The crowd booed Dwyane Wade lustily.
Technical fouls were exchanged.
Fouls were flagrant.
Josh Smith tried to go between his legs on a break and slam.
Wednesday night the Hawks got their mojo back, zipped out to a double digit lead and never looked back in a 106-91 Game Five win over the Miami Heat.
Good times in the ATL.
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 Five (15) than in the previous (4) 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.
RFM also had his hot game going, putting up a 23/5/3 night without a single turnover---and for those who thought that his first month with the Hawks would be his best and that we would one day this season want to swap him for a bag of Fritos, the HHB has to say that those would have to be some tasty Fritos at this point.
The Hawks posted a stunning 23/5 assist to turnover ratio, led by The Backcourt (9:3) which featured (17) solid points from Mike Bibby.
While the Hawks were placing (3) players above (20) points the Heat struggled to have anyone outside of Wade make a positive impact, which is precisely what the lack of double team on Wade has wrought---Wade getting his points while his teammates can't get the open looks they need to make a difference.
We Had the Over on Bruises (+/- 100)
The story of the game won't likely be the fact that the Hawks are up 3-2 heading back for a Friday night game in Miami (nice!), nor the efficiency the Hawks used to gain such an edge.
No, the likely focus of discussion from this game will be its physical nature, as there weren't many players that escaped being fouled hard inside at some point in this game.
The HHB doesn't have a problem with this---actually, it was refreshing to see some of the efforts both teams went through to ensure that no easy baskets were scored in the filming of the evening's game. As many say at this time of year--it's playoff basketball!
Solomon Jones on Dwyane Wade, Wade on Mo Evans (TNT actually called bull on the flagrant foul called on Wade--we concur--, but missed where Wade interfered with Evans' dunk attempt by grabbing the rim), Udonis Haslem on Zaza Pachulia---there was nothing malicious about them---just the savory emotion of postseason hoops.
This Game Paid For By the Committee to Laud Dwyane Wade
Our own focus during the game was on the Hawks dominating every aspect of the game including rebounding, assists, turnovers, and (gasp!) even free throw shooting.
We couldn't help, however, being distracted by the inordinate gushfest TNT's Dick Stockton and Mike Fratello offered on behalf of Wade.
You would have thought that Wade left (6) sick grandmothers behind to participate in the game on a back held together by toothpicks and that he was saddled with a team that wouldn't be allowed to participate in NBA games if not for his gracious presence.
Yes, it was that bad.
Look, we get it, the NBA has long, long been about superstars--and Wade has every right to be included in that group---but his game (29 points in a hardly restful 39 minutes) speaks loud enough without having to create circumstances designed to make him seem even better.
But Will He Still Be Able to Play the Guitar?
The game wasn't without loss for the Birds---even though it was pictures of the aftermath of Wade's dramatic collision with Josh Smith in the first quarter that dotted the Internet landscape (he would return right away), it was the Hawks' Al Horford who drove to the hoop, got clobbered by Wade, and then landed awkwardly, spraining his ankle. His participation in Game Six was questionable at the end of the game.
The HHB is clearly jealous that Wade gets so much attention for his participation despite injury and Speedy Claxton doesn't. Other examinations into our psyche can be presented to us in the Comments Area.
Feb 28: Hawks vs Heat
49 minutes ago