The Hawks lose Game 1 by 43 points, and it seemed worse

Here's Dwight Howard. The Hawks tried to stop him. Fail. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

The Hawks tried to stop Dwight Howard. Fail. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando – The Hawks really believed they had a chance to steal Game 1, but the only crime committed here was fraud. The East’s No. 3 seed performed as if it were back in its glory days of Billy Knight burning lottery picks on guys named Williams.

The Hawks were tied after 14 minutes. Ten minutes later they trailed by 20 points. And it would — oh yes, it would — get doubly worse.

It’s no easy feat to trail a Round 2 playoff game by 41 points having played only 36 minutes, but the proud conquerors of Milwaukee managed it. They were down 85-44 after three quarters. And I say it again: This is why so few folks outside Atlanta, and many folks in Atlanta, don’t take seriously a team that won 53 games this season and has survived a Game 7 in each of the two springs.

The Hawks tried really hard those first 14 minutes. Then the home team got going, and the visitors decided trying to play sound basketball really wasn’t worth the effort. So they ceased and desisted.

Joe Johnson kept losing the ball. (He had four turnovers against five points the first half.) Jamal Crawford looked scared. (His first half: Two points, two points.) And Mike Woodson’s grand scheme to control Dwight Howard worked for a little while, but the sheer weirdness of it — deploying the forgotten Jason Collins before the NBA’s sixth man of the year and the ancient Joe Smith in the first quarter — undid the team it was supposed to bolster.

The Hawks were so consumed by trying to bump and bedevil Howard they stopped running any semblance of an offense. (Collins made a basket and seemed shocked.) They scored 23 points in the first quarter; they managed 21 in the next two. They tried to go Iso-Joe and that didn’t work, so everyone decided to hoist jumpers. And the lead grew — it would peak at 112-66 — and the humiliation deepened, and the East’s No. 3 seed became something a No. 3 seed should never be: pitiable.

Joe Johnson wasn’t the only Hawk lacking this night — the line forms on the left and stretches to Daytona Beach — but he’s supposed to be the go-to guy, and he wasn’t. Not for lack of trying, though. He looked off an open Al Horford on the baseline in the second quarter to take a fadeaway jumper, which missed. In the third, the game long gone, Johnson started to pass to Jeff Teague and then, for the heck of it, shot another. Missed again.

To reiterate: This is the No. 3 seed, not the No. 8. Even if the Magic are superior — certainly a prima facie case can be made to that effect — they shouldn’t be 43 points better. But the Hawks keep going on the road in postseason and laying these dinosaur eggs and then wondering why we don’t give them credit for being a big-time team.

“This was uncharacteristic of us,” Johnson said afterward, but it was perfectly in character. This is a team that has played 13 road games the past three postseasons and has lost 11 of them, 10 by at least 19 points. Even if this was the most egregious, it was simply the continuation of a regrettable pattern.

Just when you think the Hawks have a chance to do something really good, they offer up a loss that makes you wonder if they’re any good at all. Yeah, yeah –  it’s only one game and it still could be a long series, but the more the Hawks keep doing this the harder it is to write off one bad loss. Because there have been so many.

“It was frustrating,” Horford said. “Guys were trying, but we got a little distracted. We should be past that. We’re a good team. They’re not 40 points better than us.”

No team should be, the but Magic were in Game 1. Numerically, it was the worst playoff loss the Hawks have absorbed since moving to Atlanta. The only surprise was that it wasn’t the worst loss in the history of basketball. Because that’s how it smelled.

219 comments Add your comment

Road Dog

May 4th, 2010
11:07 pm

Road Dog

May 4th, 2010
11:08 pm

Wish Hawks could say the same….

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: Gutty effort by the Hawks to cut it from 46 to 43. http://bit.ly/dfCLI7 [...]

Reid Adair

May 4th, 2010
11:10 pm

Wow. When you said earlier that the Hawks would step their game up for a better opponent, I agreed. Unfortunately, we were wrong.

Mike Woodson should let them all go to Disney World tomorrow instead of practicing. It can’t be any worse than this.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:10 pm

First, Road Dog. Kudos.

Do me a favor. Don’t bother reading it.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:11 pm

Alas, Reid, the Hawks are indeed watching tape tomorrow morning.

GT Trumpet

May 4th, 2010
11:15 pm

I need to move to a different city where the sports teams don’t consistently under perform when it comes to the playoffs (’91-’05 Braves: 1 World Series, Falcons just accomplished back-to-back winning seasons, Hawks tonight)

Herschel Talker

May 4th, 2010
11:17 pm

hahahaha!

In Woody we trust!

You people who continue to support these clowns are laughable.

When’s kickoff?

Herschel Talker

May 4th, 2010
11:17 pm

I guess we’re going to hear how “we weren’t focused.”

