Links: Hawks/Heat Game 4 Notes

by April 27, 2009

by Lang Whitaker

MIAMI — I’ve had a lot of time to think about the way the Heat disposed of the Hawks in Games 2 and 3, and as much as I’d like to mark Miami’s shooting in Games 2 and 3 down as a fluke — seriously, who goes 27-46 on threes? — I’m not quite ready to do that yet. As hot as the Heat have been, the Hawks haven’t exactly done much to stop them. If I had the time and energy, I’d love to see how many of those shots were wide open. And Dwyane Wade may not have been shooting threes, but he’s taken the majority of his jumpers over single coverage that couldn’t get to him in time to contest him. The Hawks have to figure out a way to close out on these jump shooters, and they have to get a big game tonight from Al Horford, who’s been quiet throughout and hasn’t really tested Jermaine O’Neal on the offense end.

Hey, at least I’ve had 79 degree weather to keep me and my bad thoughts company the last two days. And I saw a stingray at the beach this morning — I ran out of that water like Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson combined. If the Hawks close out on jumpers tonight like I sprinted out of the ocean, the Hawks will be all good.

• Pregame, the mood in the Hawks locker room was tense. I tried to break the ice by making fun of Hawks’ sideline reporter James Verrett’s eel skin boots.

I asked Josh Smith if he’s afraid of birds, or if he was just afraid of Spirit the Hawk during Game 1 when he was visibly recoling from the bird. “That bird was posting up behind the basket for a minute, man,” Smoove said. “And his claws were out. I was like, Maan…”

Hey Josh, I feel ya. I’d have been outta there, too.

• Zaza Pachulia was sporting a black eye he received in Game 3, though he had no idea how he got it. It wasn’t swollen, but it was definitely bruised. Zaza also said he was trying to find some sunglasses to wear around so people wouldn’t think he got in a fight in the club.

• Gametime. Someone tipped me off to an empty seat closer to the action, so I’ve moved from my seat next to Stephen A. into a seat at the midcourt press table about halfway up the lower bowl.

• Tonight’s national anthem was performed by a guy named John Saxx. Or at least that’s his name when he’s, um, performing. I don’t think he’s related to Steve.

• The crowd is pretty pumped up tonight, and of course the introduction of Dwyane Wade raises the roof. DJ Irie is in the house again. Ya mon. The crowd is dipped in black, which looks cool, though I bet it wasn’t very comfortable walking into the arena in the sun.

• The Heat open with Jermaine O’Neal almost falling down and then Dwyane Wade firing up an airball. Then Joe finds Smoove on the baseline and he hits a circus lefty lay-in, with a foul on James Jones. Misses the freebie though. Miami comes back and Joe Johnson picks up a quick foul. Interesting that the crowd doesn’t seem to care that Joe got called for the early foul. JO makes one of two. After Miami made 19 straight in Game 3 that’s got to be a bonus. A headband-less Bibby hits a quick J. 4-1, Atlanta. Steal by Bibby, missed three by Mo but there’s Horford for the dunk. Miami goes inside to Jermaine O’Neal again and Horford picks up the foul. The Hawks bench is up and cheering tonight, which is a stark contrast to Game 3.

• Missed three by Smoove. A second airball from Wade. That’s gotta be the first game this year, maybe in his career, where Wade started with 2 airballs.

• Bibby turns it over and Mario Chalmers slides out of bounds with the ball. Smoove bricks another long two and Bibby doesn’t seem happy with the shot selection. Wade drives in and draws a foul from Mo Evans. The crowd starts an MVP chant, as Wade makes one of two. 6-4 Hawks, 8:19 to go in the first.

• Hawks go inside to Horford who misses a turnaround J. On the other end, Bennett Salvatore calls another foul on Horford, his second, which means Zaza enters the game. Wa wa wee wa! That’s four fouls on Atlanta in the first 4 minutes. mo Evans hits a midrange J and then seems to force an 8 second violation that Bennett Salvatore doesn’t call. Moments later, Salvatore does call a second foul on Mo Evans, and Mario West checks in! If anyone can start a fight with D-Wade, it’s Mario.

