--Josh Smith apologized to Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra moments before tipoff of Friday's pivotal Game 6 matchup at AmericanAirlines Arena.He'd been roasted for two days for the ill-timed, between-the-legs dunk he missed in the fourth quarter of the Hawks' Game 5 win at Philips Arena.
Spoelstra accused Smith of trying to embarrass his team with a dunk like that with the Hawks leading comfortably.
The replay made the rounds on all the highlight shows, and Smith was roasted by sports talk radio shows and TV shows from coast to coast Thursday and Friday.
Smith said he just wanted to make sure Spoelstra knew he wasn't trying to show anyone up with the dunk.
"That was for our fans," Smith said of the move he tried. "They've been great to us all season and they were out in full force Wednesday, so I was rewarding them for helping us get the win. I was just trying to show our fans some love in return for what they've given us all year. It was nothing more than that.
"So when I hear people questioning why'd I do something like that or wondering if I was trying to mock the other team, I just wanted coach Spoelstra to know that wasn't the case.""
--In a last minute change, the Hawks placed Al Horford and Marvin Williams on the active list for Game 6.
Both players were expected to be on the inactive list with injuries suffered earlier in the series. Horford sprained his right ankle before halftime in Game 5 and did not return. Williams sprained his right wrist late in Game 2 and hadn't played since, until the 3:51 mark of the first quarter Friday night.
"I didn't even try to shoot Thursday," Williams said. "That might have done the trick, because every other day I tried to work on it and it wasn't responding. It just felt better today."
Williams played nearly five minutes, missing his only shot attempt during that span, a left-handed hook shot. He didn't return. Horford did not play.
--The Hawks' defensive work in this series against Heat superstar Dwyane Wade has been admirable. They've held the NBA scoring champion nearly five points below his regular season average at just 26.4 points.
Hawks coach Mike Woodson was asked before the game how his team has managed to control Wade, and he objected to that label.
"I don't think one player can stop Wade," Woodson said. "He's willed his team in the playoffs this year, and he is the leading scorer in our league. One guy is not going to stop Wade, so I'm trying to focus in as a team, on the Heat as a team, not just Wade, because they have a supporting cast that can beat you as well. We have to rely on our defense to cut some of those guys as well."
Wade burned the Hawks early with first-half points. He was 11-for-12 from the free throw line in the first half.
--C-F Solomon Jones wasn't the only surprise starter on the floor Friday night. He started in place of Al Horford. Joel Anthony started at center for the Heat after Jermaine O'Neal was ruled out of the game with a mild concussion.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The guys were really focused. Everyone was absolutely focused and excited about this opportunity. It's one of the best things in sports, to be in a position like this, with your backs against the wall and such a moment of intensity, focus and clarity." -- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on his team embracing the challenge that was Game 6.