Woody is the man!

NightHawk

May 4th, 2010
11:19 pm

After a showing like this tonight, I’m just inclined to get this thing over with as quickly as possible and focus my disappointment exclusively on the underperforming Braves.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

Actually, the Hawks came out ready. They led early and were tied two minutes in the second quarter. And they lost by 43, which defies belief.

Hawk Str8Talk

May 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

I just did my blog and all I kept thinking was – 1. it’s not Xs and Os – it’s a heart transplant that needs to occur and 2. I want Coach Woodson to do like George Constanza and simply do the opposite of anything he ever does for this team. Seriously, I do not have an ounce of belief in our coach or an ounce of belief in the constitution of this team. Talented, yes! Individually, yes! But the mix of coach and talent are bad.

Najeh Davenpoop

May 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

It’s pretty obvious why the Hawks got blown out today. Bradley decided to live-blog it. What is it now, 0-4 for Bradley and 3-0 for Schultz?

omar

May 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

Why no Joe at the press conference? Isn’t he the leader of this team?

HawkDawg

May 4th, 2010
11:20 pm

Woah… well we knew when the Bucks could run up the score on us that Orlando could be even worse, but my Lord! As a team, these Hawks are Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. Hopefully Dr. Jekyll will make an appearance in the coming games.

Patrick

May 4th, 2010
11:22 pm

Mark,

What are the odds that the Hawks return to the lottery before making the Easter Conference finals?

Have we hired a new coach yet?

Who will replace Joe Johnson?

Malenkos

May 4th, 2010
11:23 pm

Read earlier here at the AJC that, other than Howard, who on the Magic can play D. Well after scoring 10 in the 2nd quarter and 11 in the 3rd, apparently you have your answer that it’s their whole team.

Hawk Str8Talk

May 4th, 2010
11:25 pm

also, Mark – when do I get to be on the Blogroll – http://www.hawkstr8talk.com

Blast

May 4th, 2010
11:26 pm

Hawks sucks and sucks really bad. And I am a die hard Hawks fan. Lose by 43 points? Unbelievable!

JB

May 4th, 2010
11:26 pm

Mark, the hawks are terrible on the road and given that 4 games are at orlando…Do the math man! These guys i’m sure are the talk of the playoffs all across the nation at work on wednesday. ” Did you see the how bad the magic beat the hawk last night” … Who wouldn’t! You don’t play this bad and claim you have the heart and desire to do something special mark, it’s that simple and these hawks are pretenders not contenders. They have the fire power to hang with anyone but lack the focus and toughness it takes to get it done. I can’t see the hawks winning more than 2 games here and that may be asking too much as well! This team has no real urgency and no real leader! Pretenders mark, pretenders.

patheticatlfan

May 4th, 2010
11:27 pm

Same game we have played in Orlando for 2 years. When you chose to double Dwight, you will pay especially when the Magic are on their home floor. They are way to comfortable shooting the ball on their home floor. Once they got up by double digits, you could see that “oh no! here we go again !” look on our faces. Why doesn’t Woody just play Dwight straight up? If he gets 50 points..then thats less shots for everybody else and it may stagnate their offense. I remember MJ getting 60 on us in Chicago early in his career and we still won the game.

Getaway

May 4th, 2010
11:27 pm

Darn it, I really wanted to climb back on the bandwagon, but the Hawks keep putting a boot in my face every time I try.
I would also like not to be bandwagon fan, behind them thick or thin as I am with the Falcons, but this team just doesn’t inspire that. I can’t tell if they care one bit about winning.

EW

May 4th, 2010
11:28 pm

Milwaukee would not have lost 40 tonight! Josh Smith showed up tonight! He’s was the only backbone on display. MB, the series is the blessing that we all needed. Whatever this team is will most certainly be exposed by mid-May.

LovetheAJC

May 4th, 2010
11:31 pm

Is this the same Mark Bradley that predicted the HAWKS in 7 in todays edition??? And this is why I subscribe to the AJC!!

Ree Roe

May 4th, 2010
11:32 pm

I agree with everything said in the article & all the comments, but it is only ONE game. The 1st Quarter had some positives & then we stopped competing. We can play with this team & beat them. C’mon Hawks, shake it off & come back on Thurs ready to battle. All hope is not lost

-REEady to Roe!!

When do the Hawks and Magic play game 1??

May 4th, 2010
11:32 pm

Joe Johnson is out of here on the first plane after the season ends…why would he come back? We need a better coach but the Spirit are the cheapest owners in sports..

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:33 pm

Getaway, you said it well. The Hawks really do make it hard on people to back them. They’re too good a team to be losing like this.

20 year Republican

May 4th, 2010
11:34 pm

Oh,the shame! Hey Hawks – Win or go home!

