Live from Game 5: Do the Hawks have an answer for Bango?

Joe Johnson practices shooting from the bench. Good trick, but not quite Bango-riffic.

Seeking to one-up a deer, Joe Johnson shoots from the bench. (Photo by M. Bradley)

Big game. Lots of pressure. If the Hawks lose tonight, they probably lose the series. But enough gloom and doom. Let’s talk about Bango.

Bango is the Milwaukee Bucks’ mascot. He — and I believe he’s a he — wears a deer costume. He’s not what you’d call intimidating. (When last did you see a scary deer?) But Bango did become the biggest Internet sensation of the NBA playoffs with a feat performed in Game 4 on Monday.

During a timeout, Bango climbed up a 20-foot ladder and, with his back to the basket, jumped off and dunked the ball. The Bradley Center crowd went Bango-ballistic, and even the Hawks took note. “That,” Joe Smith pronounced before tonight’s Game 5, “was sweet.”

And here’s my challenge to the Hawks: Last year Philips Arena produced a playoff star in Spirit the Hawk, who flew rampant before Game 2 of Round 1 against Miami and became so famous that he — the bird himself informed me in a Tweet that he was a he — had his own Twitter postings. But Spirit has been strangely quiet this time.

I say, on the behalf of Hawks fans everywhere, it’s time to unleash the fury. Un-tether Spirit and let him dunk the ball from the rafters. This is the postseason. Gotta bring your mascot’s A-game.

Oh, about Game 5 itself: You all know what’s at stake. So do the Hawks. They seem ready, and they’d better be. Lose tonight and Bango could easily sky-slam them into the floorboards Friday in Milwaukee.

And with that, we’ll open the floor for questions, comments and your favorite anecdotes about dunkin’ deer. I’ll be here until the Hawks have taken a 3-2 lead in the series — yes, I think they’ll win, but I’ve been wrong rather recently — and I’d love to have you alongside.

736 comments Add your comment

Spirit the Hawk

April 28th, 2010
7:32 pm

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:32 pm

i wondered if you were still up north.

Willy

April 28th, 2010
7:33 pm

Nothing will cure the Hawks troubles like a little elbow grease tonight – hustle! (oh, and one of the FIRST! maybe?)

Willy

April 28th, 2010
7:34 pm

Nothing will cure the Hawks ailments better than a little passion and ellbow grease.

JL Burke

April 28th, 2010
7:35 pm

Mark,

Do you think there’s any real chance the Hawks take some approach other than switching on every pick? Are they too committed to that defensive philosophy to change now?

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:36 pm

I don’t, JL. Switching is Woodson’s philosophy.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:36 pm

Philips Arena Magic should prevail. Unless the “Switch” is as useless as in the last couple of games.

David Scott

April 28th, 2010
7:37 pm

Hire Bobby Knight as coach and the Hawks will become the most followed professional basketball operation in America.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:37 pm

And I’m sure Coach Woody appreciates your support, Spirit.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:37 pm

Ok. whats for supper at Philips? Venison?

JeJe

April 28th, 2010
7:37 pm

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:38 pm

Mark, the ole photography is slipping a bit.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:38 pm

I thought he played for the Magic, Coach Todd. You know: Venison Carter.

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:39 pm

Mark, do the Hawks cover the 9 or do you like the Bucks with the points?

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:39 pm

Yeah. That was a weak effort. But I had to snap fast on the iPhone to catch Joe’s shot. (Which missed, barely ticking the iron.)

Spitting in the graveyard

April 28th, 2010
7:40 pm

if they lose fire Woodson,son

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:40 pm

do you take those shots with your phone?

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:40 pm

Cover the nine, Steve. Of the Hawks’ last 16 playoff games — this is amazing — only one (Game 4 Monday) has ended with a single-digit margin.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:41 pm

Coach Woody is in good spirits, you should know.

JL Burke

April 28th, 2010
7:41 pm

If your opponent knows you will switch with every pick, then they can get any matchup they want at any time. The only way that works is if every player you have is capable of guarding every player on offense. Why not mix it up, make some effort to get over the top of the pick, and let your opponent guess at how you’re going to defend each possession? When I played, you yelled switch when you were going to switch; otherwise, you fought through the pick.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:41 pm

seems the AJC could get you a decent camera. after all, how can you be on the “Mark” without one?

yeah, weak effort here too.

