Atlanta Hawks at Bucks Game 6: It’s Not Over

It wasn't too long ago the Hawks were in control of this series. Can they get it back?

It wasn't too long ago the Hawks were in control of this series. Can they get it back?

So we know the reasons to doubt the Hawks can win tonight. But I keep seeing comments on this blog and hearing people on talk radio expressing a strange sense that they believe the Hawks will win tonight. They qualify their statements to say there are so many logical reasons for them not to feel that way but some kind of hunch tells them the Hawks will do it. The Hawks have been known to be unpredictable.

It’s not out of the question, of course. This is especially true if you still believe the Hawks, when playing to their full potential, are a better team than the Bucks. When the AJC’s Jeff Schultz cornered ASG’s Michael Gearon Jr. , the co-owner made the point that this was the overwhelming view after the Hawks won Games 1 and 2. Now the emotions have swung the other way, which happens in the playoffs. Combine those sentiments with the Hawks’ problems on the road, the Game 5 meltdown, the pressure they are feeling, etc. and it’s not hard to see why there is widespread pessimism that the Hawks can pull it off.

Still, if you try it’s also possible to spin some of what happened on Wednesday into positives. Will J.J., Jamal and Bibby all have terrible shooting nights at the same time again? J.J. probably isn’t going to foul out again since he’s hardly ever done so in his career. It’s doubtful Josh will have to miss minutes because of a busted eye (though I guess you never know with Kurt Thomas out there).

And then there’s the psychology of tonight’s game. No doubt the Hawks are under tremendous pressure to win but what about the Bucks? They don’t have to win tonight but I can’t think they’d be eager to return to Philips since even they know they were fortunate to win Game 5. It’s easy to say it would be no big deal for the Bucks if they end up losing this series because they’ve already fared better than most anyone expected. But now that they are on the verge of springing a major upset while tonight enjoying what has been a tremendous home court advantage, they don’t want to turn back.

Even TNT talking head Charles Barkley, who has ripped the Hawks for their half court offense and players’ attitudes, took up that line of thinking (props to the AJC’s Ken Sugiura for bringing it to my attention).

“The Hawks have a chance,” Barkley said. “This is going to be a very difficult game for Milwaukee. This is the first time that they have the monkey on their back. They have been playing with house money the first five games of the series. When this series started no one thought they could win without Bogut. Then they win the first game and they get somewhat back into it.”

– Super commenter Niremetal emailed in response to yesterday’s blog post on the Hawks’ need for a ‘Zo-like presence:

“Do you think it’s possible to simply bring someone in who commands that kind of respect? I suspect that at least some part of the respect that Zo had stemmed from the fact that he’d been around Miami before, and knew both the coach and a couple of his teammates pretty well. The Hawks’ core has been together for 3 years now. Do you think that if a guy like Haslem or Grant Hill came in, he would get the ear of his teammates like that? I mean, Flip Saunders got tuned out by his players in Detroit. If long-time teammates can tune out a coach, I’d imagine they could tune out a player.”

Niremetal makes a great point. In fact, when ‘Zo was with the Nets in 2004-05, reports out of New Jersey suggested the established Nets players didn’t buy into his leadership style. But the Nets were a different situation than the Hawks. When Zo joined the Nets they were a veteran group that had already been to the Finals. So I could see where Nets players didn’t necessarily appreciate Zo coming in and telling them they needed better focus no matter how hard he worked

It’s also true Zo already had major cred within the Heat organization when he re-joined the team, and his close relationship with Pat Riley also didn’t hurt his standing. It could be that a Zo-like presence on the Hawks could upset the chemistry, which has been pretty good in general (with the notable exception of the bickering we’ve seen when things have been tight in this series).

But how could the Hawks shun a hardened vet who joins the team? The Hawks are a veteran team in the sense that they now have guys who’ve been around but, barring an unexpected run over the next couple weeks, what have they done in the postseason? Not say the Hawks haven’t earned some respect but so far they certainly haven’t made their name in the playoffs. This doesn’t mean the Hawks’ core guys wouldn’t chafe at an accomplished, outspoken guy with a forceful personality coming in as an outsider but it does mean they’d have less of a basis to complain.

–Have fun, Hawks fans.

MC

657 comments Add your comment

Gilley

April 30th, 2010
3:46 pm

ilovejoejohnson

April 30th, 2010
3:48 pm

LETS GO HAWKS i still have faith the city still has your back i know we can win this and bring it back home for game seven every single person needs to step up tonight dont worry bout the fans yall can do it lets go!!!!!!

