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Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at 9:16 pm  |  49 responses

Links: Heat/Hawks Game Three Game Notes

The Heat is on…

by Lang Whitaker

Got to Miami early this morning, and even managed to squeeze in a power nap pre-game despite the 6:30 start time. Outside the Arena tonight, people were starting to get fired up by 4:30 when I arrived. I saw a lot of people selling Heat t-shirts. Only prob is the bootleggers were selling white shirts, which I guess could be a problem when the Heat have made such a huge effort to get everyone to wear black to the game.

• Pregame in the Hawks locker room, and news was just breaking that Marvin Williams would miss the game this evening with a sprained right (shooting) wrist. He apparently hurt it in Game 2 at the end of the third quarter when he got decked, which is why he missed the fourth quarter. I remember the play pretty clearly, mostly because I was worried that Marv would hurt his back on the fall. He didn’t but apparently he banged up his wrist.

Marv is a great dude. but unless my wrist had a compound fracture, you better believe I’d be out there playing tonight. Especially if I was about to be a restricted free agent.

• For the most part, the Hawks were pretty loose pre-game. Flip Murray wrote up a sign that said, “IT’S ON!!!” and signed it “J. Magliore” and taped it up on Josh Smith’s locker while Josh was back in the coach’s office. Josh came back and I tried to convince him that Magliore had been in and posted it himself, but Josh immediately said, “Man, that dude Flip Murray did this.” Josh tore it in half and tossed it aside.

The rest of the time the guys broke down plays on video with Larry Drew (who had headphones dangling around his neck blasting “Let’s go Crazy”) or watching the NFL Draft and laughing at the various suits and jewelry combinations the rooks broke out.

• National anthem tonight is performed by someone named Nehemie. Oh, gesuntheit!

• Crowd gets pretty worked up during the intros. I’m pretty sure that’s the loudest cheer James Jones has ever gotten in his career.

• Heat started James Jones again. Mo Evans picked up an early (and obvious) offensive foul. D-Wade blocked an Evans layup attempt with two hands. Mike Woodson wouldn’t double D-Wade if he was getting a bonus to do it, but the did throw out a nominal wrinkle by having Mo Evans guard Wade. As I typed that Wade drilled a long jumper over an Evans single-team. The Heat jumped out to an 8-4 lead, all four ATL points coming from Mike Bibby. Hawks were getting one shot and done, Heat looked energized. Wade cut through the lane for a tomahawk dunk to put Miami up 15-4. Time out, ATL.

• During the timeout, someone accidentally plays “The Heat Is On,” which is about 25 years old. The Heat let it play, though.

• Out of the timeout, Mike Woodson draws up a play where Joe Johnson gets blocked by D-Wade. Mario Chalmers hits a 3. Josh Smith misses a three. Hawks come back and Joe Johnson misses a three. The entire Heat bench is up and cheering. The Hawks look like they’re still watching the Draft. Have I mentioned the Hawks have lost 11 straight road playoff games?

• Khalid texts me and says “Woody needs to open up the playbook.” I write back, “This is the playbook!” We’ve just got guys going one-on-one over and over. FTL!

• I find myself excited when the Hawks cut it to 18-6 with 2:37 to go in the first. The Heat have 5 blocks to Atlanta’s 1. So they’re on pace for 24 blocked shots.

• I’m sitting about halfway up the stands, just in front of a luxury box where someone behind me keeps cheering, “Let’s go Hawks!” I swear that’s not me. By the way, I’m not going to tell you who I’m sitting next to tonight, HOWEVA!, you all know who it is.

• Offensive foul on Jamario Moon out of a timeout. Flip Murray cuts it to 18-8, and Joe Johnson rips D-Wade in the open court. Flip hits again to make it 18-10. The teams trade baskets, then Mike Bibby attempts an alley-oop to Zaza that results in not only a missed shot but Zaza tumbling into the photographers. First quarter ends with jamario Moon hitting an 18-footer.

