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Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, Round 1, Game 7: How I Saw It

ATLANTA - APRIL 29:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots over James Jones #22 of the Miami Heat during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Philips Arena on April 29, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks defeated the Heat 106-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Jason ColdironCorrespondent IMay 3, 2009

The following is an account of my morning watching the Heat vs. Hawks in the final game of the first-round Playoff matchup:

 

I get a bad break to start the game, as I discover the game isn't on in HD in my area... dagnabit!

 

After listening to a pregame show filled with stats about how the home team always wins Game Seven and all the home/away splits, etc., I realize that all the things I wished as a kid they had stats for, they now have stats for.

 

I learn that by historical precedent, the Hawks have an 81 percent chance of winning this game. So I'm taking Miami to win.

 

At the last minute, it is announced that Jermaine O'Neal will play after all. The injured Al Horford will also start for Atlanta.

 

 

 

8:28 left in the first: Mike Bibby gets Atlanta's first score.

 

7:48, first: The Hawks take their first lead, 9-8, on a Bibby three-point play. Wade then proceeds to post Bibby, who has no chance in that matchup.

 

The NBA needs an “all all-around team,” and Josh Smith needs to start on it.

 

6:02, first: Bibby and Horford miscommunicate on a zone defense assignment, and Wade scores easily. I don't see Atlanta in a zone for the rest of the game.

 

Early in the game, Wade is demanding the ball and has 10 of Miami's first 16 points.

 

J. O'Neal comes in and throws up an air ball on his first shot. He then commits two fouls in less than a minute and returns to the Miami bench. Gone for good?

 

 

 

Between quarters, analyst Mark Jackson notes how well Wade “controls airspace.”

 

Jeff Van Gundy, on the other hand, talks about something that actually makes sense. He mentions that it is a misconception that games are won in the fourth quarter, as they are usually won in the first.

 

By the way, Van Gundy is currently looking for a head coaching position. If your team needs a leader (like mine does), why wouldn't you want this guy?

 

Back in the game, the second quarter sees the Miami offense drift into a “get-the-ball-to-Wade-and-stand-around-and-watch” offense. Not surprisingly, the Hawks go on a 17-4 run.

 

7:50, second: Joe Johnson pulls up and drains a three-pointer from 35 feet. He is otherwise struggling from the field but now has the look of a man looking for the kill.

 

6:20, second: Things are getting extremely physical, as fouls are being committed on every play. The refs are letting them play. No player has a technical foul yet, but if this keeps up, they will.

 

At the half, Atlanta leads 49-36. Watching the game, it feels like Atlanta should be up by at least 20. But with this margin, Wade will at least have a chance, however slim, to lead his team back.

 

 

 

The third quarter sees the Hawks extend their lead; Miami looks dead. I love NBA basketball, but this is getting hard to watch.

 

I keep expecting Wade to take over and make this a game, but it looks like it's just not going to happen.


11:07, fourth: Atlanta has already moved to the 'prevent' offense.

 

Wade moves to point guard to help Miami get more shooters on the floor, but this has no impact whatsoever.

 

6:41, fourth: Hawks up 20; this thing is over.

 

With 4:34 left in the game and his team up by 19, Atlanta coach Mike Woodson calls a timeout...?


3:51, fourth: The refs make sure the game will not end ugly. They get control by calling a cheap technical foul on Pachulia and a flagrant two on Udonis Haslem.

 

 

 

The Hawks close out and win 92-79. For their troubles, they get the opportunity to play four (or maybe five) games against the Cleveland Cavs.

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