Plans for Sunday?

The Heat promise they're coming back to Philips Arena for some more high-flying action against the Hawks.

The Heat promise they they'll be back in Atlanta at Philips Arena Sunday for Game 7.

HAWKKSVILLE - They didn’t even make it to the bus before vowing to return.

“Don’t make any plans for Sunday,” Heat center Jermaine O’Neal told me. “I promise you, we’ll be back here Sunday.”

Little did he know that Heat swingman James Jones had already cautioned me about looking past anything other than a Game 7 Sunday between the Hawks and Heat in this first round playoff series.

“We’ll be back,” a smiling Jones said after the Hawks smashed the Heat 106-91 in Game 5 Wednesday night at Philips Arena. “We’re going to go back home to handle our business [in Game 6 Friday night] and we’ll see you back here this weekend.”

I’ve known both O’Neal and Jones since we all lived and worked in Indianapolis, I was the beat writer and they were toiling for what used to be an Eastern Conference power (the franchise formerly known as the Indiana Pacers). I know they’re competitors and they feel, just as the Hawks do, that they are the better team.

So I don’t dismiss what they say.

And in a series that has been nothing but a parade of blowouts, why should the Heat feel any other way?

While the Heat is aiming for a return to A-Town, the Hawks are locked in on doing Friday night what they did Monday to turn the series around – winning again on the floor at AmericanAirlines Arena in Game 4. ”Now comes the hard part,” Hawks forward Josh Smith told me after Game 5. “When somebody is on the doorstep of getting eliminated, that’s when it gets real. We just have to go back down there to Miami and handle business. We have to go down there with a business attitude and play our game.”

AFTER TWO STRAIGHT WINS it’s clear that the Hawks’ “game” includes whipping the Heat in all the categories that count.

They have outrebounded the Heat 77-62 since the start of Game 4. They’ve had 38 assist to the Heat’s 28, outscored them 72-48 in the paint, whipped them 32-18 on second chance points and 27-10 in fast break points. Toss in the Hawks’ defensive performance (the Heat have shot .428 from the floor and .285 from beyond the 3-point) and it’s no wonder the Hawks have a chance to eliminate the Heat Friday night.

“I think defense is the key for us,” Zaza Pachulia said. “We played pretty good defense (Wednesday), I think. We know how to win. When everybody does the little things, we’re a tough team to beat. And in the last two games, we really did those things.”

NO PLAYER WILL HAVE MORE HEAT ON HIS SHOULDERS (literally and figuratively) than Pachulia will Friday night in Game 6. If Al Horford can’t go (he walked out of the arena under his own power after Game 5 but was wearing an ice compression boot on his right leg after suffering a “mild ankle sprain” before halftime) Pachulia will have to fill the void at center.

Pachulia has all the experience necessary for the job. And it was his inside work in Game 4 (18 rebounds and 12 points) that pushed the Hawks over the top in that game. And he’s still sporting that black eye he earned in Game 3, a badge of honor he wears better than any of his fly Italian suits.

“I’ve been coming in and replacing Al the whole year,” Pachulia said. “But hopefully, he’s going to be back soon, because we really need him. In the playoffs, sometimes guys get in foul trouble or whatever, so we need everybody. But I’ve been in this situation before, so it’s nothing new.”

THERE IS NO NEWS YET ON AL, either, so relax. The Hawks practice this morning at 11 and the first real update won’t come until after they have finished. The biggest test will be to see how Horford’s ankle responds to the team flight to Miami, provided Horford makes that trip.

Horford tried to come back after halftime last night but said he simply couldn’t do it. Playing without both Horford and Marvin Williams, who is probably out for the rest of this series, is going to be a monstrous task if the Hawks have to do so in Games 6 and 7. I’m not sure how Hawks coach Mike Woodson will scramble things up to make it happen, but it’ll be interesting to see what transpires next.

In today’s edition of the SOUTH FLORIDA REPORT, our friends from Miami are showing no mercy for the home team.

