I've spent the past 2 days, from the end of Game 5 until now, collating my thoughts on several of the buzzing issues that Game 5 stirred up. I'm trying here to summarize what Hawks fans feel about this series, so comments from any Hawks fans and (cool-headed) Heat fans are welcome. Hopefully readers can calmly read this before they respond.
1) Josh Smith's missed dunk is really being blown out of proportion. The reason is very simple-there's nothing else to talk about to a national audience. The game, like every other in this series, was a blowout, and this was done in the second quarter. Dwyane Wade had his own mini-run at the start of the third, but in the end, it never got tighter than 14 points because the Hawks responded.
Now, concerning Smith, it's a given that the man is immature, and acts like a spoiled brat on the floor sometimes. We all know-every fan of Atlanta has a love/hate relationship with Josh, and there's always the comparison of the player he is against the player he should be. That said, Josh Smith wasn't directly attempted to embarrass the Heat. If he'd had that breakaway in that same situation on the road, he doesn't attempt a silly highlight-reel dunk.
At home, however, he's expected to give the crowd something. Watching on tv, you could hear everyone in the arena breath in at the same time when they saw Josh Smith wide open on a run-out. I don't doubt that Smith heard it too and wanted to give them something. He was playing it up to the fans, and that's his role on the team as much as anything else-highlights that draw fan interest. Take it as you will-I heard no complaints about LeBron throwing down a 360 windmill jam with Cleveland up 20 over Detroit.
2) Wade's head injury. Seeing that live, I didn't realize he'd crashed his head on the floor. When I saw the replay, my first thought was, "Hope he's okay."
Then, about 3 minutes later, it was like "Get up already." He's awake and alert, clearly not concussed. I'm sure it hurt like hell, no dispute there, but once you realize that it's not serious, you get off the floor, put some ice on it, and get ready to come back in. There are some Atlanta fans who are classless, but there's also a reason so many of them were booing. Wade has done this pretty much every game in this series-lain down on the floor for five minutes after getting hit. NO other Heat player has wallowed around on the court in pain, and the only Hawks' player to suffer an injury (Al Horford) spent less time on the floor, despite having an injury that probably WILL keep him from playing in a game. Zaza Pachulia took a shot to the face and has the swelling to prove it, but he just shook it off and kept going.
To follow up quickly with Horford, if you think it was cheesy and contrived for Josh Smith to help him out to shoot his free throws...the rule doesn't allow him to come back into the game if someone shoots his free throws for him. Before he knew how severe the sprain was, I'm sure he was just hoping he could re-wrap it and maybe make it back if needed. As it turns out, it's a moderate sprain.
3) If D-Wade has to even MENTION that the 11th man for Atlanta hasn't had an impact on the series, that guy is obviously doing something right. And God Forbid a man is pumped up by his solid defense-the entire arena went slightly nuts about it, in fact.
4) The scrum that ensued when Wade was fouled by Solomon Jones. Officials went a bit overboard-Wade was jawing at Solo and he was jawing back, but it was a total non-incident until Magloire came in and shoved Jones. Smith shoved back and starting taunting, so it's clear that he and Magloire deserve technicals. It's beyond me why Wade and Solo received technicals. They didn't do anything except exchange words, and Solomon Jones didn't even make a move to retaliate after he was shoved.