• Josh drives and dishes to Zaza, putting Atlanta up 10-5. Then the Hawks double team Wade in the corner!!! That’s the first intentional double team of anyone on the Heat in about a week! Wade off the inbounds hits JO for another 2.

• Tom Washington calls a questionable foul on James Jones, to even it up as much as anything else, I think. Timeout on the floor, and the Hawks lead 10-7.

• Turnover for the Hawks out of the TO. Then Bennett Salvatore calls a foul on Zaza Pachulia, or as the Heat’s PA guy continues to call him, “Zha Zha.” Ryan Cameron should mispronounce Dwyane Wade’s name during Game 5.

• Whoa!!! Mario West weaves through the Heat defense for a reverse lay-in. I’m shocked.

• but I’m not shocked when Bennett Salvatore calls another foul on the Hawks, this time on Mario West, Chalmers makes both, making it Atlanta 12, Miami 11. The Heat have 1 field goal and are 9-12 from the line. The Hawks are 6-12 from the floor and have shot 1 free throw. That’s 7 fouls on Atlanta, 2 on Miami. Hmm.

• Josh drives and gets the lay-up and the foul, and one. 15-11, Hawks.

• The Heat finally run a play without the refs calling a foul on the Hawks, miss the shot, and then the next time down Mario West is called for the foul.

• Stop the presses!!! The refs call a foul on the Heat!!! Haslem with the foul. Then Josh Smith turns it over. Then Dwyane Wade gets called for an offensive foul, his first. Josh Smith then takes it to the rack and picks up a foul on Jermaine O’Neal, which puts Atlanta in the bonus. Smoove hits the first, and the second. 17-13, Atlanta.

• Yakhouba Diawara checks in, for the first time this series, I think. Wade and Joe trade missed threes. Wade tries to draw a foul on Bibby, and for the first time all night the refs don’t call a foul on Atlanta. Wade fires up his third airball of the quarter, and Daequan Cook hacks Joe to stop a fastbreak. That’s 7 fouls on Miami with 2:40 to go in the first, but the Hawks still lead them with 8 fouls.

• You know you’ve been writing about the NBA for a while when you type the word “Daequan” and Microsoft Word doesn’t even blink.

• Joe to the line, and he misses both. Wade has 1 point, by the way.

• Beasley tries to dunk on Josh Smith, which is a bad idea as he misses, and the Josh drives on Magliore and draws a foul. Josh makes 1 of 2, and the Hawks lead 18-13.

• Wade gets it going with a reverse in traffic, and then Zaza drives and creates a foul against Diawara. Zaza misses 1 of 2. Hawks up 4, 19-15. 1:50 to go in the first.

• Josh Smith hacks Magliore but there’s no foul call, probably because it was Magliore, and then Josh hits Bibby for a three. Joe then drives and draws a questionable foul. Joe hits both. The Hawks still haven’t shot as many freebies as Miami. Joel Anthony checks in, as the Hawks go ahead 24-15.

• Wade tries a second time to draw a foul on from Bibby on a jumper, and for a second time the refs don’t call it. Zaza then gets assaulted under the basket and Wade gets a runout dunk to end the first quarter. After one, the Hawks lead 24-17. They’ve taken it to Miami thus far, and I don’t think Miami’s had many (if any) open three-point shots.

• L’il Weezy in the heezy. And so is Frank Haith, U of M coach. Bernard Hopkins here, too. I’m pretty sure Philly’s own Flip Murray is the most excited person in the building to see The Executioner here. that’s a fail by the Heat. That’s like if the Hawks invited Dan Marino to Game 5.

• Mario Chalmers runs by Smoove and reaches in for a swipe. The refs don’t want to call a foul, but he knocked Josh’s headband off, which would seem to indicate some sort of contact, so a foul is called belatedly.

• Hey Heat fans, be sure to enter Benihana’s Dinner with a Heat Player contest. Also, we hope you like eating with Joel Anthony or Chris Quinn!

• Josh turns it over after replacing his headband. Mike Beasley shoots a jumper from the wing, kicks Josh, and draws a foul on Josh. Beas hits both.

• Joe Johnson drives and draws a foul on Diawara, his second, team’s second. Joe makes both and pushes the ATL lead to 26-19.

