LIVE BLOG: Hawks try to close out Magic (honest)

Now taking all predictions for the final score of Hawks vs. Magic, game 5.

Now accepting all predictions for the final score of tonight's game five: Hawks vs. Orlando.

ORLANDO — I keep thinking of the opening verse to the Talking Heads’ song, “Once in a lifetime.”

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

The last time the Hawks played a playoff series, they lost by a combined 101 points. To Orlando. But now they are own a 3-1 lead and can close out the previously favored Orlando Magic tonight and move on to the second round.

How did they get here?

They haven’t played great in every game. But they have been consistent in two important areas: 1) Defensively, players have stuck with coach Larry Drew’s game plan to not double Dwight Howard, which has enabled defenders to harass the Magic’s three-point shooters (who are a collective 21 for 96, or 21.9 percent); 2) They have given strong, consistent efforts and played physical in four straight games.

Josh Smith has received his share of criticism in recent years, but he was on target with this comment: “Every possession is not going to be perfect. What you do to make up for that is effort plays, and we’ve been doing that the whole series. Guys have been playing with an unbelievable passion that I haven’t seen all season long. We’re playing as though we have something to prove.”

If the Hawks can finish this thing, they’ll experience some rare franchise history. Consider:

♦ Since relocating from St. Louis to Atlanta in 1968, the Hawks have played 23 playoff series as the lower seed. They were 2-21 in those series coming into this first round (they’re the East’s No. 5 seed, Orlando No. 4). Atlanta’s only previous series wins over a higher seed came in 1978-79 (2-0 over Houston in a best-of-three) and 1995-96 (3-2 over Indianapolis in a best-of-five).

♦ The Hawks won best-of-seven series in the first round the last two seasons over Miami (2008-09) and Milwaukee (2009-10). The last time they won a best-of-seven in fewer than seven games? That would be 1969-70: 4-1 over Chicago. Then again, they lost 14 straight best-of-seven series after that Chicago series, ending the streak against the Heat.

But all that seems ancient history right now. And I maintain that if the Hawks win this series, regardless of the perceived weaknesses on the Magic’s roster, it’s a more significant postseason triumph than the first-round wins over Miami and Milwaukee.

As always, I’ll be blogging live from tip-off, at least until I have to start banging out the game column.

So how confident are you feeling? Predictions beginning in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier today: Digi-Blog previews Hawks and Magic, game 5

Earlier today: Cam Newton offered $1 million if he can pass lie detector (Update II)

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

476 comments Add your comment

Brandon from Warner Robins

April 26th, 2011
7:08 pm

Highly confident. This would be a huge win,

Sam

April 26th, 2011
7:09 pm

HAWKS WILL WIN!

Ryan

April 26th, 2011
7:12 pm

Go Hawks!!

We need a scoreboard like that in Phillips.

Ryan

April 26th, 2011
7:14 pm

I predict that since the winning team has scored 88 points the last 3 games, the Hawks win 88-81.

pthroat

April 26th, 2011
7:20 pm

Jeff, how bad do you think the foul discrepancy will be tonight in Orlando’s favor?

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:31 pm

Ryan — It’s an awesome scoreboard: four tiers. Actually can’t tell from the picture. (Two screens, two ribbons).

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:31 pm

Pthroat — The one thing I predict even less than how the Hawks play is how the refs will call it.

James on Pharr Rd

April 26th, 2011
7:32 pm

Looking for a huge Josh Smith game tonight:22 points 11 Rebounds 4 Blocks and 6 Assists.
Zaza 12 Rebounds 3 Blocks 10 Points

Larry

April 26th, 2011
7:33 pm

Hawks will get drilled tonight by a team with its back against the wall.

We’d better be ready for game 6 at home as will will not win game 7 in Orlando with this collective team of individuals and their powerless coach.

James on Pharr Rd

April 26th, 2011
7:39 pm

Jeff

Did LD make the team watch film of last year’s embarrassing blow out games today as an added incentive?

SABER

April 26th, 2011
7:40 pm

Schultz – are you still sporting shorts to show off the tan from spring training… or has the white returned?

Joe Tess Fish House

April 26th, 2011
7:40 pm

Basketball is 4 loosers

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:40 pm

Love L.D.’s attitude: “We’ve got to play like we’re down 3-1.” Hope the Hawks take it to heart.
Also, “The Georgia Dome” a.k.a. Zaza is back!!!!!!

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:41 pm

James on Pharr Rd — No. But he reminded them they’re not so great that they can sleep walk to a win.

Ryan

April 26th, 2011
7:41 pm

Agreed James. Smoove is due for a large game. Hope tonight is it.

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:41 pm

Joey Crawford ref.= trouble. He loves to be center of attention.

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:43 pm

Yes! Turk foul @ 10:59~!

James on Pharr Rd

April 26th, 2011
7:44 pm

Wonder if Tiger shows up to support his Magic tonight…

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:44 pm

SUBBB for the turk!

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:44 pm

Can’t remember last time I saw player hit side of board.

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:45 pm

It’s 1-0. It’s over.

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:45 pm

Burning Down The House was a great song too !

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:45 pm

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:46 pm

Foul on Dwight! I LIKE!!!!

soldierman

April 26th, 2011
7:46 pm

damn josh couldnt put a boat in the ocean today

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:46 pm

NBA players should be able to hit free throws.

Ryan

April 26th, 2011
7:47 pm

2 on Turk and 1 on Howard already…..nice!

Sleepy

April 26th, 2011
7:47 pm

Josh is lucky he plays for ATL with a rookie coach because I cant imagine this guy playing for any of the top coaches when hes so fundamentally flawed

Dawgs Man

April 26th, 2011
7:47 pm

Hawks have no chance if J Smith keeps shooting every time down the court.

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:47 pm

Smoove is a head case. WTH was that free throw???? Glad he made the second.

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:48 pm

Teams are now shooting a collective 1 for 8.

Dawgs Man

April 26th, 2011
7:49 pm

soldierman

April 26th, 2011
7:49 pm

at least we are attacking the rim early and often today

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:49 pm

Kirk speeding up the offense!!! That’s what we need.

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:51 pm

Da hook !!!!

Ryan

April 26th, 2011
7:51 pm

Somebody forgot to tell the Magic that the goal is NOT to commit fouls. :)

Dawgs Man

April 26th, 2011
7:53 pm

That $^%*#* Josh cannot hit a layup or a free throw. Dump him.

buick59

April 26th, 2011
7:53 pm

Josh Smith….what can you say…..basketball IQ of ?

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:53 pm

Hawks don’t need to attack 1 on 4. Wait for your team to get under the basket rebound. Damn.

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

Early master-of-obvious statement: Neither team shooting well. Hawks 3/11. Magic 3/10.

Dawgs Man

April 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

Jeff, they don’t have Collective Soul…

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:54 pm

Josh already with 4 rebounds but 1 for 5 shooting.

Sleepy

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

Coming up on the 5 minute mark and no more than 12 points scored is on par for pretty much every game of this series

Alternative Rocker

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

Replace Smoove with Starvin Marvin.

Steve

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

Jeff, do you think any of the online “experts” will pick the Hawks to get past the Bulls? What are your thoughts, if it happens?

Coach D.

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

FOUL #2 on # 12!!!!!YES

Jesse

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

Why doesn’t Josh realize that baby hook is unstoppable?

Jeff Schultz

April 26th, 2011
7:56 pm

That’s 2 on Howard. Guessing Van Gundy won’t be sitting him for the rest of half.

Jesse

April 26th, 2011
7:57 pm

His FTs are another story….