First off, we apologize for the technical problems with the blog the past few days. We're doing some renovations and should have the tweaks worked out in short order.
But on to the matters that really matter.
Count me among those who thought it was lame for some Heat players and coaches to complain that Josh Smith was trying to embarrass Miami with his botched, between-the-legs dunk attempt in the final minutes of the Hawks Game 5 victory.
If anyone should be embarrassed, it should be Smith for being a knucklehead and missing the dunk.
If anyone else should be embarrassed, it should be the Heat for giving up on the play and allowing Smith to measure his steps starting at halfcourt to set up the attempt.
The Heat should be embarrassed for not getting back on defense to prevent the attempted highlight.
It should be embarrassed for having no one even bother to get back to prevent Joe Johnson from snagging the offensive rebound after Smith embarrassed himself.
It should be embarrassed for allowing Johnson to show his teammate how it's done the respectful way a few possessions later, when he got his own breakaway dunk, with no Heat player within 10 feet of him as he swooped in for a traditional dunk.
The bottom line is that Smith has been dunking on the Heat all series. Yes, that final dunk had a Ricky Davis-ish sort of quality to it, when it comes to classless showboating.
That said, I have no problem with a player going for the exclamation point to a pivotal victory in front of his own fans. If you've got those kind of hops, you use them.
Jamario Moon would have gone showtime in the same situation if the Heat were at home. So would Michael Beasley or even Dwyane Wade - to an extent.
So would it have been less offensive had Smith settled for simply a windmill 360?
As Udonis Haslem put it Thursday: "We should be embarrassed by a lot that happened before that."
Now, on to more important stuff (You get a bonus blog since I haven't posted in a while).
With his team facing playoff elimination heading into Game 6 Friday against Atlanta, Dwyane Wade came out a day early, firing on all cylinders.
He didn't discriminate in his attempt to motivate. He was in rare interview form. It was part comedy, part anger, part resentment, part praise, part desperation. But it as all designed to get his team in the right mindset if it plans to extend its playoff life.
It was also designed to ruffle a few feathers in Hawks-ville.
So here's Wade, unplugged, from Thursday's media session.
(On Hawks radio broadcaster Steve Holman, who berated Wade throughout Wednesday's broadcast and referred to the Heat as a bunch of "street thugs") WADE: "Us? That's why he don't work in Miami. That's why he works in Atlanta - to make them feel good."
(On Jamaal "Big Cat" Magloire stepping in to defend Wade after the hard foul from Solomon Jones) WADE: "That's Big Cat. I know if I go down to the beach and eat right now, and somebody comes to mess with me, Big Cat is going to come out of nowhere. I loved him from Day 1 when we signed him. He's been that force we needed."
(On how he's dealing with soreness in his head, back and shoulder) WADE: "I'm feeling better. I'm at the point where whatever is bothering me, it doesn't really matter at this point. I'm moving on from my injuries."
(On Hawks guard Mario West celebrating after he forced Wade to miss a shot at the halftime buzzer) WADE: "His celebration for his one stop? What is this game coming to? One thing I go back to is something my high school coach always told me. Act like you've done something before. He used to hate when I used to dunk and pound my chest all the time. Win lose or draw, you have to be classy. There are some unprofessional things that (the Hawks) have to take care of. On the court, you show emotion, and that's great. But celebrating after one stop? That's funny."
(More on Hawks guard Mario West, because Wade was on a roll) WADE: "I don't know what it was a sign of. I was laughing after the fact because I've never seen that before. Tony Allen did that the other night when he stopped Ben Gordon from hitting a shot to win the game. That's what you do. But we're not here to point out every little thing they do. Who cares?"
(On his flagrant foul on Mo Evans in Game 5 that was rescinded by the league Thursday) WADE: "If anybody knows basketball and looks at the play, they'll know I didn't even come close to trying to hurt him. I'm not that guy. I'll take a hard foul. But that one, I went straight for the ball. At that time in the game, in one instant, I'm not understanding why they called it. But looking back, I can see why they called it because they thought the game was getting out of hand. But (Atlanta) got two free throws and the ball for something that didn't happen. That hurt our momentum."
(On the officiating and series becoming a physical slugfest) WADE: "Each game has been different. Some games, they let you go, they let you fight. Some games, if you breathe on a guy, it's a foul. We have to go in and play and don't worry about what the call is going to be."
(On calling out rookies Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers - or not) WADE: "Tomorrow is going to show a lot - to see if our guys really feel it. If it seems like I'm calling them out, I'm not calling them out. But I want to see our young guys play like it's Game 6 of the playoffs. If Rio (Chalmers) says he won a national championship (at Kansas), well, I want to see him play like it. I want to see Michael (No. 2 overall draft pick), play like it. It's not about making shots. It's about your intensity, your focus."
(On his approach to an elimination game. Should he come out swinging or defer early?) WADE: "It's a tough position to be in. I don't want to come out and shoot my team out of it or shoot us into it. I want it to be a total team effort. I'm not the kind of guy that feels like I have to do everything. Success comes from team success. Hopefully, we can go out and play our normal game."
(On things getting testy between the teams) WADE: "It was one of those games, one of those playoff series. It's just about, do we have the team to come back and fight as much as (Atlanta's) going to fight? Zaza Pachulia is knocking people out. It's as simple as that. I'm not telling my teammates to knock him out. But when he comes down the paint, just make sure he feels us. We're not a team that's playing dirty. We're the team that wants to play smarter and protect ourselves as well."
(And one more good dig at Mario West, just for good measure) WADE: "First off, I have nothing simmering with Mario. He's not been a factor in the series. (He's) irrelevant to me. I have nothing brewing with him at all."
(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)