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Wade, Beasley star as Heat rout Hawks to force Game 7

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) finds an obstacle in Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith near the basket in Friday's game in Miami.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) finds an obstacle in Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith near the basket in Friday's game in Miami.

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.

“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.”

Ex-Arizona Wildcat 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 after that.

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.

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.

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, because of a concussion he sustained during Game 5 of the series.

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