Live from Game 7: Looking for Mr. Good Game (finally!)

The Celtics and Bulls played seven overtimes over their seven games. The Hawks and Heat haven’t yet seen a second-half lead change. Think about that. Think about a series that has gone the distance but done nothing to stir the senses. (Unless you’re the sort who gets miffed over a missed dunk in a 20-point game.)

Fun with numbers: The Hawks have won three games, each by double figures, and have been outscored by 19 points in the series. They won Game 1 by 26 points and lost Game 6 by 26. (And let’s try to forget Game 3, in which the margin was 29.)

In sum, it has been a series to forget, but that will change today. Because somebody’s going to win this thing, and somebody’s going to remember it. Somebody’s going to be chasing LeBron James in Round 2. And I’m thinking, as I mentioned yesterday, it’ll be the Hawks.

Note the score I predicted. (Note also that, as most of you know, I’m never right about anything.) I said 82-77, which means I believe that finally — finally! — we’re about to get a good game.

Big injury news! According to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Jermaine O’Neal “absolutely” isn’t playing. Miami’s doctors are holding him out for a second consecutive game. If you watch the video below, you’ll see Mike Woodson’s reaction to this development. You’ll see that he’s … just watch the thing.

Big injury news! (Part 2) Al Horford is starting, as Woodson said he would. And Marvin Williams won’t start but will play.

I saw Horfy — I call him Horfy, and you should, too — in the locker room. As he got up from his chair, I asked if he could walk.

Horfy, laughing: “Can I walk?”

(Given that he was walking as he spoke, it probably wasn’t the greatest question of my undistinguished career.)

MB: “OK, can you run?”

Horfy, still smiling: “I’ll be all right.”

Heaters in the house: Mickey Arison, the Heat owner who’s richer than Ted Turner, was sitting courtside watching his players warm up 80 minutes before tip time. (Arison owns Carnival Cruise Lines, which means he was once Kathie Lee Gifford’s employer.) And Pat Riley, whom I know well from our University of Kentucky alumni meetings, just walked by me in the corridor.

Radio gaga: Just saw John Crotty, the former Virginia guard — who outplayed Mookie Blaylock of Oklahoma in a memorable Sweet 16 game in 1989 — and asked him why he and Heat radio partner Mike Inglis never make headlines like Steve Holman. Crotty laughed. (For reasons unclear, I’m making people laugh this morning.)

If anything, the Heat guys (Inglis in particular) tend to go the other way. They’ll rip their club. I listened to a Hawks-Heat game in January via Sirius XM and couldn’t believe how negative Inglis was. And the Heat led wire to wire! (Hmmm. Sounds familiar.)

And what, you’re asking, about Spirit the Hawk? We exchanged Tweets yesterday. I asked if he’d be here for Game 7, and this was his Twittered response:

I’ll be at Game 7 and will TRY to swoop into your press perch in the sky. But lately I don’t like to be waaaaaaay up there…Heat rises.”

I’m telling you, this is the funniest bird since Tweetie Pie.

Whoa, wait a second! Remember Spoelstra saying O’Neal wasn’t playing? The official sheet just was issued, and O’Neal is listed as active!

We in the press room are going wild over this, and I should report that we smell the dastardly hand of Pat Riley behind it all.

The starting lineups haven’t been released. You’ll be advised as soon as they are.

457 comments Add your comment

Robert Yates

May 3rd, 2009
12:26 pm

http://freedarko.blogspot.com/2009/05/he-was-born-in-hell.html#comments Mark, I tried to get this to you on the other blog, but I think I just missed you. I can’t hide how much I love how this dude summarizes the Josh debacle.

Cuz

May 3rd, 2009
12:36 pm

Mark did you get a new haircut, maybe that is why people are laughing.

mountain_jim

May 3rd, 2009
12:43 pm

Go Hawks! Let’s see if they show the replays today if/when Wade gets his obvious bailout calls such as when he obviously charges and its a Hawks foul… I hope the Hawks are as sick of the refs/announcers/media’s Wade-favoritism as I am and use it to motivate themselves to destroy Miami today.

RedTailHawk

May 3rd, 2009
12:50 pm

Robert Yates – Thanks for the link. Great article!

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
12:53 pm

Jermaine is warming up. Haven’t seen a starting lineup.

Introductions are coming. A bad crowd, I’m afraid. Really bad.

honest_abe

May 3rd, 2009
12:55 pm

abc isn’t shy about who they want to win… heh it feels like i’m watching miami’s flagship station.

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
12:58 pm

O’Neal is not — repeat, not — starting.

calico

May 3rd, 2009
1:00 pm

Do or Die right now lets go Hawks we need this win in the worst way.

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:01 pm

Maybe 15,000 on hand. Maybe.

kj

May 3rd, 2009
1:03 pm

here we go ladies and gents! if we come out banigng we are going to win this thing. LET’S GO HAWKS

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:06 pm

Hawks’ first three trips: Johnson misses an open jumper, Josh loses the ball, Bibby misses an open jumper.