My man Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald challenged the Heat to answer the Hawks’ physical nature in Game 6 or hit South Beach for vacation.

Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post questioned the Heat’s sincerity with all the elbows, hard fouls and tough-guy posturing that went on in Game 5.

And my man Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel likened last night’s MMA action to the Heat-Knicks battles of yesteryear. And he would know since he’s covered the Heat from their first day of existence.

Game 6 ought to be a fantastic mess.

219 comments Add your comment

phar71

April 30th, 2009
10:35 am

What did you think of Smooves between the legger?

I say no big deal, we were up by plenty and it would have brought the house down had a connected.

I feel like the announcers/media would have praised Wade/Bron for doing the same thing, but are killing our boys.

JM

April 30th, 2009
10:51 am

I agree phar. In fact, didn’t Lebron do the samething a couple years ago? I doubt think it was a playoff game. Josh was just trying to entertain the home crowd. Go Hawks.

J Dub

April 30th, 2009
10:51 am

I don’t have a huge problem with J Smith’s between the legger. I would have much rather seen him finish strong but taken within the context of the score and momentum, not a big deal. It is no surprise that the announcers/media had a problem with it. They had no problem with the hard foul on Mo Evans when Dwayne Wade took him out of the air. I don’t care what is said about trying to block a shot, if you try to block a dunk from behind in mid-air body to body, it is a foul. Plain and simple. I am very dissapointed in the broad perception of our team in the media and the questionable at times calling of the games. I think that we have clearly dominated the last two games with occasional let down stretches and should maintain the same intensity in Game 6. Nothing better than eliminating a team on their home court. Was very pleased with JJ’s play last night and he continued to show a good ability to pass out of double teams and take advantage of single coverage. As for Smith, I still wish he would back off of the 20 foot jumpers. Flip was a monster during several stretches last night and I think that Solomon played real well during his time in the game. We need the whole team to step up in Game 6 and get this series taken care of.

phar71

April 30th, 2009
10:54 am

Agreed. And I loved Woody putting Mario in the game to hound Dwade at the end of the half.

Sekou Smith

April 30th, 2009
10:58 am

The between the legs dunk was nothing to me. The only problem I had with it is that he missed it. If you’re going to do something freaky like that in the playoffs you better make it. But who cares that he tried it. T-Mac and Vince Carter have thrown the ball off the backboard in traffic and dunked before. Who cares?

JM

April 30th, 2009
10:58 am

Did anyone notice how hyped ‘Rio got at the end of the half after hounding Wade? Great stuff.

kwooden1

April 30th, 2009
11:00 am

Astro AMEN on the Head Hunting for Smoove. He better be prepared for the beam ball and have the guts to keep his composure!!! (More Importantly his BODY and BRAIN in the game!!)

kwooden1

April 30th, 2009
11:07 am

I would consider Horford out or at best very limited for Friday night, this means a lot of time for Solo. This is were not developing your bench really hurts. Last night Solo was out of position several times against Wade, which resulted in him getting fouls. Maybe it’s his lack of skills,but I think it’s the lack of playing time. Practice can’t prepare you for the emotions and speed of a real game, especially a Playoff game. I hope Solo can learn quickly, because Friday is tomorrow and the HEAT are looking for revenge!!

WIN IN 6!!!

GO HAWKS!!!!

RickNole

April 30th, 2009
11:12 am

I want to see more of ‘Rio on Wade!!

