The Hawks were better in Game 2, but still not good enough

It was a high-level game for three quarters. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

It was a high-level game for three quarters. (Photo by Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando – It was almost as if they were expected to apologize for still being here. Everyone wanted to know how it felt to lose Game 1 by 43 points, and when the Hawks kept saying, “It’s only one game,” the reaction was as if they’d plunged into deep-dish denial. But you know what?

It was only one game. And Game 2 was much better. But it wasn’t good enough.

The Hawks showed Thursday they could play with the Magic for three quarters. NBA rules, alas, still stipulate four 12-minute periods.  In the fourth period the Hawks did their usual road disappearing act. They saved it for later this night, but that’s not much consolation when you’re down 2-0.

Actually, the Hawks led with one second left in the third quarter. Then Jameer Nelson banked home a 29-footer in transition, and that didn’t augur well. The fourth quarter began with the Hawks shooting jump shots, an even worse sign, and soon Vince Carter was flying through the lane and Mickael Pietrus and Rashard Lewis were hitting kill-shot treys and the Magic were up 19 points in a game they were sweating moments earlier.

And that’s what made Game 2 even more distressing than the egregious Game 1. The Hawks gave it something approximating their best shot — or at least as a good a shot as they’re apt to muster in a playoff road game — and still couldn’t extend the Magic to the wire. They got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Al Horford. They deployed four centers to shotgun their fouls against Dwight Howard. They made 30 of 31 free throws, the miss coming in the fourth quarter.

And still: Magic 112, Hawks 98.

It’s one thing to get blown out on a bad night. It’s worse to have a chance after three quarters and then have none halfway through the fourth. It suggests the Hawks, for all their resources, are simply in against an opponent that has more — more ways to win, more guys to score big (four Magic men reached 20 this night), more of whatever is required to win in the postseason.

It’s becoming clear that the Hawks, who are better than they’ve been this century, still aren’t there yet. They won 53 games in the regular season and claimed the East’s No. 3 seed, but for much of the postseason they’ve been too easily addled. The old bailout — “We’re a young team” — no longer applies.

“We didn’t have anything left in the fourth quarter,” Mike Woodson said. And then: “Somehow we’ve got to put four quarters together to beat this team. We were a little bit better tonight, but you’ve still got to play four quarters.”

Game 2 wasn’t a failure of tactics. The Hawks positioned themselves nicely enough. They just couldn’t finish, and that has become a major failing. The Hawks haven’t won a down-to-the-wire playoff game since Game 6 against Boston in 2008,. They either win big or lose big. “We just didn’t execute,” Woodson said, speaking of the fourth period, and winning in postseason at some point must be a function of execution.

The Hawks opened the fourth quarter with Joe Johnson, who missed 11 of 16 shots, missing from the key. It was a good look, but it didn’t fall. Then Jamal Crawford, who scored 23 points, missed twice on one possession. Then Marvin Williams was blocked at the rim by Carter, who hit a trey at the other end. By then the Hawks were headed home two games down and with no assurance they’ll need to come back here for Game 5.

“Make no mistake,” Woodson said. “We were better tonight.” And they were. And still they weren’t in it over the final six minutes. And that sobering truth doesn’t suggest they’re not tough enough or smart enough. It suggests they just aren’t good enough.

165 comments Add your comment

Andre

May 6th, 2010
11:15 pm

Do you ever listen to Woody in these press conferences? Does it seem like he ever makes sense. Feel free to respond, if your own words of course.

atlfan

May 6th, 2010
11:15 pm

Herschel Talker

May 6th, 2010
11:16 pm

I love Woody!

Frustrated fan

May 6th, 2010
11:17 pm

If the Hawks would take out two things then they would have been in the game: 1) the lousy, lazy possesions where Joe over-dribbles then takes a fall-away 18 footer with noone under the rim and 2) the possessions where Josh Smith decides post seasopn possesions aren’t as valuable as they truly are… only then will they be mature enough to win. Without home court energy, the Hawks (esp. Josh Smith) get whiny… and they will never win with that attitude.

Mark… can you get the stats of how they do with Iso-Joe and how many of those possessions start with under 8 on the shot clock?

