MIAMI - Facing a win-or-else scenario, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat already would figure to have plenty of motivation.
Just in case, the Atlanta Hawks provided oodles more.
Between Mario West's wild celebration as the first half of Game 5 expired, Josh Smith's showboating dunk attempt in the final minutes and Hawks radio announcer Steve Holman mocking the NBA's scoring champion throughout, Wade and Miami are down 3-2 in the series but clearly leading in bulletin-board material.
Whether it will matter when the Hawks try to wrap up this increasingly volatile first-round Eastern Conference matchup in Miami tonight, well, that's anyone's guess.
"I'll go back to something my high school coach always told me: Act like you've done something before," Wade said. "He used to hate when I used to dunk and pound my chest all the time. He told me act like I've been there, act like I've done it, be classy. Win, lose or draw, you're supposed to be classy."
The Hawks have controlled the last two games, running out to huge leads in Games 4 and 5. Tempers flared in both contests, with a combined 100 fouls called, and there was plenty of shoving and staredowns Wednesday in the Hawks' win.
Heat center Jermaine O'Neal was whacked in the face by Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia. Wade got knocked to the floor, bumping his head in the opening minutes. Four players got technical fouls after one relatively tame scrum, with Wade in the middle of that one as well.
Playoff intensity, indeed.
And it's not going to be any different today.
"I don't want our guys backing down by any means," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I don't think we've been out there trying to hurt anyone."
The Heat say they haven't either, and Wade took offense to Holman's suggestion otherwise.
When Wade leaped behind Mo Evans and tried to block a dunk attempt in Game 5, both players tumbled to the floor. Wade was called for a flagrant foul, which NBA officials rescinded after reviewing the play Thursday.
"Dwyane Wade tried to hurt Mo Evans," Holman said.
Wade insisted Holman was wrong.
"Hey, that's why he doesn't work in Miami," Wade said.
And when Atlanta center Al Horford hit the floor with a sprained ankle, Holman suggested the Heat were resorting to "thuggery," an assessment even Horford disagreed with.
"I just came down very awkward, that's all," Horford said.
Horford made the trip to Miami and said he's a game-time decision for today, but Woodson said he'll consider starting Solomon Jones instead and continue to bring Pachulia - a force in the last two games - off the bench.