Don’t look for D-Wade to d-rail the Hawks in Round 1

The Hawks will face the world’s third-best player in Round 1, and it was only three seasons ago that Dwyane Wade willed the Miami Heat to a championship. Do the Hawks worry he might pull a Dallas-in-the-finals on them?

Said Al Horford: “Yeah, I do.”

Said Mike Woodson: “Sure you worry about that. The great ones find a way. That’s something we think about quite often.”

Said Josh Smith: “He’s one of the game’s greats, but I don’t worry about that. I don’t think that way.”

As majestic as Wade can be, the Hawks have one of the world’s best dozen players themselves, and Joe Johnson tends to rise to most moments. In the first three games against Miami this season, Johnson scored only 16 fewer points than the league’s leading scorer, and he did it while taking eight fewer shots. And Johnson’s team won two of the three.

“It’s a challenge,” Johnson said, speaking of playing against the exalted likes of Wade and Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. “We play pretty much the same position. I have to guard those guys, and they have to guard me.”

The Heat was in town Tuesday for a playoff preview that wasn’t a preview. (When Wade doesn’t play and Speedy Claxton does, you know it’s garbage time.) This game meant nothing. The games that begin this weekend will tell us if the Hawks are as good as they’ve seemed these past six months.

“I know what we’re capable of,” Johnson said. “We can’t come out hoping we’re going to win. We have to come out knowing we’re good.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Although Woodson still describes his as “a young team,” Miami is the club that figures to show its tender years in the postseason. Two key Heaters – guard Mario Chalmers and sixth man Michael Beasley – are rookies, albeit good ones. All contributing Hawks, by way of contrast, have experienced the playoffs before, and six of the top eight were part of the thrill-ride against Boston last spring.

“That [series] taught us how to play playoff basketball,” Woodson said, and we’re about to see if that’s true. The Hawks seized on that Celtics experience to move from the No. 8 seed a year ago to No. 4 this time, and that’s a major consideration. They’ll have four games of the best-of-seven at Philips Arena, and we all know the Hawks – pause for effect – have never lost a postseason game on this hallowed hardwood.

And the wondrous Wade? Well, the Hawks have precisely the defenders to bother him – big, quick wingers to run at him with shot-blockers looming underneath. (Wade averaged 30.2 points this season, but only 25.7 in those three games against Atlanta.) As John Crotty, the Heat’s radio analyst, noted Tuesday: “Dwyane had 55 against the Knicks last week and [it was almost like] he didn’t take a jump shot. He just got to the rim. It’s harder to do that against the Hawks.”

Wade will have his moments, but not enough. These Hawks have been too adroit for too long to trip over Round 1. Said Smith: “The way it ended last year left a sour taste in our mouths. We want to write an even better story this year.”

The belief here is that they will. Hawks in six.

68 comments Add your comment

merbertmoover

April 14th, 2009
8:32 pm

Man, these Hawks gonna take it to da rim like cherry pie, know what im sayin? d-wade? more like medicaid…know what im saying? the heat gonna be tripped up like a duck in some applesauce, like a tuna in a tootsie roll, like scooby doo in a loop-d-loo baby! know what im sayin?

Mark Bradley

April 14th, 2009
8:33 pm

I believe I do, Mr. Merbert. (And I especially like, “More like medicaid.” I might steal that one.)

LMFAO@ YOU!

April 14th, 2009
8:54 pm

Wade hit 6 three pointers, yet didnt take a jump shot?

How about a fact check douchebag!

Wade will destroy you guys.

Blast

April 14th, 2009
9:51 pm

Mark,

1st write up I ever posted on. Below is my post on Sekou’s blog a few seconds ago. And I don’t agree about your outlook on Wade’s outfit.

Dwayne Wade looks like an old, English professor in those suits he wears. They got funny colors, probably has elbow patches, and those weird bow ties. Wade needs a fashion consultant!

Gardner just had another steal.