Gilley

April 30th, 2010
3:55 pm

The Hawks need a coach who commands that respect and they need Joe Johnson to lead by example and to vocally get into his teammates face and reinforce what the coach says. They need players to preach defense AT ALL TIMES and to get everyone to pay attention eyes and hears to the coach, even if they don’t like him. Hell, we don’t like him but Respect the title. Its win or go home. LETS GO HAWKS!!!!

Matt

April 30th, 2010
3:55 pm

Sorry, but it IS over. The Hawks are pitful and will again display their epic pitifulness again this evening in Cheeseheadland. Stick a fork in them, they’re done and the fat lady is singing!!

josh

April 30th, 2010
3:57 pm

i do have a feeling we’re gonna get this game – i feel like the hawks like to be in these tight situations and fight the odds… they seem to lean on each other when they are faced with those kind of situations – let’s hope they can play for themselves and focus as a team.

Michael Cunningham

April 30th, 2010
3:58 pm

@Gilley: man, i LMAO at this: “They need players to preach defense AT ALL TIMES and to get everyone to pay attention eyes and hears to the coach, even if they don’t like him. Hell, we don’t like him but Respect the title.”

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
3:59 pm

I said everything I could after the Hawks loss in game 5, I mean I got on em’ hard, but I do still love the team, go Hawks!!!

SWAT Native

April 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

That win in Milwaukee the last week of the season may have seemed like just another game to some but looking back that was huge. It showed that the Hawks could go into their arena and get a win when the Bucks needed to win. I’m not giving up.

Win or lose, what I’ll be looking for tonight is who on the Hawks steps it up and if anyone mails it in. If I were Rick Sund, I would use that as a basis for my decisions for who whould be on the team going forward. I was thinking at Wednesday’s game that we got big games from Marvin (NCAA champion) and Al Horford (2-time NCAA champion); I wonder if that’s a coincidence? Maybe we need more proven winners on this team.

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
4:04 pm

GO HAWKS F#*K DA BUCK!!!

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
4:05 pm

I fear no dear round here!!!

AreYouKiddingMe

April 30th, 2010
4:11 pm

Joe Johnson, you want max money for your next contract? Go earn it tonight.

AreYouKiddingMe

April 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

Josh Smith, you think you’re an all-star? then go produce a 21pts and 14reb like Game 2 but on the road.

AreYouKiddingMe

April 30th, 2010
4:13 pm

Zaza, go give a forearm shiver to Kurt Thomas and then go sit down

Senator Blutarski

April 30th, 2010
4:23 pm

I still love the Hawks.

TB

April 30th, 2010
4:24 pm

Hawks have come too much of a long wayy to get cut short…hopefully they will squeeze in a win tonight but if not at least give them a run just as they did this past Monday. LETS GO HAWKS!!!

Peter

April 30th, 2010
4:25 pm

Tonight the implosion continues and the Deer in the head lights are the Hawks……..I think this will turn out very bad, similar to the loss of two seasons ago, when they got blown out in Boston.

In the second quarter mid way….look for the team to come un-glued.

Me

April 30th, 2010
4:26 pm

This series is over. The Hawks have flopped, and they’ve never shown any kind of fight in a situation like this. On the road in game 7 in Boston two years ago, they rolled over. At home in game 4 last year against the Cavs, they just as willfully rolled over. What makes anyone think they won’t completely wilt tonight with an intense Milwaukee crowd getting in their heads on every possession? They don’t have the heart to bounce back on the road. It’s just not what they do.

Peter

April 30th, 2010
4:27 pm

Road Playoff record as of late……. 1-10 ?

What else is there to say ? 1-11 ?

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
4:28 pm

ABOVE THREE COMMENTS BLAH BLAH BLAH
GO HAWKS !!!!

wordsmithtom

April 30th, 2010
4:29 pm

Entice Charles Barkley to coach this team. If JJ wants to leave, bring back Chills. If they got Barkley, then Wade could be had. Imagine Wade running this team with a no nonsense guy like Barkley on the bench. Scares the bejesus out of me just thinking about it.

Imagine Josh dissin’ Barkley? hello! Imagine ANYONE dissin’ Barkley.

Najeh Davenpoop

April 30th, 2010
4:29 pm

I respect the Chuckster’s insight on the psyche and mentality of players. A lot of so-called experts in sports just paraphrase what we fans can observe on our own, but player mentality is one of those things most of us are unlikely to ever fully understand. With that said, even if the Bucks come out playing uptight, nothing the Hawks have done in the last three games makes me feel like the Hawks are going to win this game. I hope I’m wrong, obviously, but my gut feeling is that they are a lot more likely to lay down Game Three style than pull off the upset.

gunst

April 30th, 2010
4:31 pm

fear the dear! I know yall really do inside

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
4:31 pm

I would love Barkley as Coach, cause he woulda slap fire out of Josh Smith head for not paying attention!!!!

