CHICAGO — There was one comedic moment in the Hawks’ locker room before their shootaround this morning when I asked guard Jamal Crawford if he was confident about how the team will come out in tonight’s Game 5.
“Honestly, I’ve stopped guessing,” he said, smiling.
That’s probably the safe route. But at least in theory, the Hawks’ mindset tonight should be helped by the fact the last time they felt really good about things and relaxed, they got smoked. They left Chicago after two games with an impressive split, then came out flat at home in Game 3 and lost. Stung by that, they played one of their best games of the postseason and beat the Bulls Sunday to tie the series at 2-2.
So what’s the mood two days after a great success?
“We’re confident but we’re on edge,” Al Horford said this morning. “Their backs are against the wall, and I feel like their backs were against the wall in Game 3 and look what happened. They just dominated us. We have to be prepared to battle with them. Give them credit – they played great that game. But we learned from it and we can’t let that happen again.”
Joe Johnson echoed: “Game 3 was definitely disappointment. We don’t want to shoot ourselves in the foot like that again. We really don’t have room for it. And we know that if we want to win this series, we have to come back in this building and win a game.”
That likely would be easier to do tonight than trying to win a Game 7 on the road. There have been 106 Games 7’s in NBA playoff history, and the home team is 85-21.
So what are your early thoughts on tonight? I’ll be back later to post the live blog.
By Jeff Schultz
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