• So, after 1, the Heat lead 22-12. I didn’t think it was possible for Miami to continue playing as well as they gig in Game Two, but they picked right up where they left off. Haslem had 9 boards in the first. Miami shot 47 percent. Atlanta’s starting frontcourt combined for 0 points. One good thing is…

• Sorry, Heat Dancers were in the house. Got distracted.

ª Second quarter. Beasley opens it with an airball. Zaza tries to dunk on Jamal Magliore and draws a foul. First free throws of the game for ATL. Zaza makes both. Wawaweewa! Very nice!

• Beasley misses a three at the shot clock buzzer. Joe Johnson drives for a deuce. 22-16, MIA. Magliore picks up his second on an over the back call. Spoelstra leaves him in and brings in James Jones for Jamario Moon. Flip Murray nails a three. Seven points for Flip. Lots of grumbling in the arena as the Hawks cut it to 22-19. Timeout, Miami. I’m guessing Dwyane Wade might come back in to the game.

• The Heat PR staff passes out a shot chart in between quarters, which is a first, I think, from a PR staff. Kinda cool to see exactly where the Hawks missed all their shots.

• In between quarters they advertise a contest for Heat fans to win dinner with a Heat player at Benihana. How much you want to bet the Heat player you win dinner with is Chris Quinn?

• JO and Wade return for Miami, and Zaza celebrates by blocking a shot from Cook. Al Horford finally arrives and hits a 2 to make it 22-21. James Jones hits a three. Horford hits again from the same spot. Wade hits two FTs.

• Someone should tell the Heat PA announcer that it’s Za Za Pachulia, not Zha Zha. J-Smoove returns and misses a lay-in, and Flip Murray airballs a jumper from the wing. JO rebounds his own brick and gets a dunk to make it 31-23, Miami. Timeout, Hawks.

• The heat bring out a bunch of senior citizens in Jabbawockeez outfits for a dance routine. I kinda hope the Jabbawockeez sue.

• Josh Smith gets elbowed in the throat and is called for a foul. Jermaine O’Neal spins and hits a baseline jumper. Joe Johnson hits a runner in the paint and a lay-up. 33-27. The refs had been letting everyone play (2FTs in the first , but suddenly they’re calling everything.

ª James Jones misses a three that bounces on top of the backboard and then bounces back in. Hey, when things are going your way, they’re going your way. 40-29, Miami, with 2:48 to go in the half. Miami is still white hot (eboy), but the Hawks have fought back into this one and made it close. Wade has 11, Haslem still has 9 boards. Joe Johnson has 8 points and Horford and Zaza have 5 boards apiece.

• Zaza misses two free throws out of the TO. Wade hits a jumper off a curl. Flip Murray decides to go one-on-one against Wade and ends up shooting an airball. JO hits a jumper over Zaza. Miami is shooting 46 percent. Bibby misses a two, Zaza gets the board and throws it out to Joe, who misses a three. Ugh.

• With 53 seconds left, Wade gets loose down the lane and tomahawks on Horford, who made an admirable attempt to decapitate him. The fans chant “MVP! MVP!” Wait, LeBron’s here?

• And of course, the Heat end the half with another improbable jumper to go ahead 50-29 at the half. That’s a 12-0 run to close out the quarter. Wade has 19, JO has 10, James Jones has 6 and Chalmers has 7 and the Heat are shooting 50 percent on threes. Other than Joe Johnson leading the Hawks with 8 points, things are going pretty well for Atlanta. Josh Smith has 0 points and 0 rebounds.

• Miami’s a pretty happening city, so why can’t Erik Spoelstra get his hair parted down one side or the other instead of straight down the middle like he’s 9 years old?

• Speaking of Spoelstra, he hasn’t made a wrong move in the last two games. And let me go out on a limb here: If the Heat continue shooting 50-percent from three for the rest of the Playoffs, they’re going to the Finals. Heck, I’d rather come down here than Cleveland or Boston.