Herschel Talker

May 6th, 2010
11:18 pm

twitter.com/FauxMikeWoodson

May 6th, 2010
11:20 pm

There really should be an investigation into the Magic medical reports for withholding the fact that Vince Carter still had a pulse.

JDK

May 6th, 2010
11:22 pm

Mark, tell me again why you predicted the Hawks in 7? While you’re at it, please tell me what Marvin actually does? It’s not completely rhetorical – he was the #2, I’d like to know.

riggo

May 6th, 2010
11:23 pm

What happen to JOE??? Our leader hasn’t reported for duty. there gaurds attack the basket our shoot jumpers. Marvin needs to man up & stop BEING SOFT.

irishmafia

May 6th, 2010
11:24 pm

“Woody” make no mistake you suck as a coach and your players are dumb and have no hearth

tree rollins

May 6th, 2010
11:25 pm

Very solid performance tonight for the Hawks against a good team on the road – fell just a little short but showed some fight. They aren’t going to win this series but nobody serious really expected them to anyway. Just put up a good fight and then we need to figure out what to do about J. Johnson and Woodson after the season. Sund is a good GM and will make the right moves as he has so far.

saystar1

May 6th, 2010
11:26 pm

No offensive sets, we have no offense. But I believe the real culprit is all the switching through quarters 1-3. The Hawks are frequently flying all over the court trying to get to the open shooter. It’s like they play 2 games in one as far as their legs are concerned. When the fourth quarter comes, tired legs, mental lapses, no adjustments. Defensively, they constantly play 4 on 5 making up for liabilities. This offensive scheme, game plan, lack of bench trust falls squarely on Mike Woodson. Joe Smith got no run tonight, Teague got no run. Now if he had played those guys more in the regular season allowing growth, these series, might have played out differently. For what Bibby has given, some please convince me Teague would have been worse if he was allowed to find his game on the court. The kid would have atleast been able to drive and kick and perhaps slow down Nelson. Again all things point to a lack of coaching. These guys are just plain tire in the fourth quarter. It’s been this way all season on the road.

Greg

May 6th, 2010
11:26 pm

JDK- Because he’s a homer, no other reason…

Fourth Quarter Fail

May 6th, 2010
11:27 pm

Another 4th Quarter debacle. I saw it coming. Did you?

The Hawks have no one on their team better than the 4th best player on the Magic. Lewis, Nelson, Howard and Carter are all better than their opponent at their respective positions.

It’s just a talent mismatch and the coach doesn’t make it better.

Matt

May 6th, 2010
11:28 pm

Recipe for improvement: (1) Fire Woody — he’s incapable of leading this young, immature team. (2) Allow the worst superstar ever JJ to leave and spend that money on big bodies to battle Howard. (3) Trade Josh Smith for someone who gives a rat’s @$$.
Unless the Hawks get rid of those three, they will continue to win 50 games and lose in the second round. Yes, it’s better than 15-40 win seasons we’ve recently had, but unless you’re in the running for a championship, who really cares?

Bill Walton

May 6th, 2010
11:29 pm

Woodson you LOST —-BY 14 pts.!!!!!! and you tell the world you played better as if losing by 14 points is GOOD?

tree rollins

May 6th, 2010
11:30 pm

I’m just happy these Hawks are able to get to the playoffs once again after the JR Rider years.

observor

May 6th, 2010
11:33 pm

As I said before the series, the Hawks have been owned by the Magic the last two years because they simply don’t match up at all against the Magic. They will be lucky to win one game. However, the dumba$$ homers here actually took offense to that objective analysis and tried to actually argue, in a completely fallacious manner, that the Hawks could actually win this series. I hope this a lesson for people that you should stop being emotional and delusional fools, and start using logic and reasoning when analyzing any situation.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: The Hawks were better in Game 2, but still not good enough http://bit.ly/as2JyC [...]