Hawks full bench playing against Heat’s bench. Hawks winning so far, so the bench cancels out. Leaving the starters, where Heat has Wade, O’Neal, and maybe Chambers. Hawks have Bibby, JJ, Marvin of Mo, Josh and Horford. I will take our lineup anytime.

ozhawk4life

April 14th, 2009
10:17 pm

dwade is a star but he is going to need help, they can win a game or two but not a series, i hope super mario gets some minutes to go against wade, i think we just match up nice with them overall, hawks will take this in 5

dawes

April 14th, 2009
10:20 pm

i take the hawks in 5 games

Mark Bradley

April 14th, 2009
10:28 pm

So does the Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins. (See homemade video above.)

Mark Bradley

April 14th, 2009
10:29 pm

Oh, and Blast: There were no patches on the sleeves of Wade’s coat. I checked.

CaliHawks

April 14th, 2009
10:42 pm

heat dont have enough players to stop tha Hawks

Mark Bradley

April 14th, 2009
10:56 pm

If I were the Hawks, I’d see Michael Beasley as the X-factor. He’s a great talent who isn’t yet a great player, but if he gets going alongside Wade it could be, “Good night, nurse.” (Old baseball saying.)

But I don’t the Hawks will let him. They can defend forwards and even 2-guards. It’s point guards they can’t handle. (Witness Rajon Rondo last spring. Witness Tony Parker’s 42 points last month.)

Najeh Davenpoop

April 14th, 2009
11:12 pm

I agree about Beasley… he’s killed the Hawks the last two times he’s played them, and if Miami has any chance of pulling off an upset it will be because he steps up and becomes a reliable #2 scorer for them. The Hawks have to find an answer for him. They will win this series pretty easily if they can shut down everyone else and let D-Wade get his, but if players like Chalmers or Beasley step up this series will be tough.

Bob

April 14th, 2009
11:33 pm

I was at that game! It was awesome! Anybody (Mark Bradley?) hear anything about Thomas Dimitroff or Arthur Blank being at this game? I was sitting in the lower part of the upper level, and two guys came and sat down besides me that I swear looked almost just like Dimitroff and Blank, but i couldn’t tell. It was probably just a coincidence, but just wondering if anyone heard that they were there.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
12:43 am

I didn’t, Bob. But I’m guessing — and this is just me guessing — those two wouldn’t have been in the upper level.

CaliHawks

April 15th, 2009
1:02 am

Hawks can use mario west as a point defender if they wanted he seems to be a defensive stopper when tha hawks need it. hawks in 5 .. they dont have a answer 4 josh smith…..

Patrick

April 15th, 2009
2:15 am

I think Miami is in huge trouble. The Hawks have a wide array of quality defenders to throw at Wade. The rest of his team is a D-League operation. I’m not one to overstate how good the Hawks are but I think this matchup is damn near ideal.

Also, notice the number of minutes West is getting lately? I have a feeling they are getting him ready for real minutes hounding Wade. Can’t wait to watch him get up in his chin.

Dr. Warren

April 15th, 2009
2:50 am

Mark, is it just my own oversight, or is there no AJC coverage of last night’s Hawks-Heat game? I had to go to ESPN.com to get the story. Is this a symptom of the AJC’s financial trouble? Whatever the case, I hope at least the sports page and you stay in business! We cross-Pacific expats from Atlanta depend on you.

Harris

April 15th, 2009
6:26 am

WADE is angry that he is “the world’s third best player.” Why on Earth would you call him that? Why fuel his fire? Have you seen him play when he’s mad? That’s when he drops 50 pts and 11 assists.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
8:07 am

I know I’d be furious if somebody called me the world’s third-best writer. Simply irate.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about my rankings, here they are: 3. Dwyane Wade, 2. Kobe Bryant, 1. Speedy Claxton.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
8:09 am

And we’re still in business, Dr. Warren. And I believe the reason we didn’t write much on the game was that the game didn’t amount to anything. It was pretty much an exhibition.

