NBA: Hawks soar over heat
By Paul Newberry
ATLANTA ó A series of blowouts is now about survival.
The Atlanta Hawks hope they have enough players left to finish off Miami. The Heat is counting on Dwyane Wade to save the season despite a bump on his head and a balky back.
The Hawks kept up the theme of this matchup between division rivals ó no game has been close ó but there were several subplots after a night of hard fouls and staredowns left the Heat feeling as though Atlanta rubbed it in a little too much in a 106-91 victory.
Joe Johnson scored 25 points in his first big game of the series, which the Hawks now lead 3-2, and Flip Murray added 23 from a bench that has taken on an increasingly important role. They already were without one starter (Marvin Williams) and lost another when Al Horford hobbled off the court with a sprained right ankle.”It’s not a good sign,” said Zaza Pachulia, one of Atlanta’s top backups. “In the playoffs, you need everybody. But what can you do? Whoever we have, they really have to step up.”
Wade finished with 29 points but didn’t get going until the game had been decided. Already bothered by back spasms, he was feeling even worse after colliding with Josh Smith in the first quarter and banging the back of his head on the court.
Wade is eager for another shot at the Hawks after Smith tried a between-the-legs windmill dunk late in the game with Atlanta up 20. Not only did he fail to pull it off ó the ball bounced high off the rim ó he fired up the Heat.
“We were very insulted by it,” Wade said.
So was coach Erik Spoelstra.
“There at the end it turned into a highlight show,” he said. “A pickup game highlight reel, really trying to embarrass us. Now we’ve played five games against each other. I don’t think anybody on either side likes each other anymore.”