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Hobbled Hawks easily handle Heat

Atlanta's Josh Smith scores over Miami's Jermaine O'Neal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoff series in Atlanta on Wednesday. Atlanta won 106-91.

Atlanta's Josh Smith scores over Miami's Jermaine O'Neal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoff series in Atlanta on Wednesday. Atlanta won 106-91.

ATLANTA – A series of blowouts is now about survival. The Atlanta Hawks hope they have enough players left to finish off Miami.

The Heat is counting on Dwyane Wade to save the season, despite a bump on his head and a balky back.

The Hawks kept up the theme of this matchup between division rivals – no game has been close – but there were several subplots after a night of hard fouls and staredowns left the Heat feeling as though Atlanta rubbed it in a little too much in a 106-91 victory Wednesday.

Joe Johnson scored 25 points in his first big game of the series, which the Hawks lead 3-2.

The Hawks already were without one injured starter (Marvin Williams) and lost another when Al Horford hobbled off the court with a sprained right ankle.

“It’s not a good sign,” said Zaza Pachulia, one of Atlanta’s top backups. “In the playoffs, you need everybody. But what can you do?”

Wade scored 29 points but didn’t get going until the game had been decided. The NBA’s leading scorer already was bothered by back spasms, and he was feeling even worse after colliding with Josh Smith late in the first quarter and banging the back of his head on the court.

But he’s eager for another shot at the Hawks after Smith tried a between-the-legs windmill dunk late in the game with Atlanta up 20. Not only did he fail to pull it off – the ball bounced high off the rim – he fired up the Heat with his unnecessary showmanship.

“There at the end it turned into a highlight show,” said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra. “A pickup game highlight reel, really trying to embarrass us.”

Nuggets moving on

DENVER – With a little help from the hometown kid, Carmelo Anthony is finally moving on.

Behind Anthony’s 34 points and the floor leadership of Chauncey Billups, the Denver native who came home this season and galvanized a city and a team, the Nuggets advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, 107-86 over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

After five straight first-round flameouts, Anthony led the Nuggets to their first playoff series win since 1994.

They’ll face the Dallas Mavericks in the second round.

Anthony’s 34 points were a career playoff best. Billups had 13 points and 11 assists, and J.R. Smith scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to fuel Denver.

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