wordsmithtom

April 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

And before you say, that’s insane: Barkley is from Bama. He has relatives less than 200 miles from Atlanta. He and Wade are old friends. I know….i’m smokin’ something…but it’s GOOD SOMETHIN’

Decatur Native

April 30th, 2010
4:32 pm

F*#% da BUCK!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 30th, 2010
4:33 pm

MC, regarding the previous blog, based on your experience do you think a guy like Horford can develop into a Zo-like personality on his own, without a veteran teaching him? Are players like that just wired a certain way from day one or can they develop into that over time?

bigdave

April 30th, 2010
4:34 pm

umm.. i think that personality needs to be in the form of a head coach. therefore we can home the leadership skills of the players already aboard.

bigdave

April 30th, 2010
4:35 pm

we on the same page Poop..

NUNNA!!

April 30th, 2010
4:43 pm

Unless the hawks players and coaches are coming up with a better scheme of ball movement/sharing,pressure defense by double teaming jennings with teague and west,put marvin/horford/and yes randmo or collins deep post,play a pound the inside 1st and to open up the lanes for bibbs/teague/josh smith,and do fast double teams and pick up the weak side help faster,then,there is no need to even play tonight..

to be honest,i highly doubt it,and i want this team to win it all so bad..but,with our coaching staff we’re gonna have to win this game like we’ve done most of the season..

IN SPITE OF WOODSON AND STAFF..
AL HORFORD CAME OUT AND GUARANTEED VICTORY..I LOVED THAT COMING FROM HIM..HE IS THE VOCAL LEADER TO ME.ALONG WITH MO EVANS..THEY ARE THE VOCAL ONES..
I WOULD LOVE TO BE WRONG ABOUT MY PREDICTIONS ABOUT DEFEAT,BUT THEY ARE NOT MAKING ANY CHANGES TONIGHT..
ONLY IF THE PLAYER GET TOGETHER AND SAY,THIS IS WHAT WE GOT TO DO AND EXECUTE IT AND IF THE PLAYERS ARE THE ONES WHO MAKE THE PERSONNEL CHANGES..
NOT WOODY AND STAFF..JUST THE PLAYERS..
THAT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN AND A WIN IN MILWAUKEE FOR THE HAWKS ISN’T EITHER..

I TELL YOU WHAT,IF ITS A UGLY LOSS AND WE LOSE BECAUSE OF SOME BONE HEADED PLAYS GOING DOWN TO THE LAST FEW MINUTES AND DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MISSED OPPS FROM THE BUCKS,LOOK FOR SOME UGLY BENCH FINGER POINTING..

PROVE ME WRONG HAWKS..
GO HAWKS!!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

April 30th, 2010
4:44 pm

From the previous blog…

“But this is the day people wanted. It’s finally here. Some of you may get your wish after tonight.”

No, dude. Most of us would rather have seen Woody make adjustments to his philosophy by now and improve as a coach. Firing anyone should always be a last resort. The ideal scenario would have been that he improve into the next Popovich or McMillan. He’s a stand up guy who represents the team honorably as a person, which only makes you wish even more that he would improve as a coach.

But if the man can’t make adjustments to his philosophy when it is blatantly being exploited on both ends of the floor in the playoffs when his next contract is on the line, there is precious little reason to believe he ever will improve beyond this point. At that point the last resort becomes the only reasonable option.

So unfortunately, that drives most of us to say…

FIRE WOODY

Section 303

April 30th, 2010
4:45 pm

Have to think that this is one of the biggest games in the history of the organization. A ton is on the line tonight. If they lose, all the good will that has been built up over the past few years will be gone. The great moments over the past few years (Celtic series of ‘08, getting to the 2nd round last year, 53-wins this year) might as well have not even happened if the Hawks bow out tonight.

I’m trying to rationalize to myself that there is hope tonight. Not sure I’m having any luck. I would give the Hawks about a 35% chance of winning tonight. Really, after the play we have seen from them the past 3 games, winning this game is almost beyond my wildest dreams.

Clyde

April 30th, 2010
4:48 pm

Piet

April 30th, 2010
4:48 pm

I was directly behind the bench for game 4 in Milwaukee and could hear everything coming from the bench of the Hawks. All I have to say is wow. What a bunch of tools the Hawks are. Not listening to the coach, yelling at each other, etc. It was astonishing the level of disrespect they had for each other and Woody. It really became clear when Josh Smith (the biggest hot head of them all) actually told Woody to “shut the f••k up”. Honestly and literally. Most professional coaches in any sport would’ve benched him immediately, but seeing as Woody has zero control over his players, he let Smith play on. Nothing against the great city of Atlanta, but your “team” really doesn’t deserve to win this series.

