NBA playoffs: Hawks say they won’t relax this time

The Hawks are back in the United Center, where they split the first two games.

The Hawks are back in the United Center, where they split the first two games.

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.

Larry Drew said he likely will stick with the same lineup, which includes Jason Collins at center.

Larry Drew said he likely will stick with the same lineup, which includes Jason Collins at center.

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

Last two blogs (free of charge)

Hawks may have finally found their point guard: Jeff Teague

Hawks, Josh Smith bounce back in major way over Bulls

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

81 comments Add your comment

Harrison

May 10th, 2011
12:51 pm

First!
GO HAWKS

clay

May 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

we will be able to tell what the hawks are going to do tonight in the 1st five min. they have to show 48 minutes of intensity and we have to see game 4 josh smith in order for them to win

Geemack

May 10th, 2011
12:54 pm

My thoughts are…can Joe match Roses offensive production enough to offset whatever he does? The Hawks can be them in every other area. The next 2 games will be about what All star show up each.

O'Brien

May 10th, 2011
12:55 pm

Jeff,

I dont think the players or the coach knows what to expect. Personally, I wouldnt be surprised to see the Hawks come out flat, and lose by double digits (only to turn it around and win game 6 in ATL).

Khao$

May 10th, 2011
12:57 pm

I hate to say it, but the history of this collection of players has shown that an uneven performance in on the horizon. Bulls by 13 tonight.

chem

May 10th, 2011
12:59 pm

Win tonight or Hawks are toast. Can’t expect to pull off a game 7 in Chicago.

rollo lawson

May 10th, 2011
12:59 pm

If we go with the Twin and the big lineup, I think we will be ok. If I see Marvin Williams come into the game before Damien Wilkins, I believe I will shoot my TV. It was bad enough when he sucked on offense. Now he has become a liability on defense. Deng has killed him. We just cannot win on the road with his type of play which is down-right pathetic!! Does Larry Drew notice this Steve?

RAYHAWK

May 10th, 2011
1:00 pm

I agree with Clay normally with the Hawks you can tell within the first 5 minutes what type of night we are in for, hopefully a good night! Go HAWKS

jgsbirds

May 10th, 2011
1:01 pm

for once can these dudes step up and play with heart in a money game?

show some fight and never quit–put as much pressure on them as possible tonight–if the hawks can make this a 4th quarter game you never know…i think the game 5 winner will win the series–so hawks you better bring it tonight and don’t leave anything on the court. the time to make history is NOW!

Doc

May 10th, 2011
1:01 pm

With San Antonio and Los Angeles gone and the Celtics almost gone, the championship is up for grabs.

If Atlanta plays the rest of the way like they did in Game 4, they can win it all. Mostly that means Josh Smith and Al Horford play like madmen like they did in Game 4.

I’ll be rooting for them.

Doc

Rishi

May 10th, 2011
1:08 pm

If Marvin plays less than 10min, teague stays agressive, horford battles noah, and smoove plays inside i like our chances….but some of those are big ifs

rollo lawson

May 10th, 2011
1:11 pm

I see Game #5 1988 all over again (Boston vs. Atlanta). The Hawks will go into Chicago and steal Game #5 tonight. They will look to close the series out in Atlanta on Friday night. Instead of JJ or Jamal taking the final shot, Marvin will pull a Cliff Levingston, setting up a duel between Joe Johson and Derrick Rose on Sunday afternoon. This time, Atlanta wins!!!

joyo

May 10th, 2011
1:13 pm

Keep pachulia and lewis on the bench as long as possible and we might have a shot

rollo lawson

May 10th, 2011
1:16 pm

Who is Lewis?

Tokyo Tom

May 10th, 2011
1:28 pm

Enuff with the Hawks- where is the Count?

Mason

May 10th, 2011
1:29 pm

Born2Buzz

May 10th, 2011
1:34 pm

rollo, i think he meant Marvin Williams. What has happened to the dude. He has completely devolved into an end of bench guy. I at least give LD credit for going with the big lineup and keeping Teague in for critical minutes.
rollo, i hope you are only right about the game 5 outcome. i was at game 6 in ‘88 and don’t think i could handle something like that again.

Word

May 10th, 2011
1:36 pm

please Hawks please……just once punch someone in the mouth! PUNCH EM HARD!

Section 303

May 10th, 2011
1:37 pm

I feel like the Hawks will play well tonight. But, Jamal put it best. It’s better not to guess. This team is literally capable of anything.

Jeff Schultz

May 10th, 2011
1:41 pm

Tokyo Tom — The Count is donating at the blood bank. But he shall return!