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:34 pm

No, all isn’t lost, Ree Roe. All wasn’t lost after the collapse in Game 5 last week, was it?

Yes, it’s a weird team.

Just So Tired.......

May 4th, 2010
11:34 pm

It makes no sense for anyone to invest time and energy into cheering for this team. There is not another example I can point to in all of sports where a team this good (3rd seed, are you kidding me?) can play such helpless ball. And it happens to this group all the time. The only close comparison is UGA consistently getting tagged by 20-30 points by Florida for two decades. It really doesn’t add up.

I love ‘em both, but tonight I feel like the girlfriend who just got backhanded across the room for the umpteenth time. All I can think is why am I still here putting up with this? Sadly, I’ll probably be sitting here two nights from now hoping it’ll be different, knowing they’re really a good team, that they just lost their composure for a minute….It kills me, it really does.

BugKiller

May 4th, 2010
11:35 pm

Joe Johnson = NO Heart, NO Passion, NO Intesity, NO Will-to-Win.

Mike Woodson = NO Clue when it comes to designing even the simplest offensive sets.

Who is tired of this overgrown approach to AAU basketball???

Who is tired of a Pippen masquerading as a Jordan in Joe Johnson??? Actually, Pippen (second banana) is far too kind for JJ. In the big moments, Joe plays more like a Longly. Or a KONCAK.

Mark, when are you going to call Joe Johnson out for the absolute fraud he is?

Benjamin

May 4th, 2010
11:36 pm

43 points? Who was our top scorer? Ivano Newbill?

We’re not making it to Game 6. Orlando’s got the deed to the Atlanta Hawks….

Anthony

May 4th, 2010
11:37 pm

Somebody please tell Joe Johnson to quit being a ball hog. Tell Coach Woodson to man up and be a big time coach he is supposed to be. They obviously run offense in practice. I know they don’t give the ball to Joe and let him go one on one in practice while everyone stands around and watches. Cmon guys, why don’t some of the players on this team get mad at somebody and do something about it. We’ve been having to put up with this all year and it doesn’t get us anywhere. Will someone besides the fans tell JJ to be a TEAM player and move the ball. I’m sick of it. Can I get a witness??

When do the Hawks and Magic play game 1??

May 4th, 2010
11:37 pm

Lay off of Joe Johnson…He is not playing well but it is not all his fault…team is poorly coached..they don’t run plays

b17211

May 4th, 2010
11:37 pm

Fire Mike Woodson, get rid of Joe Johnson and bring in Dwayne Wade.

IlliniDawg

May 4th, 2010
11:37 pm

Thanks Mark for reminding me, a Souhern transplant up here in the political and economic wasteland known as Illinois, why I do not follow the Hawks (nor the pitiful Trashers). You are right in your statement that “this team is not taken seriously.” No one up here – repeat no one – ever talks about the Hawks (or the Trashers). They might as well be the Clippers or the Warriors or whatever the hell that Oklahoma team is called now. Games like this only reinforce existing beliefs, whether they are accurate or not. But getting utterly spanked by what is essentially a one-man team is pathetic.

Mark Bradley

May 4th, 2010
11:38 pm

Good line, Benjamin. Ivano Newbill.

You might be interested to know that the Hawks brought Zaza Pachulia, and nobody else, to the interview room afterward. After two perfunctory questions, nobody could think of anything to ask. Said Pachulia: “After a game like that, you don’t get many questions.”

magic johnson

May 4th, 2010
11:38 pm

lose by 43 points? they didn’t win one quarter. i like the hawks but c’mon….woody needs to get in they @$$ tonite & tomorrow…he needs to coach like this is his last series…hopefully it is. I think they have reached their ceiling….i bought playoff tik’s so i hope they show up at home…maybe woody needs to show the team clips of the lakers vs celtics series back in 85 when the lakers lost gm 1 on the rd by 30+ points, but came back to win in 6…he needs to try somethin…whateva he’s doin ain’t workin. Go Lakers!

Steve

May 4th, 2010
11:39 pm

Jason Collins is a legit Center – played on the Nets Championship teams (started), so I don’t fault Woody for that move – here’s what happened:

1) The rest obviously helped Orlando immensely.
2) We have no answer to Jameer Nelson to my knowledge
3) Horford always looks woefully overmatched by Howard
4) The Magic are way deeper than the Hawks
5) Crawford is a 10 year vet – but he looked totally freaked out
6) Joe Johnson has been in lala land the last 2 games – sprainded thumb still bothering him?
7) And lastly, Orlando is way older top to bottom. Gotta remember the the Hawks – Horford is 23
Williams is 23
Josh is 24
In two years these guys will still only be 25, 25, and 26 – many NBA’ers don’t really click until 27 or 28 – so we are still very young

And if we do fire Woody – why not go after Skiles? Those guys were smokin’ hot until Bogul got hurt. He seems like a great coach.