• JO starts the second half with a bucket, making it 14 consecutive points by Miami. Atlanta answers but JO scores again. Josh gets his first rebound. The crowd gets involved when “Shake That Laffy Taffy” is played. Wade hits about three jumpers in a row but Woody  has no interest in double-teaming him. I’m about to throw my laptop on the court to help double Wade. It might do a better job on him than some of the Hawks’ defenders. Joe drives and scores to cut it to 21 with 5:37 to go. Time out Hawks. Wade has 27. The Hawks have 45. Miami’s shooting 7 for 10 this quarter. Seriously, what’s going on here? I’m starting to believe Sam’s theory about the black lines in the ball being magnets that can be controlled by the League office.

• Heat finally miss out of the timeout and Josh Smith drives and gets fouled. And 1. Of course, he misses the free throw. Hawks cut it under 20, though, 66-47. The Hawks are still playing hard, God bless ‘em. Bibby misses but Horford gets the rebound. 4:11 to go and Miami up 66-49. Mo Evans nails a three. 66-52, MIA. Wade misses a layup. Joe Johnson has a three to make it an 11-point game but he misses.

• JO makes two free throws to get Miami on the board. Jermaine O’Neal blocks Horford on a runner, then flops on the other end and draws a foul on Horford.

• What happened to that Hawks team from Game 1? The team that was running and jumping and dunking and blocking shots? I understand it’s tough to be dominant when the team you’re playing against, Miami, can’t miss a shot to save their lives, but the Hawks aren’t putting any pressure on Miami’s defense.

• A Horford dunk and Bibby 3 cuts it to 72-61, before the Heat, of course, get a long fadeaway three from James Jones to end the quarter and make it a 14 point lead after three, 75-81. Still, nice quarter from the Hawks, who scored 32 in the quarter.

• The Hawks begin the fourth with Mike Bibby airballing a 3. Then Mario Chalmers drains a 3. There’s your game in a nutshell.

• D-Wade misses a wild lay-up, then Chalmers misses a 3, then Wade misses a tip-in, then Chalmers gets the next tip. Miami is outworking Atlanta.

• Cook drains a 3, pushing the lead to 83-62 with 9:37 to go in the game. The Miami crowd returns and starts singing and dancing along to “Whoomp There It Is.” Hit me.

• Hawks come out of the timeout and Joe misses a running two. Dwyane Wade takes the crab dribble to new levels — a lobster roll? — and scores. Wade drives and dishes to Chalmers, who drills another three. Also, the Heat are 11-11 on free throws tonight.

• Haslem scores from the baseline on a jumper. I wish Henry Abbott would show up here to lecture the Heat about how the hot hand doesn’t exist. And then Daequan Cook drains a three. Time out, ATL. Miami’s up 95-68, 5:08 to go, and the fans are streaming toward the exits.

• And I’m out, too. Miami wins 107-78. There’s an obscene box score from the game here. The Heat shot 50 percent on threes in the first half, finishing 19-19 from the line in Game 3 and 27-46 from three point land in Games 2 and 3 combined. If the Heat play this well in Game 4, I’m voting the entire team into the Basketball Hall of Fame immediately. As for the Hawks, if they can win Game 4, it’s suddenly a best two-out-of-three series and the Hawks have regained homecourt. So Monday night is going to be a big one.

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  • ti-sizz

    too much HEAT for the hawks to take..!!

  • ti-sizz

    the heat and their defense are not bad at all.. that’s what happens when your best player isn’t just offensively talented, but also puts in good work in defense. it really catches on and becomes a team thing, i guess that’s a lesson the suns have never learned

  • ti-sizz

    does anyone know when and how pachulia got his black eye from?? i watched this game after the first half. who smacked him? poor guy, he got hacked A LOT during this game.. but baahh, he’s a rough player to begin with, so i can definitely see other players pushing and smacking him around with no mercy

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi T

    Jeez, the Hawks left their D in A-town. They will not a much better performance in game 4. I don’t understand why they are veering from what won them game 1.

  • ti-sizz

    a thing of beauty to see d-wade hitting 3s and blocking josh smith multiple times.. j-smoove really had a bad night albeit that decent 3rd quarter

  • ti-sizz

    who were you sitting next to?!!!! was it T.I.?

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi T

    It couldn’t have been T.I; He aint supposed to leave ATL.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I don’t see lang calling out eboy now. Ahem.

