This is a lesson on how not to close the deal

 

Dwyane Wade (41 points) was at level Friday night, and the Hawks were somewhere way below.

Dwyane Wade (41 points) was at one level Friday night, and the Hawks were significantly below in a 98-72 loss to the Heat.

MIAMI — It really doesn’t matter what it was the Miami Heat finally zeroed in on Friday night as a source of motivation. Pretty much everything had been thrown out there — an “insulting” showboating dunk attempt by Josh Smith in Game 5, an excitable turbo-lipped broadcaster, possibly even global warming.

Here’s the only real question that matters: What happened to the Hawks’ motivation?

With a chance to clinch their first playoff series in 10 years, they instead reminded everybody why it has been 10 years.

They lost 98-72. That’s really only an assumption because most people stopped paying in the third quarter.

“I didn’t have a good game, and a lot players on the team didn’t have a good game,” said Josh Smith. If nothing else, he gets points for his ability to summarize. (And there is nothing else: He was 3-for-13 for eight points.)

The Hawks shot 37 percent. They watched Dwyane Wade score 41 points and rookie Michael Beasley add 22 points and 15 rebounds. If the first is forgivable, the second isn’t. They were outworked on the boards. They didn’t play defense, constantly allowing the Heat to drive into the lane.

Instead of knocking Miami players down, they held up traffic for them.

The Hawks had mused over the Heat’s seemingly artificial motivation techniques. Maybe they should’ve been more concerned about their own — artificial or otherwise.

They led only once — at 8-7. They trailed by 14 points in the first quarter, nine at halftime, 21 in the third and by then everybody in blue stopped watching, not that their eyes seemed open to begin with.

This was not how a team closes out an opponent in the playoffs

Mike Bibby actually was the only Hawk who acted like he was ready for LeBron James and Cleveland in Round 2. He had 20 points by halftime, and that’s about the only thing that created any second-half suspense, such as it was. But when Miami scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, that was gone, too.

Had the Hawks won Friday, they would’ve flown to Cleveland after the game. Instead, it’s quite possibly the strangest 3-3 series in NBA playoff history. The final point spreads have been 26, 15, 29, 10, 15 and 26.

“This series has been a little bit schizophrenic,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.

Certainly, the Hawks have. They had better hope they have at least one road trip left in the season because now they’re going to a seventh game with Miami. It will be at Philips Arena on Sunday. Home-court advantage is what the Hawks worked for all season.

That should be a comforting thought for Hawks fans. But after what we witnessed Friday night — not so much the loss but the lopsided nature of it — can we possibly know what to expect?

Can home-court dominance (33-11, including the playoffs) trump a team that shows it’s capable of shooting 37 percent in a potential clinching game? Joe Johnson had two fouls in the first two minutes and struggled to get back into the flow of the game in the second quarter. Smith was alternately invisible or out of control.

Worst of all, the Hawks lacked any sense of urgency, particularly on defense. Miami players were left wide open for easy jumpers. Beasley and Joel Anthony controlled the boards.

We could’ve figured the Hawks would be hurt by the absence of Al Horford, who rapidly has become one of the team’s more indispensable players. But that doesn’t explain everything. And the Heat was missing Jermaine O’Neal.

What was it Flip Murray had said before the game? “We want to end it tonight. We want to come out strong and execute, take their crowd out of the game early and end this thing.

What was it Bibby had said? “In this series the main thing has been who hits the other team first. That’s the team that comes out on top.”

Miami hit. The Hawks forgot to duck.

127 comments Add your comment

irishmafia

May 1st, 2009
11:02 pm

Worried? LOL apparently the Heat weren’t worried about the Hawks. The vastly overrated Hawks, one of the worst franchises in the NBA, led by the worst coach in NBA history (apoligies to Isiah Thomas) . CMON be real the Hawks are a mentally challenged unmotivated teamwork lacking bunch of misfits.

Anthony

May 1st, 2009
11:03 pm

They should have stayed home. No passion at all. I don’t understand how they can decide to play hard or not to. I blame it on each player to be accountable, the coach to get them motivated. Also, Wade got all the calls. Pitiful referees calling the game. And at every break showing a Wade highlight. If you noticed whenever we got fouled or there was a question if we got fouled or not you never saw a replay, except when Wade got fouled. I hated this game. I hope somebody will light a match under their tales.

Left to Right

May 1st, 2009
11:08 pm

Trade Joe Johnson.

JK

May 1st, 2009
11:08 pm

Maybe Schultz needs to call out Joe again. He played pretty good in game 5. I directly attribute that to the Ordinary Joe article.