P.S. – Blame Billy Knight – when you blow a 6th pick on a dud – an 11th on Acie Law – you don’t deserve to win in the NBA – not when the Celtics are gettin’ Rondo late in the 1st round, Perkins, Glen Davis etc. We stunk at drafting besides Josh, and Horford. Maybe Sund will rectify that.

Road Dog

May 4th, 2010
11:42 pm

Mark. Didn’t you grow up watching Kentucky basketball? For the life of me, I don’t know how you can even sit through something like this debacle. Well before the half, during many of your long silences (”I know, if you have anything good to say — don’t say anything at all.”) — but we Bradley fans are wondering whether you have left the building, are crying uncontrollably into something much stronger than a beer, or laughing out loud so hard — you can no longer see the keys on your keyboard. At least you and the Hawks have all converged onto the right town. We have a Mickey Mouse team led by DUMBO himself!!!

rusty

May 4th, 2010
11:42 pm

i wish the bucks would have beat us,they would not have got destroyed & embarressed like we have.
jj is a choker,he is performing the same way he did in the playoffs last year. he is a ballhog who doent make any one on the team better. he pounds the ball eats up the clock & IS INCONSISTANT.i hope the hell he is gone.what the hell has woody done to this team,after a great start we have not performed up to our capability. this team has no ball movement & plays horrible defense. i think that northcyde is full of shite,just stupid posting

Ree Roe

May 4th, 2010
11:42 pm

@ Mark, much will be said of our inability to win on the road & the spectacular ways in which we can go about losing, but if we get ONE game in ORL all of a sudden we’re in control of the series. I’m personally embarassed by tonight, almost like I feel personally responsible for tonight’s atrocity, but I refuse to get too down on this team now. Folks, we all knew what the Hawks playoff MO was before the game started so while I am disappointed & disgusted by tonight, I hesitate to get too worked up over 1 game. We just gotta figure it out, play with some heart & make some shots

-REEticulate it for Roe!!

Bigstack O' Pancakes. It's an Irish name!

May 4th, 2010
11:44 pm

They lost by 43! That is some funny stuff.

Harpie

May 4th, 2010
11:44 pm

Mike Woodson MAKES ME SICK!!!!!!

Andrew

May 4th, 2010
11:46 pm

Just the sign of the inconsistency is very depressing as a die-hard fan, I am used to seeing this type of thing in young teams but the Hawks are not a young team. When it all boils down you have to go to the top, this all falls in the hands of the coaches. It is a disgrace to have a meltdown like that. They need to figure something out…fast.

Mike

May 4th, 2010
11:48 pm

Everyone acted like I did not know what I was talking about when I said the Magic were going to kill Atlanta.

You can not base one win against Orlando on a miracle last second dunk as evidence that the Hawks can beat one of the best teams in the NBA. Orlando is too good and is probably going to win the title.

Joe and Bibby are bad, bad leaders

May 4th, 2010
11:49 pm

Does anyone else think that some of the key Hawks leaders / players are simply lazy?

Hawks won Game 6 vs. Bucks, but Bibby and Joe created stupid play after play.

Most nights I look at the Hawks and see guys who act the high school jocks who have it easy. There is no heart or hustle shown by Bibby or Johnson. I would shop both around after this series and the summer.

Joe Johnson – show some life on offense by doing something besides standing in front of your man and dribbling.

Mike Bibby – wake up and play defense b/c you do not have too much to offer any more.

The worst part of tonight: Most Hawks looked like they did not care. Kind of like our leader – Joe – when he fouled out of game 5 with the Bucks. The guy did not even stand with the team during a timeout. No words of encouragement, nothing.

Sad leadership from the top to the players.

really?

May 4th, 2010
11:50 pm

none of the players could show their face and take questions after a loss like this besides ZaZa? I guess it isn’t too surprising if you watch this team to know that he’s the only one with any heart and will face the media while the rest hide. ,

Texas Hawk

May 4th, 2010
11:52 pm

Wow!!!!! I am more than disappointed in this team, this was down right humiliating!!! I have been trying to rally support for this team and I continue to get laughed at and right now I should do the same. I should turn my back and walk away from this team. There is no reason we should be this horrible in the Playoffs. I must admit they were giving ticky-tack fouls to Howard but thats no reason to start putting up jumpers all night. This group reminded me of the Dallas Mavs here!! Keep it up and they will be fishing in four games with the Mavs!!!!!!!!!!!

really?

May 4th, 2010
11:52 pm

Is firing mike woodson after game 1 a bad motivational tactic for the rest of this series? What’s the worst case scenario, we lose by 40? Oh wait…