  • ti-sizz

    Hmmm… I see, so it’s not T.I… Call me clueless, but who can “By the way, I’m not going to tell you who I’m sitting next to tonight, HOWEVA!, you all know who it is” this be?

  • riggs

    didnt eboy call this yesterday? nostreboymus

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Okay, I’m officially jealous, Eboy. The Heat looked good tonigh. Dwade’s on a mission.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    A few things: just got back from MIA….I met, live and in person, commenter du jour, Co Co, sitting all by her lonesome, looking cute, and then after about 8 minutes had passed in the 1st, I didn’t see her in her seat for the rest of the game. She must have had a premonition. I was trying to scout out where Lang may have been sitting, I would have like to have met the legend in person for a minute…..but I couldn’t figure out where he may have been seated….so I was dissapointed. And lastly, after Monday night, the Hawks better have a flock of falcons ready to knock jumpers out of the are back in Atlanta, ’cause the Heat are closing them out in 5. Sorry Co Co, Myung and Mr. Whitaker.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    *out of the air

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Obvious Fact That Has Been Overlook By Elite Team’s Fanboys: Home court is fu(king huge in the playoffs.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    *Overlooked

  • http://www.nba.com Reflex

    The talent levels between these two teams on paper strongly favours Atlanta but yet Miamai gave them a beat down of Chris Brown proportions. All I can say is about that is that DWade is AMAZING and that Mike Spoelstra is doing one heck of a job to have this team playing as they are.

    P.S I’m still calling LA NOT to get to the finals

  • http://www.nba.com Reflex

    Oh, and J O’Neal to it back last night, he was putting in WORK against ZaZa, Horford or whoever else they had on him.

  • http://www.nba.com Reflex

    *took

  • SeanB

    Reflex- are you calling the LA clippers to NOT get to the finals? thats the only logical explanation i can think of for what you typed

  • http://www.nba.com Reflex

    Haha!!, – Lakers! – , I’m a big fan but I see 2 things things holding them back, 1) their lack of D 2)their over reliance on Kobe to play well . I think the better teams can exploit these defeciencies.

  • Myung

    Utterly embarrassing performance by the Hawks. I’ve said it about 30 times, and I’ll say it again: we are the worst 3-point defending team in the League. I cannot believe how many wide open looks teams can get against us. Too much double teaming and too many slow rotations. Sigh. Obviously that wasn’t the only thing that went wrong last night. It reminded me of Game 7 vs. Boston last spring. I could barely even watch the game, it was so bad. If we don’t win game 4, we’re not going to win the series. I don’t see us winning three straight games to pull it out. Tomorrow is a must win. Congrats again, eboy, Cheryl, and the rest of you Heat fans. I’m sure you enjoyed last night’s game very much.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    heyyy, i immediately started humming the song as i read the title on the main page. (loved Beverly Hills cop) heat is on…indeed. Great comedic writing, Lango. “it’s Za Za, not Zha Zha” and “wait, Lebron’s here?” cracked me up hella good. Hey Eboy, how about a remake/do over of the ’06 Finals this year, hmm? My team’s doing ok out west and obviously, zee Heat is ooonnnn! (just gotta kidnap Lbj/KB8x3/Denver frontcourt & Chauncey / Yao/Scola and to be safe, Ray & the truth, first. You know, pave the way)

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    heyyy, i immediately started humming the song as i read the title on the main page. (loved Beverly Hills cop) heat is on…indeed. Great comedic writing, Lango. “it’s Za Za, not Zha Zha” and “wait, Lebron’s here?” cracked me up hella good. Hey Eboy, how about a remake/do over of the 06 Finals this year, hmm? My team’s doing ok out west and obviously, zee Heat is on! (just gotta kidnap Lbj/KB8x3/Denver’s frontcourt + Chauncey / Yao/Scola and to be safe, Ray & the truth, first. You know, pave the way)

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    big whoops. Sorry for the repeat post.

  • I-Win

    Lang Whitaker, are you a Hawks fan? Or a team Miami has beaten in the playoffs in previous years?

    Reading your notes, you make a lot of backhanded compliments regarding the Heat or just don’t bother to be rather blunt.