Khao$

April 30th, 2009
11:22 am

Sekou, you echoed my sentiments exactly. Who cares? Wade is notorious for standing on top of announcer’s tables and screaming “This is my house” after defeating an opponent. No different than what Smith did. Only difference is Smith didn’t finish and Wade does his theatrics after winning a game. However, it is the same result: they played to the crowd at the expense of a defeated opponent. That is such a nonstory.

bigdave

April 30th, 2009
11:23 am

Geesh the kid his high in that pic…

gusman354

April 30th, 2009
11:24 am

REMEMBER 2006? ITS NOT OVER UNTIL IS OVER ATLANTA PIGEONS

Melvin

April 30th, 2009
11:27 am

gusman354, go rotate shifts with who died…?, Al and reality icing DWade back…lol

phar71

April 30th, 2009
11:28 am

And what about all of the Cavs posing and posturing on the bench? It is a sport, and is supposed to entertain the people paying 3 digi’s for tickets.

Edgewood Adam

April 30th, 2009
11:32 am

I really hate the heat and Wade at this point. All Wade does is cry. Why is he the only player in the league that is not allowed to be fouled. The heat and their coach are a joke. You took Josh’s attempt at a circus dunk as too much? Wade stares down the Hawks bench everytime he makes a shot. Jermaine Oneal should have been called for a flagrant on the foul on Zsa Zsa and the Hawks never complain. So go ahead and cry about Josh and the refs but make sure to look up because the soaring figure above you is Josh dunking on you again.

PS
I really like D-Wade before this series. He is easily the most hateable player in the league if you watch him for long enough. I wish the media would shut up about his back too. Its the playoffs. Nobody is fresh.

SlimG

April 30th, 2009
11:32 am

Who cares about the dunk? Only the heat and some media sources to try and sell advertising. It was nothing more than a missed field goal attempt. Grow up. What else was there to talk about. The national media doesn ‘t want to talk about us beating up on Dwade. Just go to South beach and get a win.

Volman

April 30th, 2009
11:34 am

Gusman, quit your crying. You are SUCH A BABY. I saw on one of the Miami Herald articles that at the bottom you did your little cry baby rant about how the Hawks fans are low class.. Wah wah wah.

Get over it. Tell Wade to whipe up his tears.. they are still on the Philips Arena court.

The guy gets hurt (a little bit) and stays on the ground motionless like he is paralyzed… Then gets taken to the back only to come back “100%” and score 17 in the third. Hurt? My ass.

Another thing about the Smith dunk miss. I think that is crap. People cheer LeBron on ANYTHING he does.. He puts on a “show” every single game he plays. Is it not offensive TO ANYONE ELSE when LeBron throws up that pixie dust in the air after all the player introductions? I don’t care when he’s in Cleveland. Do whatever you want. Don’t do it in my hometown. That pisses me off.

Ando, good running into you last night.

Volman

April 30th, 2009
11:37 am

Padon me..”wipe”, not “whipe”. Typo!

phar71

April 30th, 2009
11:38 am

I can’t wait for Friday. If we can keep it close in the 1st half I love our chances. (yes even without BIL Al)

phar71

April 30th, 2009
11:38 am

Big not bil!

bigdave

April 30th, 2009
11:43 am

i actually think that Solo has the skill set and the ability to be a contributer and fill in. it is definitely a matter of playing time and game experience… not necessarily the adjustment to the speed, but the habits, and playing styles of the opponent. thats usually to blame for most of his fouls. all in all i think he did a good job when he was in there… his length and leaping ability enabled him to give a good contest on shots…

Sekou, Israel Gutierrez is your boy… wow.. did you read how he ripped us in the paper Thurs.? ive never heard you that bias in favor of the Hawks. or even that doubtful of the opposition. well, maybe cause the Hawks never give that assurance…

Melvin

April 30th, 2009
11:43 am

Dont worry about the type-o Volman. It was still funny…
Gusman, you don’t have to post on the Hawks blog if you don’t like the treatment. If you come on here talking smack about the Hawks then you better be prepare to get smack back just like DWade coming thru the line when SOLO says not in my house. DWade must go down, he must go down hard…

Khao$

April 30th, 2009
11:46 am

I’m not concerned about how Miami perceived Josh’s missed dunk. As must posturing that goes on in the NBA, it’s silly. Horford’s ankle is a bigger concern. Joe definitely has to play like a superstar down in Miami. Their crowd will be hot and Wade’s mysterious back injury is gone.