atlfan

May 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

joe johnson is a good player. He has no heart at all. He fails time and time again to take
A game over. He dribbles too much for no reason. He really irks me in the fourth quarter
He has been here five years and has made only 5 winning shots. He often misses that shot than he
Makes it. We will never win a championship with joe as our best player period. Let him go
This summer and sign chris bosh and let marvin play shooting guard and move horford to pf. Then
We will have a championship caliber team. However woodson must go. He has taken this team
As far as he can. To get blowed out by 43 falls on the coach. The scheme the motivation all was lousy.
Then to come out and play good for 36 min and then in the fourth quarter you go one on one 8 str8
Times and go 1for8 what coach allows this. You see jamal missing his shots and you don’t put bibby in for the entire 4th quarter. Mike woodson is a good coach for another up and coming team. But we need
Sumone else to get us over the hump. Chris bosh in atlanta makes us a tru beast bye bye iso joe. Imagine smoove horford bosh front line. I would put that front line against any in the nba. Add one more outside sharp shooter ala kapono to the bench and we will win a championship. If we keep
Average joe and woody or even one of the two we will go to playoffs every year but never win. That ish is as fustrating as not having a good team. Whooooosaaaaaa! I vented. Ty.

falconsfan

May 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

They did fight tonight but still “collapsed” when it mattered the most. Howard had 3 fouls at the half, and we come out in the 2nd half shooting jumpers instead of attacking the rim. Had he picked up another foul, we wouldn’t have seen Howard until the 4th quarter. Joe is just too quiet, Marvin is still Marvin, Josh Smith sometimes acts like he’s a point guard. Hopefully we can get them at home and try to at least make the series like the one we had in ‘08 against the Celtics. We still gotta be loud at Philips on Saturday.

pluckthehawks

May 6th, 2010
11:34 pm

I was there. The refs were Hawk fans. It was 5 against 8. But we prevailed. Please get me my broom.

oldmikey

May 6th, 2010
11:35 pm

give howard 12 fouls every time. hard to beat that. maybe home court will be the same

MitchC

May 6th, 2010
11:42 pm

Mark, the Magic didn’t win 59 games by accident. This team made the NBA Finals last season. What you said about the Hawks not finishing is true, but, teams that want to beat championship caliber teams like the Magic on the road, have to play at the top of their games for 48 minutes. The Hawks didnt do that.

After the displays in Games One and Two, it would be unrealistic to think that the Hawks are going to win this series. We could theorize that the Hawks will get their Mojo back at home, and win Games Three and Four to even up the series, but, even if they do that, the Magic still have Games Five and Seven in Orlando.

I will be surprised if the Hawks get swept. I think they will win one of the games in Atlanta, hopefully Game Three, but, after what I’ve seen and heard in these first two games, my prediction still stands, Magic win this series in Five.

Mark Bradley

May 6th, 2010
11:47 pm

The Magic are a fine club. Nobody can seriously argue that point.

Fourth Quarter Fail

May 6th, 2010
11:47 pm

Magic will win the next 2 games because they are just better. Unless Howard gets 4 fouls in the first quarter. That is the only way the Hawks win a game is if Howard fouls out or is in big time foul trouble.

Next Year

May 6th, 2010
11:49 pm

Same ol’ same ol’ in Atlanta. At least Hawk fans want a championship team while Braves fans just wanted division titles. Never understood that…. Hawks ownership is main issue and it’s not changing. These cheapskates wouldn’t know a good pickup if it bit them. Sheldon, Speedy, and countless overpaid underperformers and owners still can’t figure things out. Problem is they don’t have the money to make up for their inept decisions.

Peter

May 6th, 2010
11:49 pm

Come on now Mark, I suggested the Hawk’s were not big enough up front……Hubie Brown said, ” basically you have Horford who is in a Power Forward’s body trying to guard a center in Howard”.

Now that may not be verbatim, but it is close to what he said tonight…….The Hawks are not big enough or deep enough……..

Where was Teague, as Bibby looked awful yet again guarding their point.

Why draft a guy in the first round if he can’t play, or you don’t think you can use him ?

If he is good enough to draft in the first round, he should become part of your rotation.

Hawklover

May 6th, 2010
11:50 pm

Folks-Here are the simple but unpleasent facts-

1. The Orlando Magic are the best team in the NBA and will win the title.
2. We are undercoached.
3. We have had a promising season with young talent.
4. We are where Orlando was 3 years ago-they changed coaches and look what happened.
5. Time to money up with free agents. Some difference makers available this summer.