  • I-Win

    Myung Posted: Apr.26 at 7:15 am
    Utterly embarrassing performance by the Hawks. I’ve said it about 30 times, and I’ll say it again: we are the worst 3-point defending team in the League.

    =========================

    You sure about that?

    The Heat give up 50% 3pt shooting to teams all season long. I bet all Heat fans can honestly attest to that, too.

  • maclovenotwar

    Next round will be interesting. Cleveland will walk through the first, but by the looks of it, so will Miami. Udonis and Jermaine are looking fresh, Jones and Cook keep it spaced and man! Wade is just scary.
    Not as scary as Cheryl Miller tho.

  • maclovenotwar

    Chris Quinn, 22.3mpg seems a long time ago

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    The test of a good team is how they deal with adversity, and this game makes it abundantly clear that ATL has not reacted well to the suspension of Spirit the Hawk.

  • Erika Badu

    Joe Johnson has been the stink this series and is getting progressively worse each game. He’s gone from underrated to overrated pretty fast if u ask me. Especially with Lang saying Dwade isn’t that much better than him. JJ is good but not an elite player. Never will be.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    caaaallll Tyrooooone, and tell him, come hoooome. Sorry Miss Badu, couldn’t help it.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @I-Win: Dude, if you’ve been around here long enough you’ll realize that Lang is THE Hawks fan.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    And this series is still far from over. Not a week ago, after Game 1 everyone was writing off the Heat. If the Heat stay on fire though, and JO keeps showing up, wow.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    And regarding Joe Johnson, I guess he’s nice, but I’d take Steve Smith over him any day.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    I don’t think the Hawks are that bad defending the 3 when they actually show up. Their biggest problem is that they either play great games or terrible games. There’s no in-between. I do agree with Ms. Badu and Joel O. Joe Johnson has officially transitioned from underrated to overrated.

  • I-Win

    Joel O’s Posted: Apr.26 at 3:18 pm
    @I-Win: Dude, if you’ve been around here long enough you’ll realize that Lang is THE Hawks fan.
    ========================

    Which I haven’t, lol. Thanks for clearing that up, though. :)

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com/ Michael NZ

    Screaming About Something!

  • kevin k

    GET RID OF JOE JOHNSON. He is not a SUPERSTAR! He is not a FRANCHISE PLAYER. He is not an ALL STAR. He kills the ball movement.
    NAME 1 “STAR” WHO PLAYS SG/SF THAT SHOOTS MORE 3S THAN FTS.

  • Matt

    The cheers for James Jones are because he went to high school and college in miami so hes a fan favorite

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Coincidentally the usher took me to the wrong seat initially so I moved over one section. You still should have seen me considering I was the only person in my section not wearing black.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I kept looking toward the spot I had seen you……I kind of thought you got smart and just threw on the free shirt and rode with the good team for a night.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I think my favorite thing in Lang’s notes is the discovery of the D-Wade lobster roll……..but…..if you wanted to be authentic to the subject matter Lang, you could have used the the Stone Crab Dribble in honor of the homegrown crustacean.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Aside from the a** kicking I enjoyed myself at the game. Except for those damned clapper things. I wanted to blow my brains out by the 2nd quarter.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Cheryl

    The triple-A is a fun place to be, Co Co. Glad you enjoyed yourself. Did you hit Lincoln Road or Miami Beach? South Beach, to me, is overrated.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I was ready to murder the entire section around me because of those fu*king clackers.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    We hit Ocean Ave after the game. I needed lots of alcohol! I took care of that need!

  • Warren

    It felt good to be at a playoff game again in AAA. Coincidentally, Game 3 against Dallas was the last one I attended. I’ve been a reader on here for years, but first time poster. (Lang may remember me waaay back in 2001 when I was a postdoc at Georgia Tech – ahh, the good old days.) And yes, those clappers were annoying, although the 7 (?) year old girl next to me was becoming just as annoying by the 4th.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    The Warren Report?

  • Warren

    I can’t tell you what happened to Kennedy, but that Hawk assasination had a clear culprit.

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