I think the reason why Hawks fans booed wasn’t because Wade was hurt. It’s the fact he’s overplayed his injuries (ie: his back) and the fans initial reaction was “c’mon, he’s being a drama queen, he’s not hurt.” I NEVER doubted for a minute that he would come back in that game. Sure enough he did and he hit a gang of shots. That’s the thing, he and Paul Pierce have this fake a injury thing going on.

Westurd

April 30th, 2009
11:46 am

The crowd and the game were great last night…….Mario stomping his feet at center court at half was def one of the best highlights. I love the fight the HAWKS showed last night. Solo and Josh get a shout out for stepping up to the puss DWADE and literally shoving him around.

Great jobs HAWKS, and great job FANS! The crowd had a lot of toughness, highlights, and overall heart to cheer about.

I hope there isn’t a game seven, my wallet can’t handle any extra home games. Got to start saving that paper for round 2!

Westurd

April 30th, 2009
11:48 am

The reason the fans boo WADE is because he is the star of the other team? Whats to even discuss?

Volman

April 30th, 2009
11:51 am

Melvin, I feel ya man! Solo definitely had a “not in my house” moment. I was really happy for him that he got in there and roughed up the Heat. HE HAS TO MAKE THE MOST OF HIS MINUTES. That definitely pumped up the crowd and the rest of his team mates. Props to Solo.

Did anyone see the huge Zaza sign in the upper deck? I am pretty sure it was from his fan club… I don’t remember 100% what it said… Something like “Zaza Said Knock You Out!” or something like that.

Hilarious!

Volman

April 30th, 2009
11:53 am

Westurd, I really think the entire NBA is used to the “big name” teams and star players getting the homecourt treatment when at Philips Arena. That treatment is NO MORE. The Hawks actually have a team that is fighting for a championship. Atlanta wants to rally around that. That’s special.

I was PROUD of the boos for Wade. I was PROUD being a part of the “D-Wade sucks” chants. If it weren’t for the “defense!” music starting up, I think the entire arena would have gotten in on the act.

Did we actually do a “Stand up until the first shot is made” thing? I really liked that!

Sam from the Swats

April 30th, 2009
11:53 am

JDub, I couldn’t say it any better. I think Mike Fratello has something against the Hawks because he justifies why every questionable call that goes the Heat’s way, should go the Heat’s way. I look at the local guys because its obvious the way the media is going. As for all the Josh comments, I’m still trying to figure out why there is more scrutiny on Josh Smith than any other player on our team. He was not the 2nd overall pick (I refuse to say his name anymore), he was the 17th pick. If he was out instead of No 2 pick, we wouldn’t be in this series. Josh starts the breaks with his defense, he’s unstoppable on the break, and when he decides to stop shooting jumpers until he gets one, he will be even better for us. I know that eventually he will have a jumper. His Dad had a monster jay. Maybe his Dad needs to give him more tutelage on jump shots.

J.J.M.

April 30th, 2009
11:57 am

I agree who cares about the miss dunk Josh did. He wasn’t trying to show off. Josh being Josh just trying to give the crowd a little something to remember. For the Heat fans who keep saying us Hawks fans are wrong for booing wade I think it was the fact that wade always gets hurt and returns with a superhero save us entrance(ur either hurt or not hurt wade.)I was watching the game on HD I saw a lil bit of dirty plays from the Heat. With or without Horford Hawks have to come together as a team and put this series away for good. Yes it would be better to win the series on home court in front of fans, but lets get this over with friday night.

Ernest

April 30th, 2009
12:01 pm

With the possibility of our ‘big man bench’ being shortened, it will be important for them to stay out of foul trouble. Who knows, we may see Morris and Hunter make token appearances at the end of the quarter or half to ’save’ the big men we have. Heck, I might run some zone every now and then just to change the look and protect the big men.