JK

May 1st, 2009
11:11 pm

Here’s the problem. There have been no close games in this series. If game 7 is a close one, Bibby is the only player that’s playing clutch right now. D-wade will get all the calls. The Hawks better come out to play and keep command of the game. If it’s close late, it’ll be JJ’s last chance in my book. Losing this series would be a huge step backward.

Heat Fan!

May 1st, 2009
11:11 pm

Hello My Feathered Friends – Game 7 – Should be fun, huh?

lawton

May 1st, 2009
11:12 pm

mark bradley said the hawks were a force. lol 40 years, and they still rebuilding, scrubs. even if they win, cleveland gonna mop them up.

Heat Fan!

May 1st, 2009
11:20 pm

Anthony (Tony), do i hear whinning? Maybe if the hawks had a superstar, calls would go your way. Johnson had a great season, but has disappeared in the playoffs. Superstar? hardly

Anthony

May 1st, 2009
11:21 pm

Heat Fan,
Not much to say here. We never showed up. Very pitiful. We’ll be lucky to win #7 if we don’t come with more passion and attitude. Heat did whatever they wanted. I’m a hawks fan but I’m not stupid. You can brag all you want with the way it went down tonight

Heat Fan!

May 1st, 2009
11:24 pm

been following the NBA long enough. bragging does nothing. honestly this series is actually a joke. i’ve never seen two teams be so inconsistent. it’s scary. hopefully both teams show up sunday. gotta give some props to Joel Anthony though. unbelievable filling in for JO

J.J.M.

May 1st, 2009
11:33 pm

This has been a horrible series. Games are not even close. refs seem to let the crowd controll the game calls. game 6 Wade Ft 16-17 hawks 11-18. i mean come on How you shoot more free throws then an entire team. Other that Heat wanted it more and smh @ the hawks assumin that they will win game 7. Anybody knows whats up with joe johnson?

Ariose

May 1st, 2009
11:40 pm

Words cannot express my anger right now. Marvin, Al, and Acie have let us down with their stupid a$$ injuries, Joe refuses to attack and the bench is a no show. I don’t even want to talk about the whack azz refs GIVING the game away with their biased calls.

We’ve waited ALL SEASON for our team to get back to this point and I am EXTREMELY dissapointed. I don’t care, trade marvin’s soft azz. I bet Rudy Gay or even Wade would’ve played with those injuries man(Actually Wrist inuries can be very painful, i’ve had one before but it’s the playoffs man, such that Shyt up and ball). This postseason has been a HUGE DISSAPOINTMENT…PERIOD. This series’ should’ve been over TWO GAMES AGO man. This is just stupid.

Joe needs to stop acting like a BI@#$%ch and attack that damn doubleteam. Wade does…

JayRoot

May 1st, 2009
11:41 pm

.

Another so-called sports pundit. Ha!

Are you not the same guy who said the Hawks would win this game … on the road no less.

What a joke. The birds are missing a superstar who can put “they foot in they hin parts, yo”. Man I so hoodish and I don’t even know it.

.

The Truth

May 1st, 2009
11:43 pm

Heat Fan
As much as we love our Hawks, we know good and bad basketball when we see it. Tonight, the Hawks played very bad basketball with the series on the line. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Even though the ref played a role in the outcome, we’re not going to whine about it. See you again in the ATL.

Jim

May 1st, 2009
11:48 pm

This TEAM WILL NEVER win anything with Woodson coaching– no guts whatsoever– Johnson is a joke for what we pay him, and Marvin has no guts to play.

Jim

mykhalc

May 1st, 2009
11:48 pm

when the HC cannot command then he cannot demand. and when he does not demand then he cannot command!! and that’s exactly why no one OTHER than BIBBY knows how to win. BIBBY does not rely on WOODSON for anythin’ other than PT. everybody else on this team is a direct relection of WOODSON (FLIP and MO not as much as the rest tho) simply put…WOODSON’s GOTTA GO…PERIOD!!!!

mykhalc

May 1st, 2009
11:49 pm

s/b reflection

Heat Fan!

May 1st, 2009
11:54 pm

The Truth: if you’re a fan of the NBA, doesnt’ matter which team you pull for. this series is horrible! home court – means nothing – it’s who shows up, plain and simple. Your superstar JJ has disappeared in the post season. Wade has had what 3 good games. Let’s hope for a good game sunday. And the subtle comment about the refs, does still sound like whinning. – just had to add that in there

FrenchyFries

May 1st, 2009
11:56 pm

New look Hawks road map to win the finals!

