Wade forces Game 7 with 41-point eruption
A season-saving win in the books, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat walked off the court Friday night with a stoic look. No celebrating, nary even a smile.
"Strictly about business," Wade said. "Now we move on."
To Sunday. To Game 7.
Wade scored 41 points, Michael Beasley busted out of a slump with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the Heat stayed alive by routing the Atlanta Hawks 98-72 in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Friday night.
So a wild back-and-forth series - three routs for the Hawks, three routs for the Heat - will be decided Sunday in Atlanta.
"No pressure on us," Wade said. "We're the underdogs in this series."
Mike Bibby scored all 20 of his points in the first half for Atlanta, which fell behind by 15 in the opening quarter, cut the deficit to nine by halftime, but never really challenged from there. Flip Murray and Joe Johnson added 13 apiece for the Hawks, who lost a first-round Game 7 last season against Boston.
That, though, didn't come with the comfort of the home-court advantage they'll enjoy Sunday. It's winner-take-all time, with one team going to Cleveland to open the second round against LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday, the other heading into the offseason.
"Game 7. That speaks for itself," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "It's two young teams that want the same thing. We're going to have to come out focused and with energy. Hopefully, we'll answer the challenge."
The wacky run of outcomes continued: Atlanta's wins have been by 26, 10 and 15 points. The Heat have prevailed by 15, 29 and 26 points.
"They did what they had to do tonight and played extremely well," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We were just there."