Hawks take 3-2 lead on Heat with Game 5 win
A series of blowouts is now about survival. The Atlanta Hawks hope they have enough players left to finish off Miami. The Heat is counting on Dwyane Wade to save the season, despite a bump on his head and a balky back.
The Hawks kept up the theme of this matchup between division rivals - no game has been close - but there were several subplots after a night of hard fouls and staredowns left the Heat feeling as though Atlanta rubbed it in a little too much in a 106-91 victory Wednesday.
Joe Johnson scored 25 points in his first big game of the series, which the Hawks now lead 3-2, and Flip Murray added 23 from a bench that has taken on an increasingly important role. They already were without one injured starter (Marvin Williams) and lost another when Al Horford hobbled off the court with a sprained right ankle.
"It's not a good sign," said Zaza Pachulia, one of Atlanta's top backups. "In the playoffs, you need everybody. But what can you do? Whoever we have, they really have to step up."
Wade scored 29 points but didn't get going until the game had been decided. The NBA's leading scorer already was bothered by back spasms, and he was feeling even worse after colliding with Josh Smith late in the first quarter and banging the back of his head on the court.
But he's eager for another shot at the Hawks after Smith tried a between-the-legs windmill dunk late in the game with Atlanta up 20. Not only did he fail to pull it off - the ball bounced high off the rim - he fired up the Heat with his unnecessary showmanship.