We’ve all witnessed playoff disappointments before. Two weeks ago, I listed what I believed to be the seven greatest postseason flops in Atlanta pro sports history. The Hawks were on the verge of joining the infamous group at the time, only to show some resolve when down 3-2 against Milwaukee and win the next two games to make it to round two.
This second-round series against Orlando isn’t a playoff flop. It’s just an embarrassment. It would leave fans with an ugly hangover, sort of
like when the Falcons made their
miracle run to the Super Bowl, only to have Eugene Robinson get arrested on the eve of the game.
Nobody — at least no rational thinking person — really believed the Hawks would defeat the Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
But most of us figured they would at least compete against the Magic and had a chance to win one or two games. Instead, they’ve played hard for three quarters in Game 2 in Orlando and were comatose for the other nine. They’ve not only have been blown out twice, including Saturday’s Game 3 at home, but Joe Johnson showed little concern for the Hawks’ disgruntled fan base.
Tonight at Philips Arena, there’s a good chance it will end. The Magic have won the first three games by deficits of 43, 14 and 30 points. The Hawks are only the fourth team in NBA playoff history to lose two games of a playoff series by 30 or more points (nobody has suffered that distinction three times).
Tonight could be Johnson’s final game as a Hawk. It also could be Mike Woodson’s final game as head coach.
What happens? Do they get blown out again, or do they show a little pride — and possibly lose any way? And is it in them to actually win a game?
When asked how difficult it would be to rebound off a game like Saturday’s 105-75 loss, guard Jamal Crawford said bef0re the game: “It’s hard. It’s harder the same night because you can’t sleep and the game just replays in your head. After you see the tape, you feel a little bit better but it still lingers with you. This game can’t come fast enough.
“We just have to have some pride. This is not a No. 1 vs. No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament. This is a No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed. We knew we were on a possible collision course. We just have to go out and play hard.”
That would be a nice change.
How hard do you believe the Hawks will play — and do you think it would make a difference in the result?