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Playoff Preview and Game Thread #5: Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks 08-09 Playoff Game #5


@ Atlanta-hawks_medium
Phillips Arena
April 29th, 2009, 8:00 PM
TNT, Hawks Radio NetworkNBA Audio League Pass
Probable starters:
Mario Chalmer PG Mike Bibby
Dwyane Wade SG Joe Johnson
James Jones SF Marvin Williams
Udonis Haslem PF Josh Smith
Jermaine O'Neil C Al Horford


Hawks Injury Report: I honestly cannot tell if Acie Law is active or not. I also have no idea if Marvin will play. (oh, now i do thanks to twitter, Marvin is out. Sigh.) On the injury front, the Hawks are like the New England Patriots of the NBA. I just don't know if it is on purpose.

Heat Injury Report: Luther Head and Jamario Moon are out for the series.

Blogging With the Enemy: Peninsula is Mightier

Predicted bane of the Hawks existence: Dwyane Wade

Predicted hero of the Hawks existence: One time Joe Johnson. 

Game Preview:

In this series, neither team has shown the ability to keep their composure (outside of scoring 8 points in 11 seconds) after going down big early in the game. Both teams forced shots, started playing one on one basketball, and failed to do the little things to get back in the game. All the more reason for the Hawks and the crowd to jump on the Heat early tonight.

For that to happen, the Hawks need to stay aggressive on defense. The odds of the combination of Solo idiocy, made shots, and bad calls happening simultaneously so that the Heat score double digit points in barely double digit seconds is pretty low, but what that defense did was force an all league like effort for the Heat to come anywhere close to hitting over fifty percent of their shots. And if the Heat get the picture and start driving the ball, the Hawks need to remember that running into "walls" should not only be ineffective, it should hurt.

Keys to the game.

  1.  I love Zaza the fact that he was player of the game for one game is exactly one more than the Hawks should have expected. Joe, Bibby, and Horford need to step up. No need to press, no excuses. Be patient, get your shots, hit your shots. This is the playoffs.
  2. As the AJC pointed out, rebounding has been key in this series. As Josh Smith skied for rebound showed it the fourth quarter of game 4, no reason the Hawks should lose this battle.
  3. Selectively run the Heat out of the gym. You don't want to get so hyperactive you play sloppy, but the Highlight Factory should be ready to explode. And the Highlight Factory loves dunks.

Is it possible for the next playoff game to not be the most important playoff game? Feel free to discuss in the comment thread this or how if you have ever had a back spasm, it is an injury one normally toughs out, inspires contorted flopping, or flares up only on missed shots. None of those get your fancy? Zaza could probably use some more praise and adulation.

Go Hawks!