• Joel Anthony climbs Zaza’s back trying to rebound a contested miss from Beasley. That’s three fouls on Miami with 11 minutes to go in the quarter. At least the Hawks have learned to steer clear.

• Joe with a great pass underneath to Zaza, who hits a lay-up and makes it 28-19. Spoelstra takes a timeout with 10:35 to go in the second.

• Daequan Cook turns it over out of the timeout. Zaza misses a free throw line jumper and decks Wade going for the rebound. Wade misses a jumper off a curl, making him 2-9 on the night.

• The Hawks are running everything through Joe, which seems like a bright idea. Smoove nails a jumper from the wing, and Atlanta’s up 30-19. Chalmers responds with a turnover. The Hawks come back and don’t know what play they’re running (Mo Evans actually shrugs at one point). Josh ends up taking (and missing) an 8-footer.

• Jermaine O’Neal goes for a dunk and Smoove meets him at the rim for a block. Smoove is playing his headband off so far tonight. Then Zaza gets a rebound and gets shoved in the back with two hands by by Chalmers, who immediately flops and draws a foul on Josh Smith, Josh’s second. Josh somehow talks Woody into leaving him in the game.

• Josh Smith then blocks Jermaine O’Neal again and Mo Evans gets an and one on the other end. Hawks up 33-19 with 7:46 to go in the third. I’m waiting for a Heat run, because it’s got to come at some point. But the Hawks have opened this quarter with a 9-2 run.

• Out of the timeout Wade goes one-on-one with Bibby and misses a three. Then Bibby finds Evans in the corner for a 3. Hawks up 33-19. Miami goes inside to James Jones and Joe Johnson picks up his second foul. Jones makes both. Joe Johnson returns and hits an acrobatic runner to make it 38-21.

• Wade takes his fourth airball of the half and Woody takes a TO. 38-21, Atlanta. The Hawks don’t seem particularly assertive, but Miami has about as much groove tonight as…well, Stella before she got that mess back.

• The Heat junior dancers come out and do a salsa routine that draws the biggest cheer of the quarter.

• Bibby hits a J off a baseline screen out of the timeout. Jermaine O’Neal answers with an 18-footer on the baseline. Flip Murray misses a layup, and Haslem responds.

• Zaza misses a layup and Wade goes down hard after fouling Zaza without a call. The Heat bring it up and Chalmers crosses halfcourt. Mo Evans motions for a double team with Wade’s man, since Wade is still laying at the other end of the floor. Chalmers passes it to Zaza, who throws it ahead, and just as Wade gets up Mo runs by Wade for a dunk. Smart, smart play from Mo Evans. Hawks go up 42-25.

• The boobirds come out after Zaza outhustles the Heat and gets a tip-in. 44-25. James Jones gets Bibby in the air and draws a foul but forgets to attempt a three, so it’s a foul on the floor instead of a three-shot foul. Jones hits the two he’s given but that’s kind of how things have gone for Miami all night. 44-27, Atlanta.

• Miami is 5-23 from the floor tonight. For the whole game.

• I glance over at Hawks radio play-by-play guy Steve Holman, my former partner, and he gives me the “manage your expectations” gesture, which I completely understand.

• Offensive foul on Mo Evans, who breathed on someone the wrong way. Then Solo Jones runs out on James Jones, doesn’t make contact but gets called for a foul. Jones converts a four-point play, and Bibby gets called for an offensive foul on the inbounds play. 44-31, Hawks, with 2:26 left in the half, and the crowd is back in this thing. Hawks take a 20 to hopefully stop screwing up.

• Man, they show a lot of shots of the Miami PA announcer, from a camera that appears to be in the mic or something. It’s a little creepy, I’m not going to lie to you.

• Out of the timeout, Bibby gets called for a foul for apparently jumping past James Jones, who makes his second consecutive four-point play. 44-35, Atlanta. Remember the Heat not making a run? Well here it is!

• Horford gets it in the post, has his arm yanked by two Heat players, but misses a jumper. Wade hits Haslem for two, cutting it to 7, 44-37. Flip Murray draws a third foul on Chalmers and goes to the line. Good, good. Hawks up 46-37.