- started last year when the goal was actually making the playoffs.
this year is making it to the 2nd Round.
a year from now it’ll probably be not getting swept in the 2nd Round.
2 years from now it’ll be making it to the finals.
3 years from now it’ll be not getting swept in the finals.
and finally 4 years from now, when all the pieces are in place, the hawks win the finals.

shannon

May 1st, 2009
11:56 pm

Please add more refs to games. This was a joke. I watch Wade elbow Evans and knock him down and the foul is called on Evans. Then, I see Josh Smith get hammered by two guys, and no foul called. A foul is a foul. Period. If Wade can get a call 90% of the time he drives to the basket, but JJ gets it called 30% of the time, we won’t win.

shannon

May 1st, 2009
11:57 pm

DrewCat

May 2nd, 2009
12:00 am

OK seriously Schultz, how long`before we start hearing trade rumors for JJ? His disappearance in this series is inexcusable, which makes him dispensable. And his defense on Wade is just as bad as any other Hawk player. He has had almost no impact on the entire series! He makes 14 million. can we at least get some leadership from the $14 mill dollar man? I DON’T THINK SO!!! Let him go for a player with heart.

Hell we’ll take A.I. LOL

DavidT

May 2nd, 2009
12:01 am

Hi everybody. Wanted to ask a question to all on this thread. Of course the Hawks have the advantage with the decisive game in their building. Aside from that,what team do you think has more pressure on them? Who is more apt to cave and wilt if things don’t go there way Sunday?

Ben

May 2nd, 2009
12:04 am

Both of these teams are an inconsistent joke. This is a battle for who wants to lose to the Cavs. The only person who wins in this series is the owner(s) who will get to sell a few more tickets to the next round. Worst series I’ve ever watched. As a Hawks fan I say Go Hawks? I guess? whatever.

frank

May 2nd, 2009
12:10 am

Everybody wants to see D-Wade – Lebron in the second round of the playoffs. who wants to see Lebron – Hawks?? give me a break. The heat will win on sunday and move on, while you guys can start watching some braves games. GO HEAT!!!

Ben

May 2nd, 2009
12:15 am

What does that have to do with ANYTHING frank? Who cares what “everybody” wants to see? What makes you think the Heat will win on Sunday? Was it the win in Game 2? Or was it the blow out, never within 14, loss in Game 5? Kill yourself.

DavidT

May 2nd, 2009
12:17 am

Agreed, whoever advances come Sunday will be surely bounced by Cleveland in round 2. As a HEAT fan, I want as many playoff games as possible for the rookies, Beasley and Chalmers. The experience will only make them better down the road. Imagine the starting 5 on come 2010:

Mario Chalmers PG
Dwayne Wade SG
Michael Beasley SF
Chris Bosh PF
Any center will do……

Heat Fan!

May 2nd, 2009
12:19 am

Miami is a nicer city then Atlanta and the Heat will win this series in 7 !! It is because the Hawks don’t have a superstar like Wade who is NOT a prima donna!!

DavidT

May 2nd, 2009
12:24 am

As for you Hawks fans complaining about the refs whistle, go check the boxscore. 24 personal fouls called against Atlanta and 21 called against the HEAT. Oh yeah, big advantage there, getting 3 more foul calls. Give me a break. Hawks were completely outplayed. Enough said.

Scot

May 2nd, 2009
12:26 am

Regardless of the outcome Sunday, this series is a step backward and a huge disappointment. Last year the Hawks took the NBA champs to 7 games with a healthy KG. This year they go 7 with a mediocre 5 seed.

DavidT

May 2nd, 2009
12:33 am

Forget everything else, Sunday’s Game 7 comes down to the simple question of which means more: Having homecourt advantage or having Dwyane Wade?

The Truth

May 2nd, 2009
12:35 am

Heat Fan!
Just to show you that I am a good sportsman, I will give you that little jab. Also, I must agree with you, if you are a spectator with no emotional ties to either team, then yes this has been a horrible series to watch. Regarding JJ, I have to differ somewhat, As much as I am disappointed with his performance tonight, I also understand how the defense is playing him compared to D Wade. Our defense is playing Wade one-on-one while the Heat defense is constantly double and treble teaming JJ. His only best option is to pass off. The problem tonight was that his supporting cast was not making those shots. However, D Wade, the superstar that he is, has been free to go one-on-one with his defender and has had his way. So it’s unfair to compare Wade and JJ offensively. Having said that, however, what I am disappointed in JJ is not his offense production but is lack of energy and leadership. He’s got one more game to show up or else he’s going fishing early.