Justin

April 28th, 2010
7:42 pm

It’s pretty simple. We just need to buy out Greg Popovich and work a sign and trade with Cleveland (LeBron for Marvin and Zaza). Then we will win the championship next year.

Ree Roe

April 28th, 2010
7:42 pm

I predict a Hawks blowout win and then a deflating loss on Fri. So I look forward to you doing a live blog on Sun Mark. Your live insights are always interesting to read.

-REEsponsible Roe!!!

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:42 pm

Thanks Mark! I’ll put whats left of my 401K on it.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:42 pm

I wonder if Vince was named after the famous Sgt. Carter.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:43 pm

how many were wins?

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:45 pm

I’ll bet it’s really cool when you’re at the Peachtree Road Race and at the beginning, the announcer says “On your…..”

I’ll get swinging in a minute here.

Ree Roe

April 28th, 2010
7:47 pm

@ Coach Grantham, Hawks are 6-10 in their last 16 playoff games

-REEspect the Roe!!!

JL Burke

April 28th, 2010
7:47 pm

Mark,

I’d like to get your take on which Atlanta franchise is most likely to bring the city its next championship. My money is on the Falcons.

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:48 pm

Ree Roe is there a reason you add in “Responsible Roe” or “Respect Roe?”

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:49 pm

I’d say that’s correct, JL.

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:50 pm

Mark, how is the atmosphere? Are there a lot of empty seats? I would be there but am in the exciting town of Valdosta.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:51 pm

That’s correct, Ree Roe. They are 6-10. You win the stat award.

Last home playoff tilt decided by fewer than 10 points: Game 6 against Boston in 2008.

bball fan

April 28th, 2010
7:51 pm

Although a win is a win, whether by one point or 20+ points, the Hawks really need to do more than beat Bango’s team tonight. They need to put a convincing beating on them and hopefully re-establish that feeling of dominance that must have somehow stayed home when they went on the road.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:53 pm

Not much of a crowd. And we’re three-plus minutes from introductions.

LC

April 28th, 2010
7:53 pm

Marvin still sucks and is a disgrace. That being said, hopefully Crawford gets in for him earlier today so we don’t have to watch him turn the ball over and get boxed out by Ersan Ilyasova.

Big Ray

April 28th, 2010
7:54 pm

Zzzzzzzzzz….huh?

Spirit the Hawk can’t be controlled. But I say put a toy stuffed deer at midcourt and get Spirit to swoop down and grab it, then carry it off.

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:56 pm

Sad. Can’t use the traffic excuse for an 8:10 tip. I wonder how attendance would be if the arena were in the ‘Burbs?

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
7:57 pm

thanks Ree Roe.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
7:57 pm

Unless about eight thousand folks show up in the next five minutes, this will be an embarrassing gathering.

Steve

April 28th, 2010
7:58 pm

Back in The Omni days when the Hawks went to the playoffs, that building was packed well before first tip. Nice and loud too. I don’t get it.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
8:00 pm

Crowd has gotten a bit bigger. Not embarassing. Disappointing, though

Steve

April 28th, 2010
8:01 pm

I bet the folks in Milwaukee watching are about to die from laughing so hard at all of the empty seats.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
8:01 pm

Jamal Crawford is receiving his NBA sixth man of the year award.

JeJe

April 28th, 2010
8:02 pm

FIRE MIKE WOODSON

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
8:03 pm

There might not be much to do in Milwaukee, but those folks turned up for two basketball games. Just sayin’.

DawgNole

April 28th, 2010
8:04 pm

Remember (once again): Forty-plus years in ATL. NEVER past the second round of the playoffs. No wonder they’re staying away in droves. Win CHAMPIONSHIPS, and they will come, as will national media respect. But you must win CHAMPIONSHIPS! Only one ATL team (in all the major pro sports) has ever won a championship–in nearly a half-century of competion. No way to put a pretty face on that one.

todd grantham

April 28th, 2010
8:04 pm

sayin ATL’s not a basketball town, huh?

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
8:08 pm

Marvin dunks. Yes, Marvin. Hawks 2-0.

Mark Bradley

April 28th, 2010
8:08 pm

Salmons drives past Al. Another switch.