Hello, and welcome back to the NBA playoffs, something I feel the need to broadcast again since my wife and I were walking around Piedmont Park for the Dogwood Festival Sunday and a nice young man from the Hawks was passing out vouchers for free — yes, free — tickets to tonight’s game.
Oh well. Guess everybody is saving their shekels for the Orlando series.
But the Hawks have a opportunity to visit rare franchise history tonight. Only three times in franchise history — and twice since the team has been in Atlanta — have the Hawks taken a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series. With a 1-0 lead over Milwaukee, they can accomplish that feat for the first time since 1970.
Here are the three times it has happened:
♦1957-58: St. Louis Hawks take a 2-0 lead over Detroit in the Western Conference finals. They won the series, 4-1, and went on to win the NBA title over Boston.
♦ 1968-69: Atlanta Hawks take a 2-0 lead over San Diego in the Western semifinals. They won the series, 4-2, but lost in the Western finals to Los Angeles.
♦ 1969-70: Hawks take a 3-0 lead over Chicago in the Western semifinals. They won the series, 4-1, but lost in the Western finals to Los Angeles again.
“It would be huge to protect home court — that’s what we’ve worked so hard for,” Jamal Crawford just said in the locker room. “If we win tonight, the pressure would really on them to go home and take care of business as well.”
One more thing before I turn it over to you. As you may have heard, Josh Smith finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting, behind Dwight Howard. Smith said he was gratified to finish that high, considering he didn’t even place in the top 10 last season.
Smith and Howard are close friends. The two actually went to pre-school together in College Park. When asked if they stressed defense at the pre-school, Smith laughed and said: “We stressed nibbling on toys and trying to get potty trained. That’s all we were worried about back then. Maybe watch a little Barney, a little Elmo.”
Still, can you imagine their one-on-ones on the Nerf hoop?
I’ll start live blogging at tip-off.