Swingman912

May 10th, 2011
1:48 pm

Lewis?…..IDK him… Teague stays aggressive, JJ and Jamal make good decisions when the double comes, Al bangs with Noah and Boozer, but most of all, Smoove has to play with energy and drive it inside….Seems simple enough, but these are our Hawks we’re talking about….But IT CAN BE DONE!…..CHUUUUUUCH

bascogcjs

May 10th, 2011
1:57 pm

Rollo, I guess you’ll have to shoot your tv because he won’t put Damien in
ahead of marvin. His old habits die hard.
Schultz, why don’t you critique LD for playing Marvin? a zu
J
d c

Mike Jay

May 10th, 2011
2:07 pm

This Hawks tea mcan beat anybody. They just enjoy beating themselves mroe than any other teams.

governor404

May 10th, 2011
2:24 pm

Hawk fans (the rfeal ones) NO ONE!!! has been more frustrated with Marvin Williams than myself but lest we forget if not for Marvin’s shooting performance in the close out game vs Orlando we would not be having this discussion, i feel he has another big game in him and we cannot destroy his confidence by allowing a former 10day contract player to play in front of him, its a reason DWilkins wasnt signed until late in the season. We will need Marvin’s size and length to possibly slow up Lebrick n Wade in the next round. Go Hawks

red clay all day

May 10th, 2011
2:27 pm

If we can get Mr. Oh NO not a 3pt/Josh Smith to understand his roll and play his part/in other words “You are a BIG man w Athleticism and not a shotin Guard with any touch/ then and ONLY THEN will WE be able to BE A CONSISTANT THREAT to the upper tier teams in tha NBA cause if he doesn’t then we can look forward to a blow lost tonight and a close home lost in GAME 6……. Josh not knocking you trying to hit the J cause you open but understand you open for the J cause they know, we the fans know, LD JJ JC Al ZaZa all of them know “YOU CAN’T HET IT//PLEASE STOP THE MADNESS…!

Howie

May 10th, 2011
2:34 pm

Jeff-

What are your thoughts on breaking up the team now? The way they play game to game can drive us crazy but I think we would have to say that while they digressed during the season, they have progressed in the playoffs.

Hopefully over the next 2-3 games they will be the team they were in games 1 and 4. Also interested in seeing how Teague plays….could be a nice lead in to next year for him and the Hawks.

Truck

May 10th, 2011
2:36 pm

Joe doesn’t have to match Rose point for point. If, and I mean if, the Hawks are clicking, they have much more scoring punch from different sources than Chicago. Rose has to score a lot for Chicago to win. If Josh, Jamal and maybe Jeff or Marvin (I know, he’s a joke) are contributing, Joe doesn’t have to score a lot.

LEA

May 10th, 2011
2:42 pm

lol at some of u fans think you’re coaches now, as long as smoove takes it to the hole strong, I have no problem with him taking a few jumpers..

JeJe

May 10th, 2011
2:43 pm

Use the Twin lineup

It’s LD’s fault we lost game 3. He made NO adjustments from game 2 to game 3

Bank on It!

May 10th, 2011
2:47 pm

Mark it down! The Hawks will lose tonight but come back and win Thurs in ATL. This will setup for a game 7 showdown in Chi-town…believe it or not- I think the Hawks would pull it out in a game 7.

The reason I think the Hawks can/will win in a game 7 is because ALL the pressure will be placed squarely on the Bulls. This will give the Hawks an opportunity to lay it all on line w/o many repercussions.

I’m sure the Bulls would love to closeout this series in 6 games because a team like the Hawks, who has plenty of game 7 playoff experience during recent years, would be extremely dangerous.

IceColdATlien

May 10th, 2011
2:49 pm

I live in Chi, and all the Bulls(h!t) fans and local sports radio only talking about how Chi lost the game… not how ATL won. They STILL got no respect for the Hawks. They even talking about how the Bulls will match up well with the Heat!!!!

I wish I was going to the game, but can’t afford $300 upperlevel seats, and nobody’s gonna give a Hawks fan a ticket. So, I’m praying the Hawks just take 5 and 6… then it’s time for me to chant:

ATL!!! ATL!!! ATL!!!

IceColdATlien

May 10th, 2011
2:52 pm

Bank, I actually called a split of each of the 2-game homestands during the 1st 4, then Bulls take 5, we take 6, and pull it out in 7. I gotta funny feeling that I’m going to be wrong and ATL takes 5, Bulls take 6, and then the Hawks finish them off.

JMARABLE

May 10th, 2011
2:59 pm

Josh cannot shoot jumpers 2nite. The hawks will not b able 2 survive his bone had jumpshots on the road. no one can stop him driving the ball 2 the basket unless they foul him, so why does he shoot them ? HALF THE TIME HE HAS A CLEAR PATH 2 THE BASKET. Hawks have to drive and kick make shots. and not allow the bulls to get second shots off the glass. Rose will get his but get a grip on everyone else. OUTREBOUND THEM WE WIN. no jumpers josh please.

