Atlanta wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Atlanta wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, April 19th
Game 2: Wednesday, April 22nd
Game 3: Saturday, April 25th
Game 4: Monday, April 27th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 29th
Game 6: Friday, May 1st
Game 7: Sunday, May 3rd

Hawks 72

(47-35, 16-25 away)

Heat 98

(43-39, 28-13 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, May 1, 2009

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    ATL 18 24 14 1672
    MIA 32 19 27 2098

    Top Performers

    Atl: M. Bibby 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Mia: D. Wade 41 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Wade explodes for 41 as Heat force Game 7 with impressive win

    Associated Press

    MIAMI -- 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.

    2009 NBA Playoffs

    Want an in-depth look at the playoffs? Check out all the matchups, analysis and opinion here:

    • Playoff pages

    "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."

    Fast Facts

    • The Heat forced Game 7 with the Hawks, improving to 25-7 in home playoff games since 2004.

    • Atlanta has lost 13 of its last 14 road playoff games.

    • Dwyane Wade became the 17th active player to record 1,500 points in the postseason.

    • Wade scored 41 points -- two shy of his postseason career high and his fifth 40-point playoff game.

    • Michael Beasley recorded postseason career highs with 22 points and 15 rebounds, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Caron Butler as the only players in Heat history with at least 20 points and 15 rebounds in a playoff game.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    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."

    James Jones scored 11 points for Miami, nine in the first quarter. Just like every other game in this series, the team that took control early kept it throughout, and Miami wasted no time in putting Atlanta on its heels.

    Top 40 Chart

    Dwyane Wade recorded his fifth career 40-point game in the playoffs, placing him one behind Kobe Bryant among active players.

    Most Career 40-Point Playoff Games Active Players
    Player # Games
    Shaquille O'Neal 12 203
    Allen Iverson 10 71
    Kobe Bryant 6 157
    Dwyane Wade 5 60

    The Hawks hoped they would be in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon for Game 1 of the second round. Instead, they got blown away, meaning they still haven't won a playoff series since 1999, or prevailed in any best-of-seven matchup since 1970 -- a staggering drought.

    They'll get one more chance.

    "It's going to be hectic," Beasley said. "It's going to be crazy."

    Wade spent two days imploring his teammates to match the Hawks' challenge. He mentioned Beasley by name, asking the rookie to live up to his star billing.

    Beasley listened.

    Two hours before game time, he was out on the court, taking shot after shot after shot. Something must have clicked; Beasley finished 11-for-25 from the floor.

    The Heat needed him, too. Udonis Haslem only played 11 minutes, saddled by foul trouble, and Jermaine O'Neal didn't play at all, thanks to a concussion suffered when Pachulia struck him during Game 5.

    But for as good as Beasley was, it was all about Wade.

    "He was a titan tonight," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

    The fourth quarter brought a slew of signature moments for the NBA's scoring champ. Early in the fourth, he rushed downcourt and blocked Murray's layup attempt, got the rebound -- and then got knocked to the floor by Murray.

    No problem.

    Wade got up, softly high-fived Mario Chalmers, then dunked on Pachulia moments later as the sellout crowd roared with delight. They won't get that treatment Sunday, and the Hawks found solace in that.

    "We came into this with home court advantage," Johnson said. "And now we have that opportunity to finish it in our house."

    Game notes

    Wade finished 16-of-17 from the foul line. ... Hawks F Marvin Williams returned from a sprained right wrist. He played only 5 minutes, missing his lone shot. F Al Horford (sprained right ankle) warmed up but did not play. ... Joel Anthony started for O'Neal and played 35 minutes, going 2-for-3 for six points and eight rebounds. ... Smith apologized to Spoelstra before tip-off for his showboat dunk attempt in the latter minutes of the Hawks' win in Game 5. "A class move on his part," Spoelstra said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 72 98
    FGM-FGA 27-73 (.370) 35-74 (.473)
    3PM-3PA 7-21 (.333) 7-21 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 11-18 (.611) 21-24 (.875)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-36 12-47
    Assists 8 12
    Turnovers 16 12
    Steals 7 5
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 10 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (5/0) 21 (3/0)
    Largest Lead 1 30

    Top Performers

    Mike Bibby Bibby
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Dwyane Wade Wade
    Points: 41
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2