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Hawks/Heat goes back to the ’90s; Hornets go home nice and quiet

By 04.30.09
Joe Johnson (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Joe Johnson (photo. Zach Wolfe)

Heat/Hawks had all the physicality and ill will of a 1990s playoff series — for a minute there we thought Mookie Blaylock and Kevin Willis had checked in unnoticed — but at the same time, it had refs and rules from the 21st century, and Principal Stern was sitting courtside as a constant reminder to everyone not to get too wild … Dwyane Wade was out of control, and not in a good way for Miami. He picked up a technical and a flagrant foul within a few minutes of each other, almost started multiple brawls, and was berating the refs the entire time. (If you had put Wade in a “Jackson #1” Warriors jersey, he 100% would’ve been ejected.) Oh, and he might have gotten a concussion in the process. After an inadvertent collision with Josh Smith in the first half caused Wade (29 pts) to hit the back of his head on the hardwood, he went to the locker room momentarily, then came back in a bad mood: A harmless wrap-up foul by Solomon Jones started one incident that earned Wade, Jones, Smith and Jamaal Magloire quadruple-techs. Then Wade chased down Mo Evans on a breakaway and sent him crashing to the floor, bringing the whole ATL bench almost into Amar’e/Diaw suspension territory. And while all this was going on, the Hawks were busy building a 20-point lead by halftime and taking a 3-2 series lead … Joe Johnson finally broke out of his slump with 25 points, six boards and six dimes, but the Hawks’ energy guys deserve more of the credit for this one. Flip Murray scored 23 off the bench and kept breaking whatever spirit Miami’s defense had left, Zaza Pachulia owned the offensive glass and played like an Anderson Varejao prototype after Al Horford left with an ankle sprain, and it seemed every one of Josh Smith’s 20 points was a statement bucket. J-Smoove went for the kill shot with a between-the-legs dunk when ATL was up 20 in the fourth quarter, but missed. Wade and Erik Spoelstra let it be known in the post-game they weren’t happy about that … Did you see during the Wade/Jones confrontation when the cameras went over to Stern, and Cousin Ahmad was sitting next to the commish with a look of absolute terror on his face? Ahmad was either worried that his Main Man D-Wade was gonna get the boot, or he heard Stern unleash a string of bad words he didn’t know he had in him … It’s too bad for Miami (not to mention the viewing public) that Wade has basically been Jason Voorhees all year, but now when it matters most, his body is starting to betray him. Even if the Heat survive this series, the Cavs are gonna be like vultures picking at Flash’s bad back, and you can bet there’s gonna be some extra elbow/ankle/rib thing that pops up before that series is over … These Atlanta home games are becoming must-see TV just for the crowd. Amongst the ocean of That Dudes last night, we spotted a guy wearing a beater and shades, and next to him, a dude in a Where’s Waldo? shirt who looked exactly like Lil’ Boosie and was clearly drunk in the second quarter … When did Mario West become the bootleg Von Wafer? … During a timeout, Spoelstra told the Heat he wanted to see “heads and chins on the floor” if there was a loose ball. Think Spoelstra got that image from when Michael Jordan was with the Wizards and hit the deck chin-first in a game at MSG, then famously chewed out his teammates afterwards for not giving the same effort? … Dime crew e-mail exchange during the second half of Nuggets/Hornets: “High level of b*tchassness from the Hornets right now.” “Very high level: Code Orange.” After keeping it close in the first half and most of the third quarter, N.O. fell under a 14-0 run where J.R. Smith started tossing in threes from “three and a half, four-point range” (so said Reggie Miller) and Carmelo was serving Peja a bowl of blood pudding. ‘Melo finished with 34 points, J.R. had 20 with five triples, and Chauncey gave CP3 an easy 13 points and 11 dimes to complete the piecing … David West scored 24 points on eight shots, and his combined vertical leap on those eight shots was maybe 20 inches. Maybe. Yao gets higher off the ground on his dunks than D-West was getting last night … Tonight’s schedule includes Celtics/Bulls, Magic/Sixers and Blazers/Rockets, with Boston, Orlando and Houston in position to advance. Of course no one expects the Magic to pull that off without Dwight Howard, and the C’s will have a tough time with the Chicago crowd throwing batteries at Rajon Rondo … We’re out like CP and D-West …


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