• Wade comes back and hits a three over Mario West, who got his ankles broke. 46-40, Miami. Woody’s trying to get to the half without having to bring Smoove back, but it’s not working. Miami scores inside to make it 46-42. Flip takes the last shot of the half and pump fakes someone into him, but because he’s not the magical James Jones, Bennett Salvatore pretends no foul happened.

• So, halftime. Hawks up 46-42, though Miami went on a 19-2 run to end the half and outscored ATL 23-13 with Josh Smith out of the game. I understand Woody being afraid to leave Josh out there with 2 fouls, but good grief, he was playing with more guts than anyone else in the first half, and Woody left him on the bench with Miami got back into the game. I just hope Josh comes back and plays like he did before he spent the last 8 minutes of the quarter on the bench.

• At halftime, I run down to get a soda and almost step on L’il Wayne. The L’il is completely apt.

• Hawks open the second with a Joe Johnson miss that Josh Smith hits out of bounds, but they give the ball to ATL. Joe then turns it over anyway.

• James Jones misses a three and doesn’t draw a foul somehow. Then after an illegal defense T on ATL, D-Wade gets called for a 5-second violation on the inbounds play.

• Josh Smith misses a 26-footer with Mo Evans open in the corner. D-Wade pulls a Brandon Roy, committing a foul and flopping at the same time, but Salvatore calls it on Wade. Bibby nails a three. Then Wade fires a pass out of bounds on the other end. Not his best night. Charles Charles MaGalls must be loving this. The people at Anomaly, not so much.

• Joe Johnson drains a jumper and Atlanta’s back up 8, 51-43.

• The Heat Street Band comes out to play. They should be expecting a call from Clarence Clemons’ lawyer any day now.

• As part of the Heat’s “Back in Black” campaign, they show a white dude on the scoreboard with his face painted black. Probably not a good idea, no matter how big a Heat fan you are.

• Wade turns it over again, his fourth, and Horford gets fouled on a breakaway lay-up. He makes both free throws.

• James Jones hits from the elbow. He’s leading Miami with 16 points. Wade shoves Josh Smith from behind, and this time it’s so obvious the fans here don’t even boo. That’s 3 on Wade. 53-45, ATL, 6:58 to go in the third.

• Jermaine O’Neal misses two FTs. Joe Johnson retaliates with his underrated running hook to make it 55-45.

• D-Wade hits a double-clutch 3, Miami’s third double-clutch 3 of the night. Horford gets hit with his 4th foul of the night and someone behind me yells, “Sit yo ass down!” He does. Jermaine O’Neal hits from the free throw line, makes it 55-50. Ref Michael Smith calls an offensive foul on Josh Smith, who was standing still. Weird. Crowd back into it.

• Wade gets blocked at the rim, the ball bounces around for about 4 seconds, JO catches and pump fakes, then shoots. No 3 seconds? Hawks 55-52. Joe Johnson makes a gorgeous pass to Erik Spoelstra, and then Wade misses a three that would have tied it. Time out, Hawks. 3:05 to go in the third and ATL up 55-52.

• Tom Washington calls a foul on James Jones, who’s been like Eddie Jones tonight.

• Joe Johnson nails a step-back 2. Hawks get a steal and Wade blocks Flip on the lay-up, nice wipe. Bennett Salvatore makes a call from the three-point line against Zha Zha Pachulia, even though Tom Washington is standing right there and doesn’t call anything. JO makes 1 FT, 57-53, ATL, 1:40 to go in the third.

• Flip Murray misses a lay-up, gets his own board and drills a three from the corner. Haslem misses a jumper. Hawks get it inside to Josh Smith who misses a tough layup and Zha Zha, not Zaza, gets a rebound and gets fouled on the shot. Jor-El Anthony is in. Zaza makes one of two. hawks up 61-53. Wade hits a jumper over Zaza. Last play of the half and Flip drives and gets fouled. He makes the first, makes the second. Wade doesn’t want to shoot a full-court shot to end the third, I guess because he’s already 4-17. No player on the Hawks has even taken double-figures in field goals. Hawks up 63-55 after 3. 17-13 quarter for Atlanta.

• Another creepy shot of the Heat announcer on the scoreboard. Fourth quarter, here we go.

• Wade’s out. Chalmers misses a two, Miami gets it back and Beasley misses a three. Josh Smith finds Zaza wide open for a deuce. I mean a two. Not a deuce. um…you know what I mean.

