Game 5 will be played tonight @ The Highlight Factory. So far the only trend I have noticed in the series is that we win the games I watch live (1 and 4) and lose those I DVR (2 and 3). I'm hoping for a streak breaker tonight because I will not be watching the game live (free tickets to see the Braves take on the Cards will do that to you).
So far this has been a series of extremes with no team losing by closer than 10 points. At some point a close game is going to have to happen and I think that it is tonight.
While Wade is likely not as injured as he is pretending to be, I don't doubt that his back (and other assorted parts) are still dinged up. This will result in less playing time and hopefully a few spurts on defense by the Hawks where they really slow the Heat offense down. The Hawks need to (and I think will) push Wade around a little and make it too painful to come into the paint. ZaZa, I'm looking at you.
The officials are likely not going to be as "aware" as they were during game 4. There's ticky-tack and then there is just plain whistle happy. Slowing down the game with 50+ fouls called will always benefit the Heat--they are accustomed to this pace. The Hawks, however, need to keep the ball and clock moving to be most effective. I just can't imagine a scenario where there are that many fouls called again @ home. (game 6 may be another story)
Josh Smith will be the energizer bunny again. He turns it on when the crowd is into it and the crowd is going to be into it. My guess is another 22 pts 13 reb 3 ast 4 block type of night.
Joe will pull it together and have a scoring streak. I'm not the type to look up stats but I watched probably 85% of the games this year and can't remember such a dry spell for Joe over 5 straight games. He will connect from deep a couple of times early and open up some space in the lane. The Heat have been letting him have the 3 so far and really crowding the paint, that will come back to bite them with 3s early and floaters late.
Our bench scoring will actually score. Similar to Joe, our bench was the model of consistency this season. While "Hot Flip" hasn't appeared so far this series he also hasn't exactly been needed. We'll need him in a close game and I say he shows up. Hot Flip!
JO will not keep playing at this level. I don't think he slows down tonight, but mark it down for a game 6 or 7 collapse.
Overall I think our shooters will start hitting shots from the perimeter and that'll open up the lane for more floaters, drives, and kicks. The Heat are going to come with everything they have but those few extra minutes Wade has to miss because his back hurts from carrying the team will be the difference. We'll get ahead by 5-10 and hold them off.
Final Score: Hawks 86 Heat 81