Birddawg

May 2nd, 2009
12:38 am

The truth of the matter is, the only thing missining from this team is leadership. There’s not another team in the East except for maybe Boston and Chicago that has as much talent top to bottom as the Hawks. Unfortunately, the Hawks are also the only team that is totally devoid of any leadership whatsoever. Why doesn’t anyone screen for JJ like the Heat do for Wade? Because there is no leadership from coaching. Why does a team with a chance to clinch a series come out with no emotion or drive whatsoever? Because there is no leadership among the players. This is just pathetic. The answers seem so easy, yet no one on the Hawks’ team seems to be able to figure it out.

Paulie

May 2nd, 2009
12:38 am

Someone once said that really good teams hate to lose. I mean really, really hate to lose. Can’t imagine themselves losing. I think, by definition, that means that they can only imagine themselves winning. The Hawks can’t imagine themselves winning, therefore, they will not win. They didn’t win when it mattered last year in the playoffs; they didn’t win this year during the season when it mattered; and they won’t win Sunday.

Paulie

May 2nd, 2009
12:45 am

Sorry, hit the wrong button before I was quite done. I blame the coach and, especially the GM. What the hell has the GM done since becoming GM? Not a damn thing, far as I can tell. Get us some help inside. Get us some help outside. Get rid of an ineffective, uninspiring coach. Bench players for poor play (J Smooth, my ass), and MOTIVATE. Maybe I’m just an old, white guy who used to play some back in the day, but, damn, I can’t imagine sitting out a game with a wrist injury (after participating in shoot around that a.m.–are you kidding me???) Anyone remember Willis Reed, dragging his leg out of the locker room to lead the Knicks against the Celtics? Even freaking Wilt played hurt. I could go on, but you get all my points, I’m sure. Very, very disappointed. Not a team at all, just a group of overpaid, stupidly dressed wannabes.

GOHAWKS

May 2nd, 2009
12:47 am

PLEASE MIAMI……… sell out your playoff game and then talk to me about a bad franchise…… THERE WERE AN INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF EMPTY SEATS IN THAT CRAP ARENA

Ariose

May 2nd, 2009
1:04 am

I’m tired of the media bashing J-Smoove. When we had only 13 wins in a season, Smoove was the ONLY reason to show up. I’m tired of idiots from ESPN like Mark Stien reporting false information and dragging his name and reputation through the mud. Then he doesn’t even give a formal apology on national T.V. He just says that his information was false!

Then Stupid azz Fratello says that that was an immature move with the dunk? What? Bit@!#ch his is an entertainmet industry hoe, everyone and they mama wanted to see Smoove do something spectacular and i’m sure Josh knew it too. He wanted to oblige the fans like we’ve supported him. Shut tha f@#$ck up stupid media idiots.The FANS cut that check home, hell Fratello without the fans you’d be out of a job. Fan support is the most important thing and it wasn’t even a close game, what better time would there be to do it. If that was Kobe, LeBron Or Vince you wouldn’t have said shyt. You watch ONE Hawk game all season, then you spout your false information like you know something. It was a CRIME that Josh hasn’t made sportsenter’s top 10 since the playoffs started. Especially after game one…..all of the top 10 should’ve had him in it. They continue to try to paint one of the nicest and most passionate players you’ll ever meet as a sehlfish, brainless village idiot……I’m sick of it!

Your ruining the mans reputation for no reason. While you pump up guys who i’m sick and tired of heaing about like Lebron. He’s not 280lbs!!!! Zaza wighs 285lbs and he can barely get off the ground. Smoove is WAY bigger than Lebron and he aint 275….stop this stupid crap!!!!

And why the hell are they tAlkin’ bout’ Wades back While he’s droppin’ 29pts on our home floor? Funny how his back only hurts when their getting blown out or the calls arent going his way.

We’re down TWO STARTERS and all they do is bash us. How about some REAL COVERAGE? How about some detals on the severity on Marvin’s injury huh? What about Acie’s Back? Al’s Ankle? They don’t care. But they can talk about how bad Wades back is scrwed up while he’s dunking his way to 29+ points while mugging the crowd…..whatever…

I was watchin Sports south at the same time BTW….they should just broadcast our local telecast throught the whole United States b/c i’m tired of this biased and spineless national coverage.