• Chalmers misses a runner. Joe misses a jumper, Josh rebounds, Flip resets and Joe pumps Chalmers into the air, steps around him and shields him off with his body then hits the open 16-footer on the baseline. Hawks up 67-55., 10:16 to go in the fourth. Timeout, Miami. Spoelstra better get Dwyane Wade up and at ’em. Five Hawks players (Zaza, Joe, Josh, Bibby and Mo are in double figures.

• JO from D-Wade, who has returned, for two. James Jones gets his fifth foul fighting through a pick trying to chase Joe. Bibby finds Josh who spins the wrong way, hits the lay-in and draws the foul on Udonis Haslem. Josh makes the free throw, and the Hawks are up 70-57.

• Wade gets a rebound and bucket. Hawks up 70-59. Bibby misses a jumper. Wade comes back and hits a two over Flip Murray. Josh Smith shoots a long 2 and misses with about 20 left on the shot clock. Wade drives and misses a layup and Woody calls a timeout and is furious at Josh. Hawks ball, up 70-61, with 7:59 to go. Um, bad shot selection, Josh?

• Out of the timeout, Josh drives and misses a lay-up, at least it was a lay-up, and Zaza tips it in.

• Wade on Bibby. He loses his dribble, gets the ball back and hits a short jumper. Hawks up 72-63. Bibby runs over Chalmers and gets an offensive foul. Miami goes back to Wade, who has flip on him now. Smoove gets him on a switch, and Wade misses a three. Zaza gets his 16th rebound! And they still can’t pronounce his name.

• The Hawks and heat trade misses. Bibby finds Smoove wide open in the corner and his three rims out. Wade hits a runner and makes it 72-65, ATL, 5:16 to go.

• Cook fouls someone in the lane. Hawks take it out and Bibby nails a 25-footer. 75-65, ATL.

• Bibby on Wade after a switch. Wade works hard and drills a long two. 75-67. 4:24 to go.

• Joe misses a shot from the wing after bad spacing by the Hawks.

• Surprise, Wade goes one on one, this time against Zaza. He misses. Zaza should be guarding him all night! OK, maybe not. Wade 9-25. Flip misses a long two, Smoove grabs the rebound and hits Flip cutting to the basket for a lay-up, 77-67, Hawks, 3:20 to go. Timeout, Miami. The fans start trickling toward the exits, but this joint ain’t over, I don’t think.

• Sorry…distracted for a second because the Heat dancers came out in bikinis. Zaza with 12 and 17, by the way. Wow.

• Out of the timeout, the Heat go to JO, who’s been largely forgotten since the first quarter. He hits over Zaza in the post. Flip Murray answers, making it 79-69, 2:22 to go in the game.

• JO drives baseline and gets fouled by Zaza, and then he kinda pokes at Zaza or something. No tech. That’s just Zaza being Zaza.

• Wade misses a three. 1:46 to go. Joe goes one-on-one against Wade and doesn’t get a shot off in time, Wade goes down hard and stays down for a minute.

• Cook misses a three, and the fans sprint for the exits. 1:02 to go.

• And that’s basically it. The Hawks regain homecourt advantage and win 81-71.

• Postgame, Zaza Pachulia, with his 12 and 18, earned a trip to the interview room. He got dressed in his natty suit and then went in to fix his hair in the mirror, drawing a collection of catcalls from everyone else in the locker room.

Josh Smith had a huge scratch down the left side of his face and a swollen left eye courtesy of the swipe from Chalmers that knocked off his headband. Smoove was able to laugh about how the refs didn’t want to call the foul until his headband popped off. I suggested Josh get a band-aid over the open wound before he caught Swine Flu, and Josh agreed and ran off to get a band-aid.

Caught up with Marvin Williams, who said he’s going to be fine and that his wrist is still swollen. He was wearing a soft black cast but expects to be better soon. (I couldn’t get anything more concrete than that. I tried.)

Oh, and I asked Flip Murray if he saw Bernard Hopkins in the stands. Flip didn’t, even though Hopkins was basically sitting behind the Hawks bench. “If I’da seen him, I’da hollered at him,” said Flip.