On the offensive side, we can settle for jump shots. Players will need to drive to the basket, in hopes of getting the Heat in foul trouble also. Flip does a great job of this and will need help from others.

Cornerstones

April 30th, 2009
12:01 pm

Well, what do ya know? The Atlanta CAN display patience on offense. Got one rhyme for J-Smooth and D-Wade or ATLANTA vs HEAT.

I don’t like you
You don’t like me
I ain’t fitna run
I ain’t fitna flee

Let’s see which Hawk team shows up tomorrow.

Irven.j

April 30th, 2009
12:02 pm

Ok Dwade is hurt if wade wasnt hurt it will {never be a game six} GOOOO HEAT

J.J.M.

April 30th, 2009
12:06 pm

lol yahoo headline is josh smith dunk calling it childish and immature

J.J.M.

April 30th, 2009
12:06 pm

^^^^^miss dunk my bad

gusman354

April 30th, 2009
12:07 pm

JUST REMEMBER 2006 ITS NOT OVER UNTIL IS OVER I WARNING YOU

bfred

April 30th, 2009
12:07 pm

Which reminds me, what’s up with Fratello’s hair? That’s what the other commentators should be upset about. Is that a weave or a rug? Wow.

Which also reminds me, is the halftime show scripted or not? It was absolutely excruciating, basically like listening to three idiots shooting the breeze in the living room. The best was listening to Barkley deny that he saw a foul against (I think) Smith when the guy was being bodyslammed. I kept hoping someone would ask him if he was drunk.

Volman

April 30th, 2009
12:12 pm

Bfred, great post~!

I am starting to get a little tired of Fratello and Stockton (I record the games because I’m at Philips). Stockton is plain old boring, and Fratello has been ALL over the Heat’s nuts and constantly criticizes the Hawks on any mistakes they make.

Don’t get me started on the three babbling idiots on TNT. I used to like them, honestly. They have been RIPPING on the Hawks this past week, and it’s unreal. I think Chris Webber has ZERO TALENT and should be kicked off of TV. He looks so awkward on stage and nervous like he has no idea what he’s going to say and TRIES SO HARD TO SAY SOMETHING FUNNY or basketball oriented. Get over it Webber. You’re washed up…stop trying to hold onto the NBA. It doesn’t need you.

Barkley, is a drunk…but mostly tells it how it is. The “Jet” pisses me off. He needs to “go fishing” for a LONG TIME.

Bfred, hope to see you at the game sometime. You should come down and support the team! :)

gusman354

April 30th, 2009
12:12 pm

ITS PERSONAL NOW THE HEAT VS THE PIGEONS . GET READY FOR D-DAY

Barry

April 30th, 2009
12:16 pm

Hey Y’all;

Ballers. Shot callers. It’s time. It’s time to stand up for your HAWKS. It’s time to stand up like you did at the game. It’s time to stand up for you HAWKS aganist those naysayers who have invaded our town regarding our HAWKS. Our young Hawks have now matured. They are the new stars in the NBA. We know the old folks are resistant to change, but let me tell you a “changing of the guards” is going on in the NBA. And it starts with our young, nitty, gritty Atlanta Hawks. We are throwing punches and taking hit. But guess what? We are still standing with the gleam of “VICTORY” in our eye. “OUR HEAD IS BLOODY BUT UNBOWED”. We are ready for these playoffs. The Heat is a good test for thing s to come. But come Friday, they are done. The HAWKS are going to end this thing. Miami can talk trah they are coming back to Atlanta all they want. But they really don’t want that. It’s done in Miami. Like Ali, the HAWKS are calling the round. The HEAT is done in 6. And then, the HAWKS continue their road of “SHOCKING THE WORLD!!” with this nitty, gritty bunch of young “ballers”. They aint’t playing, y’all. Get ready for the drama of the new stars in the NBA that play for your ATLANTA HAWKS. Park by your T.V. Friday with your beer and friends and watch the HAWKS “TURN THE ROOF OF THE HEAT!”

