's the same story. No Wade at 100 percent, no chance. None at all."
Talk Hoops: "Michael Beasley finally showed up and had a solid game, however, the Heat live and die by the three and they only made 4 tonight. Simple as that. If the Heat don't make 10-15 three pointers they really won't have a chance at winning. Mario Chalmers and Daequan Cook were a combined 4-11 from the field while Jermaine O'Neal was 6-11. Though, he scored only two points in the 2nd half. This Heat team is too inconsistent for me to think they can win, but I really can't count them out either because Dwyane Wade is super human. It's really a weird series to predict."
The FanHouse: "If the Miami-Atlanta series goes the full seven, it means the Cavaliers will have had at least eight days off between their Round 1 series and their Round 2 series. Who said the playoffs were a grind?"