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Heat-Hawks: Where Blowouts Happen

May 2, 2009 – 12:40 AM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

MIAMI -- It's not like only one team has shown up for this playoff series, which is what happened with the Cavs and the Detroit Deadbeats. It's just that these two don't show up at the same time.

Not to rain on anyone's playoff parade, but it's hard to imagine a Game 7 with any less suspense than what we'll see Sunday when the Heat play the Hawks in Atlanta. Hopefully, there will be golf to watch.

Can't predict the winner, but it won't take long to find out who it will be. These two take turns quitting early. It has become the anti-Celtics-Bulls series.


Heat 98, Hawks 72: Recap | Box Score | Scoreboard
Game 7 Sunday @ Atlanta, 1 PM ET


The Miami Heat slapped down the Atlanta Hawks Friday night, 98-72, much like the Hawks did to them more than once in this series. For the sixth time in this series, the team that led after the first quarter easily won the game.

None of the six games were closer than 10 points at the end. Five of the six have included 20-point leads. There have been no second-half lead changes.

At least the concession stands have been busy in the second half. One throws a knockout punch, and the other just falls down.

"This series has been a little schizophrenic," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "Maybe this next one (Game 7) will be the epic. I imagine both teams will be ready for the next one."

Dwyane Wade dominated Friday's game because no one could guard him, but no one really seemed to try, politely preferring to wait until Sunday when the Hawks presumably will play better at home.

"I can't explain it,'' lamented Hawks coach Mike Woodson. "Tonight, they did what they had to do. We were just there."

Latest NBA Playoff Photos

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks forces a foul against Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zaza Pachulia;Joel Anthony

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat celebrates against the Atlanta Hawks in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwyane Wade

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joe Johnson;Dwyane Wade

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Ronald Murray #22 of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Daeqaun Cook #14 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ronald Murray;Daequan Cook

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: The Atlanta Hawks take a breather in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Atlanta Hawks

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against James Jones #22 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Zaza Pachulia;James Jones

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks argues a call by the official in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Josh Smith

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 1: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Josh Smith

    NBAE/Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 01: Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat watches his team take on the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Hawks 98-72. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erik Spoelstra

    Getty Images

    MIAMI - MAY 01: A Miami Heat Dancer performs during a stoppage in play as the Miami Heat take on the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The Heat defeated the Hawks 98-72. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

    Getty Images



Wade was brilliant with 41 points, doing what he pleased whenever he pleased. After a season of lugging this team on his back, averaging 17 points more than anyone else on the roster, he has been slowed by injuries in this series and too many regular-season minutes.

On Friday, he looked fresh again, even better than he was in Games 2 and 3, also won by the Heat. It's clear that as he goes, so go the Heat. Unlike the Celtics, who have won without Kevin Garnett, and the Magic, who closed their series in Philadelphia without Dwight Howard, the Heat can't afford anything but the best of Wade and still have a chance in Game 7.

"I'd expect a close game, sooner or later," joked forward Udonis Haslem. "It just seems like whoever comes with the better focus and more energy just keeps going."

The Heat won by 29, 15 and 26 points. The Hawks won by 10, 27 and 15. Both teams have been very good and very bad, but never at the same time together.

"It just takes a little bit of an edge to really tip the scale," said Spoelstra. "But I think Game 7 will be different."

If not for the chippiness on both sides, the hard hits by Zaza Pachulia and the showboating by Josh Smith, the series really would lack in attraction. If the Bulls-Celtics goes down as a classic on Saturday, this one could end as a dud, even with a Game 7 on Sunday.

Bulls-Celtics has been riveting. Heat-Hawks has been awful at times, spoiling any kind of a showcase for Wade. The Heat scored just 64 points in Game 1. The Hawks failed to show any life in Game 6.

No. 4 (Hawks) vs. No 5 (Heat) in the first round should have been one of the closest first-round series, but it has produced nothing but blowouts, like neither team was fully into the show.

After all, the winner gets a trip to Cleveland, where the Cavs have been virtually unbeatable all season.

Both teams were without their starting centers on Friday. Jermaine O'Neal was missing for Miami. The Hawks were without Al Horford.

And at times in this series, both teams were missing in action.
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