Wade in, Williams out for Heat-Hawks
ATLANTA -- In a series that suddenly turned physical, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade left Game 5 against the Hawks after banging his head on the court and Atlanta center Al Horford went down before halftime with a sprained right ankle.
Wade was hurt after a collision at midcourt with Josh Smith in the first quarter, while Horford went down late in the second period when a hard foul by James Jones caused the Atlanta player to land awkwardly.
Both injured players were taken to the locker rooms for treatment, but Wade was back on the court by early in the second quarter. Horford's injury was more serious, even though he hobbled back on the court to shoot two free throws.
When he limped back down the court, trying futilely to play defense, the Hawks quickly fouled to get a stoppage. Horford limped straight to the X-ray room with 2:30 to play in the first half, his arms wrapped around two trainers, and the team said he would not return for the second half.
The game took an ugly turn early, each team playing with increasing desperation with the series tied at two games apiece.
Wade was fouled hard by Solomon Jones on a drive, the players getting tangled up against the basket support and staring each other down. Jamaal Magloire jumped in to shove Jones, and Atlanta's Josh Smith pushed back.
All four players received technicals.
Wade was later called for a flagrant foul when he slammed into Maurice Evans from behind as he went in for a layup, sending the Atlanta player tumbling to the court. Everyone bowed up again, but Evans simply looked up at Wade with a disgusted stare.
"We're not going to let anybody beat up on us anymore," Hawks guard Mike Bibby said at halftime, the Hawks having raced to a 63-40 lead with a dominating second quarter.
Wade injured his head when he collided with Smith going for a loose ball, which appeared rather harmless until the NBA's leading scorer banged the back of his head on the court.
Wade remained motionless on the court until a timeout was called with 3:47 left in the opening period. He was down for several minutes, getting tended to by the Miami trainers. He finally got up but headed straight to the locker room, holding a towel to the back of his head.
He wasn't gone long. Wade returned to the court just 1½ minutes into the second quarter.
Wade already was slowed by back spasms, which contributed to a miserable 9-for-26 shooting performance in Game 4 and required a full day of treatment before tipoff. The best-of-seven series was tied at two games apiece.
The Hawks played their third straight game without forward Marvin Williams, who still can't shoot because of a sprained right wrist.
Williams hurt his wrist in Game 2 of the series. Even with rest and treatment, it was clear he was still having major problems. During some light shooting before an off-day practice, he shot several airballs from the foul line and could barely get the ball up to the rim when he moved closer.
Coach Mike Woodson isn't sure if Williams will be available again in this series -- even if it goes the full seven games. Maurice Evans has taken over the starting spot, just as did when Williams missed five weeks late in the regular season with an injured back.
"When guys have gone down this season, others guys have stepped up their games," Woodson said. "That's what a team is all about."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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