They don’t kow shyt….and F#@$ck Jeff Van Gundy!! Thats why you don’t have a job anymore dude. What did J-Smoove do to you? How is being engaged in the game and ACTUALLY CARING about the calls and your play immature? Josh had a bad game but at least he cares. He takes shots becaus he knows the team needs a jumpstart. Hell, Joe’s not gonna do it, so somebody has to try.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard fo Joe to understand that YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR THE DOUBLETEAM TO COME TO YOU!!!!!! Just F-ing catch and go man damn!!! You’ll get fouls that way because you’ll be suprising the defense and catching them off-balance. Alsoo, YOU CAN”Y MAKE ANY SHOTS OF YOU DON’T TAKE ANY MAN……..JOE STEP THA FU%@$CK UP AND PLAY BALL MAN…..DAMN. ATTACK THE DAMN DOUBLETEAM AND GOT TO THE DAMN LINE BRUH!!!!

Brian

May 2nd, 2009
1:05 am

It doesn’t matter who wins game 7. Hell, you could take players from both squads and make one team and they would still get beat by LeBron in the 2nd round. Neither of these teams deserve to win this series.

BarkingBulldawg

May 2nd, 2009
1:12 am

Hopefully this is a lesson for you on the Hawks. Nothing new. We didn’t get it doneon the road. SOMEONE told you so much in your last column where you proudly declared we would win Game 6.

Leave the Hawks to Sekou, Schultz. The Falcons could use you though.

james

May 2nd, 2009
1:18 am

I hate to admit it but Brian (above) has got something–whichever team wins this series doesn’t deserve it…

Hawks, lets put a game together for the home crowd on Sunday… You guys have only gotten better for the past few years, let’s show it!

DavidT

May 2nd, 2009
1:28 am

To GOHAWKS above, the game was sold-out. Just thought you’d like to know. I don’t see what that has to do with anything. Glad you weren’t on my debate team in high school.

BigHawk

May 2nd, 2009
1:32 am

To the Joe Johnson haters out there:

I am a die-hard Atlanta fan, have been all my life and will always stick by my teams in the best and worst of times.

I am getting really upset seeing all the comments on JJ. He is an all-star. What some of you may not get is that Joe is being double-teamed EVERY time he touches the ball. Therefore, Joe is not going to force the issue and jack up a bad shot. What he is doing, rather, is finding the open team mate and creating offense that way.

Where is the talk about Josh Smith taking all the outside jump shots and missing time and time again. We all know J-Smoove can’t hit from that range, but when he plays with the inside mentality and drives to the basket, he is one of the best in the league and can hardly be stopped. The difference in these games that the Hawks have won is smart TEAM basketball and playing with intensity and urgency. It’s not fair to blame one player for what he does on the floor. THe Hawks lose as a team, not just by Joe, Josh, Al, Marvin, Bibby, Mo, Flip, or Zaza.

GO HAWKS!!

GOHAWKS

May 2nd, 2009
1:33 am

DavidT did you even watch the game,,…… anyway Hawks win Sunday……. hopefully

Dadddy Long Long

May 2nd, 2009
1:35 am

Gotta call out Josh and Avg. Joe. 013pts a game in the playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Wow, hard to imagine lack of production your team captain.

Tech sucks

May 2nd, 2009
1:35 am

Can ANYONE get Josh Smith to stop shooting jump shots? He is so terrible at shooting.

Whopper Dawg

May 2nd, 2009
1:40 am

Coaching. Up and down, no consistency, no D, no half court, the Hawks have good, maybe real good athletes – but don’t play as a team by and large and it is due to coaching, coaching, coaching.

chris

May 2nd, 2009
1:57 am

As much as I’m loyal to the team, I’d like whatever has to happen to happen so that Woody is canned next year. They have no plays and absolutely no clues what they are doing on the court. They have the worst movement w/o the ball and the worst screens I’ve ever seen. if they luck out tomorrow and take the game because they shoot a little better or the heat shoot a little worse, it doesn’t matter. They needs leadership.

Joe

May 2nd, 2009
2:02 am

Woody, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease put a shock collar on J. Smith. Watching him shoot from the outside is unbearable.

G. Tampa Bedwetter

May 2nd, 2009
2:10 am

how stupid do you have to be to not realize the Hawks are “coaching impaired”?

Dr. Warren

May 2nd, 2009
2:11 am

MY COMMENT THURSDAY TO MARK BRADLEY’S BLOG:

Let’s not ignore the pattern. Every time the Hawks look superior, and a cinch to win the next game, they don’t. That is their identity–a frequently good team that loses focus and intensity at potentially transcendent (for the franchise) moments. They’ll lose in Miami, Horford or not. But they’ll probably win game 7. If it sounds like I’m contradicting myself, I’m not. They’ll win because it’s at home