[...] Read a original:  Don't demeanour for D-Wade to d-rail a Hawks in Round 1 | Mark Bradley [...]

Mac

April 15th, 2009
8:33 am

Methinks the Hawks will win the first series. Home court advantage will out.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
8:42 am

Methinks I agree. But I figure the Hawks hold serve at home and close it out in Miami.

Feel Da Heat!!!!

April 15th, 2009
8:55 am

They gonna be calling Atlanta Wade County when this series ends. No what I’m saying merbertmoover?. Wade was special this season and should get the MVP, but when the playoffs come, that’s when he is going to give you his masterpiece. Put your seat belts on ATL. It’s going to be a rough ride. Go Heat!!!!

Feel Da Heat!!!!

April 15th, 2009
9:00 am

“So, Mr. Wade, your assessment of the regular season?
“I’m still angry,” Wade said.
“Keep doubting me,” Wade said. “Keep doubting us. Keep doubting our team. I like that.”

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
9:07 am

I don’t doubt Wade. I doubt the rest of his team. And I doubt one man can beat the Hawks by himself.

Chris Jackson

April 15th, 2009
9:47 am

Mr. Bradley

You are in sane the hawks will lose in 5 games D-Wade will destroy them The lack of knowledge you and Terrence More have is incredible!!! You have NEVER played a pro sport but know everything!! You are worse than Ol Man Bisher all of you need to resign you all suck!!!

CaliHawks

April 15th, 2009
9:54 am

D-wade can score of course no doubt about that. but what about tha rest of tha team ..? he been on a roll this past month but he would need 55 points in every game this series just for tha heat to be in it.. The hawks can beat the heat at home .. can the heat beat the hawks in phillps ?? NO!!!

Barry

April 15th, 2009
10:22 am

Hey Y’all:

Here we go!! THE PLAYOFFS. This is the start of ROUND 1 on Saturday for the NBA Championship of the World. Our Hawks are in great shape for the fight. We are ready to go toe to toe and have the artillery to be real nasty in this one. We have the youth, the girth, the heart, the players , and the charisma to take the belt of “CHAMPION”. We have run our course this year of having a great home court record and improved on our road record. We were young last year. But this year, we are stil young but better with new and improved players. Our record attest to that. We are ready for the fight! We are digging in! We are chomping at the bits for Saturday to start the leather to popping the nets. It is on!! Our Hawks will be rested to challenge for the NBA Championship of the WORLD. And guess what? We haven’t even done the “SHUFFLE” yet. It is time to show how hungry we are for this time of the year because it is our q”uest for the brass ring. itis our quest for the “Championship.” ANd there are people in our way to get our prize.

NOW ARE YOU READY FOR SOME BASKETBALL????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????

SEE Y’ALL AT PHILLIPS!

“ATLANTA HAWKS, BOOM-BYE-YEAH!!!!!!!”

…………………………”SHOCK THE WORLD!!!!!!………………..

Ringold

DawginLex

April 15th, 2009
10:34 am

This is a bad matchup for the Hawks. Thankfully, tubby smith is not coaching the Hawks like in 2003 vs Marquette……………….

The Hawks should be able to win the home games which would give them the advantage but D Wade is the “X” facto that could pull off a win in ATL. The Hawks have been opossum on the road.

We will see. At least they are in versus wondering about which ping pong ball they were going to get.

Ryder

April 15th, 2009
12:08 pm

These Miami fans are crazy….obviously they are like the rest of the star-crossed people who think that one great person can beat a balanced TEAM in the playoffs!

First of all, this is a bad matchup for Miami, because they won’t be able to slow down the game in the half-court against a much more athletic Hawks team. Atlanta has been able to use their wing defenders to keep Wade away from the basket as much as possible.

