Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks Game 5 Preview and Pick

Miami Heat +5.5 at Atlanta Hawks -5.5 O/U 180 8 PM ET Wednesday April 29, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

This best of 7 series is tied 2-2.

Tonight the Miami Heat head north to take on the Hawks in Atlanta. The Hawks scored a rare road win in game 4 in Miami to tie the series. Neither team shot well in game 4, but the Heat were especially cold, oxymoron there, as they only shot 37.7% from the floor.

Dwayne wade was the high scorer for the Heat, but he was only 9/26 from the floor. The Heat were also only 4/16 from 3-point land in game 4.

The Hawks spread their offense around in game 4, as they had 6 players score at least 10 points, but no player score more then 15. The Hawks also had good bench contribution, as Zaza Pachulia had 12 points and Ronald Murray had 11 points.

Wade was bothered by back spasms in game 4, but he expects to go tonight. If his back is hurting him tonight it is the Heat who may be really hurting, as if Wade does not score the Heat do not win, it’s that simple. Both the Heat and the Hawks have won a road game in this series, so tonight’s game is not a huge home court advantage, but it will help the Hawks.

This season the Hawks were 31-10 at home and the Heat were only 15-26 away from the Sunshine State.

The Sportsbooks have the Hawks as 5.5 favorites in this game with a total around 180. The Hawks are posted at -240 as home favorites and the Heat are posted at +190 as road dogs.

The Hawks beat the Heat in game 4 81-71 on Monday night in a low scoring affair. The high scorer for the Hawks in that game was Mike Bibby going for 15 points on 5/10 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 28/66 for a FG% of 42. 4%. The high scorer in game 4 for the Heat was Dwayne Wade going for 22 points, but he only shot 9/26 from the field. To say the Heat were cold is an understatement, as they were only 23/61 from the field for a paltry FG% of 37.7%.

This season the Heat ranked 18th in scoring (98.3 ppg) and the Hawks were right behind them ranked 19th (98.1 ppg). Atlanta allowed an average of 96.5 ppg this season and the Heat allowed an average of 98 ppg. Neither team was legit on the boards in the regular season, as the Heat had a rebounding differential of -1.9 rpg and the Heat were at -2.9 rpg.

This season the Hawks were 44-37-1 ATS and the Heat were 40-41-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Hawks were 38-43-1 this season and the Heat were 43-37-2.

On the injury front Dwayne Wade is day to day and Jamario Moon is Out for the Heat and Marvin Williams is day to day for the Hawks.

The Heat did have three scorers that had at least 19 points in game 4, but that’s pretty much it, as the rest of the team scored a grand total of 10 points. Michael Beasley, who averaged 13.9 ppg this season only scored 2 points, which is the total number of points that the Heat bench scored.

Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers, both Heat starters, only combined for 8 points on a combined 3/12 shooting. Neither of these guys light up the scoreboard, but they need to give the Heat a little offense to take the scoring burden off Wade and Jermaine O’Neal.

One of the main reasons the Hawks won game 4 is that they won the battle of the boards 40-33. Hawks C Zaza Pachulia was not used much in the regular season, but he has done the dirty work in the series in blew up in game 4, going for 12 points and being a monster on the glass with 18 boards. Jermaine O’Neal needs to step up and keep him off the glass in game 5 for the Heat to have a chance to win. O’Neal also has to help Wade out in the scoring department, especially if Wade is bothered by his back.

If the Hawks can slow down the pace again and win the battle of the boards they will take a 3-2 lead in this series and look to close it out in Miami on Friday night.

Jason’s Pick: I like the Heat to potentially win straight up.