Buckeye

May 10th, 2011
3:04 pm

2 games way from the Eastern Finals and all this town wants to blog about is Richt, Ealey and Caleb King – the lovable 6-7 losers.

No wonder the ATL has not respect as a sports town, right Steaky?

Go Hawks. Pound Rose and pull Noah’s poney tail Laker style.

B'Red

May 10th, 2011
3:08 pm

Hawks win because J Smoove keep playing inisde and force the Bulls to double team. Josh will find the open man and finish the game with a triple double.

Jeff Schultz

May 10th, 2011
3:11 pm

Bascogcjs — Marvin hasn’t shown much, correct.

Jeff Schultz

May 10th, 2011
3:11 pm

Howie — I would still look into dealing Josh. I don’t make judgments on one game. If he could play all the time the way he did the other night, I’d say, “Great!” But that would be premature to assume right now.

JChikara

May 10th, 2011
3:17 pm

My question is whether or not Atlanta is going to be able to withstand the first big run Chicago goes on tonight. The Hawks can’t go into the “must shoot 3s” mode the second they get behind. They can score more in the paint than Chicago can, so they must take advantage of that.

Also, they know that Noah’s going to come out hyped to get the boards and must match their intensity.

Steck Money

May 10th, 2011
3:17 pm

OK, So I wrote on here 2 days ago and said how the Hawks should trade Josh Smith, he obviously read it and got motivated, but since I am superstitious…….Josh Smith has no idea how to play the game stop hoisting up jumpers, Marvin is a better team player, we need to trade smoove while he has value….ok not an exact quote but I hope it works, GO HAWKS!!!!

oldmike

May 10th, 2011
3:19 pm

Hawks need to play smart efficient game like Sunday to win. Bulls will get all the calls. They will be in penalty right after the tip off. But outside of Rose what Bull scares you? Noah is an over the back beast. Deng not so hot. Korver real streaky shooter who couldn’t get his own shot on a bet. Keep Rose from driving to the hoop. Run the offense and steal game 5.

Matt from MN

May 10th, 2011
3:23 pm

Yeah, yeah…we’ve heard this same tired song and dance from the Hawks how many times? I’ll believe something has changed when they actually get to the Eastern Conference championship.

kojak

May 10th, 2011
3:29 pm

Is Josh really so stupid to think the boo’s are not directed at him? Man I just thought he was baskedball stupid–but he is just plain stupid!

clay

May 10th, 2011
3:34 pm

oldmike makes a great point. I am worried about the refs. they are playing in chicago and they have the mvp. noah constantly fouls but never in foul trouble. LETS GO HAWKS

gwills

May 10th, 2011
3:40 pm

As a UNC fan, I hate to say it, but Marvin must go. The Hawks can have a deadly team next year with this line up.
Starters/Second/third
PG. Teague/Hinrich/Jamal
SG. Joe/Jamal/Hinrich
SF. Josh Smith/ Pape Sy/Joe
PF Horford/Josh Smith/ Powell
C Greg Oden or Chris Kaman(With the emergence of Deandrea Jordan, he will be available)/Zaza

Trade Marvin for Kaman or Oden and fill out the roster with Damien(Can play and guard multiple postitions and resign Collins to play Dwight Howard. This would be a very versitile team to put on the floor and they can easily go 10 deep).

bascogcjs

May 10th, 2011
3:42 pm

thanks for your answer, Jeff. But I meant to ask LD.
But I guess it wouldn’t be wise to ask a coach about Marvin’s playing time.
It’s not like he’s going to gvie us an answer thata would throw Marvin under the
bus, which is where he belongs. Bur, a Damien should play ahead of him.
P.S. the extra letters in my post- my delete button won’t work. j i (ex.)

Zing

May 10th, 2011
3:43 pm

Prediction: Hawks lose a close one tonight, win at home in game 6, and win game 7! (Might be straying a bit into wishful thinking on that last one. But I think this series is definitely going 7 games).

stevie zero

May 10th, 2011
3:46 pm

jeff, couldnt agree more about dealing josh smith. the helps win/hurts team ratio is way too in the negative. uber-talented athlete but his attitude, laziness and absolute compulsiveness to shoot the ugliest j in nba history have exhausted my patience. i hope they leave him at o’hare..

Dirtybird

May 10th, 2011
3:53 pm

The Hawks season must be over already if folks are talking about roster changes.

Marcus

May 10th, 2011
3:57 pm

I hope we come out with an edge. No one is giving us a shot. ESPN is probably consulting mediums and using Oujja (sp?) boards for a Heat/Bulls matchup in the ECF.

Upset the apple cart, Hawks.

joey1

May 10th, 2011
3:58 pm

hawks win in 6