I will admit this, if Atlanta is not careful Jermaine O’Neal could make life difficult for Horford and Zaza should they sleep on him in the paint. That said, Miami has no answer for Josh Smith and he will go wild on Beasley and Bibby will key the offense.

I see Atlanta winning this series in six.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
12:34 pm

You know, I’m pretty sure Dominique Wilkins played a professional sport. He’s picking the Hawks.

Wink from Lithonia

April 15th, 2009
12:41 pm

Don’t sleep on the Heat! We have work our tail off at home to keep Wade from stealing one of our home games! If that happens we will be in trouble on the road. Games 1 & 2 are crucial for Hawks success in this round.

We should also take note, that D-Wade does have help. O’Neal at center give them an inside scoring presence, ( were he in a Hawks uniform we would welcome him with open arms), so there is quality there. Mario Moon is D-Wade’s (Robin, if Wade is Batman), dude flies thru the air and throws down on lob passes. They also have their Mario version, he just happens to play point guard, which we have not had an answer for a quick point all year (Example Rajon Rondo from last year), watch Chalmers end up at the rim on a consistent basis. They have a rebounder in Haslem, which creates second chance shots and a young slasher in Beasley, who if on, is a ligimate 2nd option….my point is don’t think this is a One Man Band…just D-Wade.

If they don’t DEFEND they go home…because Woody will not be able to outwit this young upstart coach of the Heat. Woody still at this late date does not know how to make in game adjustments…..regardless of our increase win total & 2nd trip to the playoffs!!

Astro Joe

April 15th, 2009
12:43 pm

‘Nique said Heat check(ed) in 6.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
12:45 pm

Dominique said … well, just play the video.

Westurd

April 15th, 2009
2:29 pm

Just got a steal on Tickets!

SEE YOU AT GAME 1. I GOT THAT FEVER IN ME!

HeatFan

April 15th, 2009
3:40 pm

First, Joe Johnson is not one the best dozen players in the world. If you check out Hollingers PER Player Rankings hes not in the top 50 haha.

If cook, chalmers, janes, and moon consistently hit the 3 ball the haet will win easily.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
4:54 pm

This ain’t baseball, Heat fan. Numbers in basketball only go so far. And any rating system that doesn’t have Joe Johnson in the top 50 seems suspect to me.

Often Disappointed/Never Surprised!

April 15th, 2009
5:39 pm

Bradley, did you play ball competetively at all? If so, where? I would certainly like to know. Your credibility is suspect at best. Thos who can do, while those who never did write about it. Hey, were you and Terrence Moore teammates?

Al

April 15th, 2009
5:39 pm

Full disclosure: I’m a Heat fan. Our team has been very inconsistent so far, but there’s been flashes. Some nights its very true that Wade is the whole team. But our young guys do play better at home, and so does D-Wade. Especially in the 4th. So you better protect that homecourt advantage. Lebron will be named MVP soon and Wade will be… um… unhappy… about it, no matter what he says publicly. He wants a shot at Lebron head to head in the second round. You guys are in the way of that. Oh, and Beasley is averaging 25 pts and 13 rebounds in the last 4 games. Jamal Magliore will be a factor in this series behind O’Neal, who admittedly has been disappointing. I actually like the Hawks alot. Went to both games this year vs. Atlanta. Too bad we can’t meet up later in the playoffs. Either way, should be fun. May the best team win…

Al

April 15th, 2009
5:59 pm

Oh and I have my tickets for game 3 already. You better believe I’m looking for D-Wade to D-rail the Hawks! :D

Al

April 15th, 2009
6:00 pm

Oh! Who’s old enough to remember the last time we met in the playoffs. That was fun! The bench clearing brawl. I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of clips from that series in the next few days.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
6:30 pm

I’m old enough, Al. I covered the game — on a Saturday night in April 1994 at the old Omni. Grant Long was involved in the brawl, as I recall. Pretty good series, as I recall. Hawks won in five games — the first round then was best-of-five — and lost to the Pacers in Round 2.

