Win or lose this first-round playoff series, the Hawks likely will have to do it without starting small forward Marvin Williams. He missed his third consecutive game Wednesday night at Philips Arena, and both he and coach Mike Woodson acknowledged that Williams' sprained right wrist "will probably" cost him the remainder of the series.
Woodson said the fact that Williams can't use his right hand on either end of the floor prevents Woodson from using him.
When asked if he thought Williams would see the floor before the end of the series, Woodson was glib. "Probably not," he said. "We have to concentrate on getting him healthy for whatever lies ahead."
Williams tried to work with his right hand Tuesday and air-balled three free throws. He was on the floor in practice gear for Wednesday morning's shootaround, but he worked exclusively with his left hand.
"For me, if I can't be effective, I almost feel like I'd be doing more damage than good trying to play," Williams said. "I can barely dribble right now."
With veteran Mo Evans entrenched in the lineup in his place, Woodson said the Hawks would try to finish the series without Williams.
"He still can't shoot," Woodson said. "We're going to wait on him. And we have managed without him, which is a testament to his teammates."
One of these two teams, and perhaps both, will play Sunday.
If a Game 7 is necessary, it will be at 1 p.m. Sunday, but if the series ends after Friday's Game 6 in Miami, the winner moves on to play in Cleveland on Sunday in the same time slot.
Evans played with Orlando last season and doesn't have fond memories about the quick turnaround from the end of the first round to the start of the second.
"You don't get a break," Evans said. "You have to bounce back quick and be ready to go for the next series. They're trying to do 40 games in 40 nights or whatever, so they don't have time to waste."
Woodson said the accelerated pace of games after the first round is an adjustment every team has to make.
"It comes down to now players really focusing in mentally and getting rest," he said. "And that's from the moment the playoffs begin until someone wins that [Larry O'Brien] trophy. There's so much going on, with practice, film sessions and everything else. But mainly, it's about getting guys rested and ready to go for the next game."
In his ongoing tour of playoff series, NBA Commissioner David Stern made an appearance in the interview room before Game 5 on Wednesday.
Stern praised the Hawks for their franchise revival that has gone on the past two years, culminating in their second straight playoff berth.
He also pointed out that the Hawks trail only Cleveland in new season-ticket sales for next season.
"That just shows if you wait long enough, good things will happen," Stern said. "It's very much a franchise on the march, and that wasn't always the case."