Heat lead 4-nil.

mike28212

May 3rd, 2009
1:07 pm

At least with ABC covering the game, we don’t have to hear TNT’s Dick Stockton wonder aloud why Hawks fans are booing Wade.

Cuz

May 3rd, 2009
1:07 pm

At least the ladies rooms won’t be crowded, you know how they hate that.

RedTailHawk

May 3rd, 2009
1:08 pm

JJ has got NO legs.

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:08 pm

Now it’s 8-2. Johnson missed a layup. Wade made a layup.

Rollins Tree

May 3rd, 2009
1:09 pm

If we beat the Heat then fighting for home court was worth it and if we lose Woodson is gone. So its a win win situation to me.

mike28212

May 3rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Nice move by Bibby.

Cuz

May 3rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Finnally, go Bibby!

RedTailHawk

May 3rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Bibbys got YOUNG legs…lol

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:10 pm

Hawks lead 10-8. Bibby with a three and a three-point play.

RedTailHawk

May 3rd, 2009
1:12 pm

I can’t tell on TV that it is THAT empty.

Cuz

May 3rd, 2009
1:12 pm

This makes me think the Hawks team that played in Miami was full of evil clones.

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:12 pm

Hawks 14-10. Bibby has six, Smith six. Hawks have settled down.

But Joe has to score for them to win, and he hasn’t.

HawksFanMarcoIsland

May 3rd, 2009
1:13 pm

Josh is playing inside! Keep your game there…Please!!!!

mountain_jim

May 3rd, 2009
1:13 pm

Looks like Josh brought his head and his A game today!

mountain_jim

May 3rd, 2009
1:14 pm

Is Joe ever going to show up? We need him today!

The Hawksta

May 3rd, 2009
1:14 pm

This is amazing! If Josh is on his game we don’t even worry about Joe? So who is our leader and Superstar Mark?

D-Whine

May 3rd, 2009
1:14 pm

Go on Josh, shut all the doubters up. Keep taking it to the rack big fella.

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:14 pm

Just had my photo taken with Spirit and his keeper Shelly. I’m not kidding.

Spirit said, “Hey, Mark. I’m a big fan.”

cee

May 3rd, 2009
1:14 pm

if jau smoove would only play like this on the road wed be good get himn started in the paint so he wont jake up those cannon ball 3s good start hawks

J Dub

May 3rd, 2009
1:15 pm

Bibby lookd in control Mark, we need the vet to bring it home for us.

cee

May 3rd, 2009
1:18 pm

josh u cant dribble behind your back stop trying that move

RedTailHawk

May 3rd, 2009
1:18 pm

Miami getting all the hustle plays.

cee

May 3rd, 2009
1:19 pm

hey bibbby try to jump or put a hand up i heard that it helps out when playin d

J Dub

May 3rd, 2009
1:19 pm

yeah need zaza to come in and gives us some of those intangibles he brings

HawksFanMarcoIsland

May 3rd, 2009
1:20 pm

Hortford has no spring… He would have had 2 blocks and 6 rebounds by now if he was healthy.

mountain_jim

May 3rd, 2009
1:20 pm

Where are the rebounds? Horford should have gone past the rim for that one.

marc

May 3rd, 2009
1:20 pm

josh smith is a whining baby

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:21 pm

Heat 16-14. Wade has 10, including two post-ups on Mike Bibby off switches.

Udonis Haslem is giving the Heat rebounds and has six points. Nobody else for Miami has scored.

First man off the bench for Atlanta: Zaza Pachulia.

Four consecutive dry possessions for the Hawks: Two Horford misses (one of them a dunk snuffed by Haslem), another Smith fumble and a missed Evans trey.

atlrayzd

May 3rd, 2009
1:21 pm

Hey Joe anytime now !!! I mean it’s game 7 if you care or maybe you feeling sorry for yourself.

marc

May 3rd, 2009
1:22 pm

josh smith is a whining baby, and bibby hasn’t and will never win a game 7,so there

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:22 pm

Flip Murray also in. And RedTail has it on the nose: All the hustle plays to Miami.

honest_abe

May 3rd, 2009
1:22 pm

seriously… jj needs to get over his nerves… he looks lost.

marc

May 3rd, 2009
1:23 pm

thats b/c he is

DrewCat

May 3rd, 2009
1:24 pm

Joe Johnson is disappearing!

cee

May 3rd, 2009
1:25 pm

zaza u cannot miss that we cant afford to miss that shot every possesion counts

marc

May 3rd, 2009
1:25 pm

thats right baby

Mark Bradley

May 3rd, 2009
1:25 pm

O’Neal in!

HawksFanMarcoIsland

May 3rd, 2009
1:25 pm

Where is Joe?????????????????????????????????????????????

cee

May 3rd, 2009
1:26 pm

joe johnson get in the game man