Dave

April 30th, 2010
4:51 pm

It is clear to anyone who has watched the Hawks play that they have talented players at every position except, maybe, point guard (though I think Jeff Teague, if allowed to play, COULD be a great point guard).

That said, they are NOT a team, and the reason for that is CLEARLY Coach Woodson’s fault. The game on Wednesday proved to me as a casual Hawks fan that Woodson is NOT the coach that will lead them to a NBA title.

If you accept that what I am saying is true, then the LAST thing you want is for the Hawks to recover and win tonight and on Sunday. Because if that happened, Sund and Gearon maybe, just maybe, would be convinced that he DOES have it takes and sign him to an extended contract. And then, we would several years of the Hawks winning 50-59 games each year, going to the playoffs, then being exposed as the “soft” team that wins during the regular season and wilts during the playoffs.

Right now, Sund and Gearon had all the justification they need to NOT bring Woodson and his coaching staff back. Two Hawks victories may put that in doubt, especially if the Hawk would then rally and perhaps win two games against the Magic.

I am NOT to actively hope of a Hawks loss, but I am NOT watching tonight’s game, either!

Rufus1

April 30th, 2010
4:52 pm

TRADE A STAR

If we loose this series, we may have to consider trading one of our power forwards. We will have to decide what MENTALITY we build our franchise around.

Our longest tenured, most vocal and emotional leader..is the most emotionally immature.

We may have to TRADE one of young our Stars….

bigdave

April 30th, 2010
4:55 pm

im not so sure the Hawks dont pull this one out tonight.. the pressure of having to play a must win on the road was evident weds at Phillips. now its just the plain reality. the game 5 loss was worse than a loss tonight could ever be. the egg has already been laid. does loose talent take over? or does game planning prove yet again to be too much to over come?

bigdave

April 30th, 2010
5:01 pm

and one things for sure.. the Hawks prefer the role of the hunter vs. the hunted…

S Hawk Fan

April 30th, 2010
5:03 pm

Woody has to go!!!!

Hawk n the Ham

April 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

Some people need to go back to school.

It’s DEER, not DEAR (there’s a difference) :lol:

VenomSpitter

April 30th, 2010
5:04 pm

Whether we win or lose this series Woody should be let go.

Peter

April 30th, 2010
5:10 pm

I think all……..Piet……… Has said it all in his blogging comments………

If he is correct, this team WILL Implode, as the game goes on.

There is no way a coach can be talked to that way, and as we all blast Woody…..perhaps it is the players and management who really are at fault !

MrHughes

April 30th, 2010
5:10 pm

This game decides the outcome of the hawks future for the next 4-5 years. I’ll be sitting in my dorm biting my fingernails all game long.

Wabe

April 30th, 2010
5:11 pm

Big one tonight…

Larry Brown

April 30th, 2010
5:16 pm

Ya’ll quit hating on my man Woody…I trained him right. It’s the prima donna players you should blame, namely Joe Johnson. All he cares about is getting all the headlines, leaving to play with LaBron in NY next season, and making more money than Saxby and Johnny, combined. The Hawks will always be second class as long as they have second class ownership. I may be available if you need a head coach…but, it’ll cost ya!

Zaza

April 30th, 2010
5:17 pm

We goin’ to game 7 baby!! GAME 7!! GAME SEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!!

TK

April 30th, 2010
5:22 pm

I think the hawks will win tonight on the road then have a close one at home in game 7. Pray it doesnt happen but because there is all this hype about “they cant win on the road” i think they will… and possibly blow a home game… we see it every year in sports uncharateristic play from a team that sends them on a high then a dismal failure. If they get past the Bucks do we seriously have enough heart to rally up and beat Orlando… highly doubtful BUT…. we can always PRAY!!!
GOOD LUCK HAWKS!!!

sidenote: woodys a good guy but after game 5 im starting to sway towards the critics, im trying to hold on woody but honestly there is no real reason to! GO HAWKS!

TK

April 30th, 2010
5:25 pm

@Larry brown: if lebron goes to NY they wont bring Joe… he is 3rd choice behind lebron then D wade

TK

April 30th, 2010
5:27 pm

@ larrybrown: And if they dont get Lebron or Wade i think they would rather have Gay over Johnson anyway. just my opinion

JeJe

April 30th, 2010
5:30 pm

IS THIS THE ALONZO MOURNING BLOG OR THE HAWKS BLOG? I’M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT ALONZO MOURNING

FIRE WOODY

Larry Brown

April 30th, 2010
5:31 pm

TK..you’re probably correct; however, Wade ain’t moving, so Joe thinks that he sould be the man. I, too, would rather have Gay, but Joe’s got all the stats and press that New Yorkers love. And besides, they have more money than Golman Sachs.