LET’S GO HAWKS!! LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a SECRET from a HAWK FAN. TELL EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

………………………”ATLANTA HAWKS, BOOM-BYE-YEAH!!!!”……..
………………………….”SHOCK THE WORLD, BABY!!!”…………

Ringold

Hawk Fan In New Orleans

April 30th, 2009
12:16 pm

Since Wade cannot use the “partying in the A-Town” excuse – this “back injury” is another built in excuse for the whooping that’s taken place the last two games. Its a win-win for Wade – if he wills his team to victory, he would have done it in spite of the injury – if they lose it was because he was banged up.

The whole Jermaine Oneal guarantee is to psych his team and fans up – he is really confident because the possibility of Big Al being out. They are also using this J Smoove dunk attempt as a rallying cry to to inspire themselves to victory. They are desperate (Hawks are the better team) but The Hawks better come ready to fight!

Dan

April 30th, 2009
12:21 pm

gusman…remember ‘06? I don’t think the officiating crew that handed the Heat the title is working this series. Sorry.

Here is my coaching suggestion….put Josh Smith on O’Neal. I promise you…Josh would shut that guy down. O’Neal wants no part of Josh Smith.

I usually like Barkley and Smith on TNT. They are annoying me in this series, though. They have obviously not watched the Hawks all year. They both offer nothing but bush league analysis of the team. And, to those of you that continue to reference the “dribble, dribble, dribble, shoot” BS from Kenny Smith, stop it. That is not the Hawks normal offense. We know that because we have watched them all year. Saturday, when Kenny Smith made that comment, was only the third time he had seen the Hawks all year. So, F him.

Also, if you saw Barkley and Smith talk at half of Nuggets/Hornets, they were commenting on Josh’s dunk attempt. They implied that the Heat “were watching” and that they would use it as motivation in the next game. Who gives a sh#t?! Once the ball tips, none of that matters. Hawks winning or losing game 6 has nothing to do with the flashy dunk attempt.

bigdave

April 30th, 2009
12:23 pm

ditto Volman…

gusman354

April 30th, 2009
12:23 pm

OK PIGEONS REMEMBER THAT I WARNING YOU BUT YOU GUYS DO,NT GONA LISTEN

JayZee!

April 30th, 2009
12:25 pm

LOL Miami beat writers saying Smoove is a mediocre athlete only good for dunks .

LOL

oldmike

April 30th, 2009
12:26 pm

I love the comments about DWade’s back injury. It’s probably true but if I recall Chipper had spasms last year and missed three games. So how bad Wade’s injury anyway? TNT and ESPN are dying because the Hawks might win this series. They want DWade against LeBron so bad they can taste it. Kenny Smith can’t stand us, Barkley maybe can tolerate us. They don’t seem to get it that the point of the playoffs is to be the last team standing not the team with the biggest ESPN/TNT stars. Agree with all the so what’s on the dunk attempt. I seem to recall LeBron throwing down some freaky dunk against the Pistons when the Cavs were up a bunch. And more others I can’t even recount. Get over it Heat.

darrell starks

April 30th, 2009
12:31 pm

The guys on sport talk show is retarted the hole show they talk about is the miss dunk we up by 25points with 3min left the game is over so what JOSH miss the dunk continue to keep your swagger JOSH all i care about is winning AND IF DE WADE COME THRU THE LANE PUT HIS ASS ON THE GROUND LIKE THEY DID HORFORD.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dawes

April 30th, 2009
12:31 pm

i think the hawks will win in six games so happy holiday miami

Irven.j

April 30th, 2009
12:33 pm

Heat in 7 i said it……….. LET GO HEAT LET GO HEAT

Volman

April 30th, 2009
12:34 pm

It is time for the Heat to go fishing.

Volman

April 30th, 2009
12:35 pm

Irven..you are an idiot.

Let go of what? What are the Heat holding onto?