Big Ray

April 15th, 2009
8:59 pm

Wade is not enough to win the series.

Chalmers will have to play well above his head.

Cook and Quinn will have to hit many 3s.

Beasley will have to be a 20/10 guy.

O’Neal will have to show us that he’s been playing possum.

That’s how Miami wins, with Jamario Moon chipping in some superb defense.

Otherwise….we’re the better team, period.

Oh, and Spoelstra will have to throw wrinkles at us that Woody has trouble adjusting to.

Hmmm…that last one bothers me…

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
9:43 pm

Big Ray, I’m not sure Jermaine O’Neal has much left. And I’ve never been a fan of Daequan Cook’s or Chris Quinn’s. I’d much rather have Flip.

Now Michael Beasley … that’s something else again. He could do damage.

HeatFan

April 15th, 2009
10:03 pm

Mark,

I think comparing johnson to tracy mcgrady is a fair assessment. Until he wins a few playoff series he will never be considered the superstar that you think he is.

Mark Bradley

April 15th, 2009
11:00 pm

So Kevin Garnett wasn’t a superstar until the Celtics beat the Hawks in Game 7?

AtlSouthside

April 16th, 2009
12:39 am

People don’t realize how legitimate this Hawks team is right now… So much of the national media only focuses on D.Wade, therefor causing some people (commentators) to foolishly believe that the guy can “walk on water” and single-handedly win a 7 game series the Hawks (a much better team).

I also think that the lack of respect from the national media stems from the preseason predictions that were made…Now that the national media and certain commentators see that their predictions were foolish, no one wants to eat their words now…

HEAT WILL GET SWEPT!! LET’S GO HAWKS!!

Ted Striker

April 16th, 2009
8:28 am

Love Hawks talk but staying on point was never my strong suit. Which is a segue to…

1) I’d like to see former Hawks/UGA player Dominique Wilkins considered by Mark Fox as a UGA assistant. I never advocated anyone as a head coach when Damon Evans was making his selection. (I figured Evans would make a solid — if not spectacular — selection, and Fox has more upside than not.)

About Wilkins: Yes, he’s short a few Kemp Kilowatts of a UGA diploma, and he lacks serious coaching experience. But he knows bb and what metro high school coach wouldn’t hang up with someone else to answer his call? Sure he’s been out of the league a while but he still has the cachet to command the attention of current recruits. That’s all I have to say on the subject. Leading to…

2) Sometimes people face adversity and it overwhelms them. Sometimes it absolutely makes them implode and ultimately destroys them. Other times — it’s a wake up call leading to redemption.

Isaiah Thomas was a disaster as an NBA head coach. He was ineffective. Worse, he shamed his employer with a sexual harassment fiasco and he shamed his family. That said, it’s a good sign that Zeke has landed at Florida International, and is coaching there pro bono. I’m not cynical enough to think he’s trying to rehabilitate his public image. I’d like to think he’s trying to do what he loves for the right reasons.

P

April 16th, 2009
9:30 am

These Heat fan flames and the national media are simply braindead. I agree with ATLsouthside that the “experts” want to validate their preseason predictions by showing that the Hawks were an 82-game fluke. They keep saying that we “started strong” and have faded since. Not true! We’ve had ups and downs, but we finished with some strong stretches (notably that long home stand). The Heat are much improved from last year, but they’re still the far inferior team in this matchup. Wade may be the best player on the floor, but, as with KG in Minnesota, that won’t carry you through a playoff series.

Hawks take care of business at home, take either game 3 or 4, then close out the series in game 5. (Then on to the slaughterhouse known as Quicken Loans Arena, sigh)…

AtlSouthside

April 16th, 2009
10:21 am

I’m ready for the Cleveland v. Atlanta match-up… I think we can hang with Cleveland… Of course the media will right us off, but they’ve been doin that the entire season. If you look at all the games against Cleveland, they were all close games… I think we can steal a few in Quicken Loans Arena