I am happy with this season but wish it would have ended better. We will feel a little better when Orlando raises the trophy. They are just plain good and peaking at the perfect time.

Check please

May 6th, 2010
11:54 pm

There must be a less depressing way to spend a few hours than watching the completely overmatched Hawks and Braves.

Joe Johnson

May 6th, 2010
11:56 pm

Hi bloggers…JJ here. I really dont care about any of you or the city of Atlanta. Even though I am a three time Allstar, I will never become elite, because most crucial games I hog the ball en route to a 2-17 shooting performance and then go out and get hammered and smash hoes in the clubs.. I just want to play good enough to get a really good payday, and fade away like my average career is doing…Never just that great, and I cant wait to get away from Woody…

JokeMan 4000

May 6th, 2010
11:57 pm

Marvin Doesnt Do Anything Cuz The Dont Past Him The Ball. He is just like Mo Evans “I Have To Make Plays For My Self When They Pass Me The Ball Because There Are No Set Plays For Me So I Get What I Can Get” And I Believe Thats What Marvin Does I Think He Would Be A Good Player If He Did Have Some Plays That Use His Talent But We Dont No What That Is Because He Doesnt Have Any Plays So He Gets What He Can Get And Sometimes It Dosent Look Good So We Say He Sucks. But I Will Say He Is Really The Only One That Will Drive Hard To The Rim When He Gets The Ball When The Other’s Are Quick To Shoot Jump Shoots. That Are Not Falling. But I Dont Think Any One Ever Notice That. He Does Have A Very Good Inside Game Which I Think They Should Make Plays For.

Bo Bo Monroe

May 6th, 2010
11:59 pm

Same old Hawks deal….

Have an exciting season then crash and burn in the playoffs. I actually agree that the Magic are playing the best bball in the NBA right now and if they knock us out I will support them. You can’t help but like Howard. They are a fun team to watch.

I think that hawklover did make a good point in that Orlando had a decent team with Brian Hill. Van Gundy takes over, the front office makes a couple of moves, and the team does a 180 degree turn. The Orlando offense was delivered by Van Gundy in terms of scheme.

We need to make a Coaching move. I know that Mark won’t touch that topic with a ten foot pole but we need strategic upgrades. That has to start with the Coaching staff.

cloudy

May 7th, 2010
12:00 am

Mark the Magic is just better than the Hawks. The Magic have Howard,whom the Hawks have no answer for , are getting better guard play , have a deeper bench and appear to be in better shape than the Hawks. Has Smith ever played a complete game? Has he always had this inability to get up and down the court? Pretty embarassing when you can’t get back on defense consistently.

Mike Woodson

May 7th, 2010
12:01 am

Hi guys, I know I know…I am the most pathetic excuse for a coach in the NBA. I have all the talent in the world, but I lose because I cant run a play more complicated than a 5th grade level. The only plays I know are isolation, one on one…do you guys know a 2nd play I could call?? I really need to win a game this series, so please help…You see that dumbfounded look on my face dont you??? Its because I have no idea what the heck I am doing out there. I dont know how to score against a zone for the life of me, Im reading my coaching book 101 for dummies right now, so maybe by sunday I will be able to crack it…How did I get this job where I am so over my head?? Oh well, maybe next game if joe dribbles in the lane and scores, and then jamal shoots some threes and scores, and josh dunks the ball and scores, we might win….that is my gameplan y’all…I know Im a genius right….keeping it simple, for us simple minded folks…ATL REPRESENT!!!

Peter

May 7th, 2010
12:02 am

Mark, did you were at the game so you probably didn’t hear Hubie Brown tonight……he basically said……”You have a guy in Horford who is in a power forward’s body trying to guard a center in Howard.”

This is my argument, they are not big enough on the front line.

Also where is Teague……Bibby look horrible trying to guard their point.

Why draft a guy in the first round if he is not good enough to get into your rotation, or you are not willing to put him in your rotation ?

Are they ” Hoping and Praying “……… he works out in a few years ?

Terrible drafting is what this is all about, we have lousy depth, and horrible backups to Horford……….also Deron Williams was named 2nd team All NBA…..there will never be anything of the like that will be mentioned about either Marvin Williams, or Sheldon Williams.

Both wasted first round picks, and then what if Teague never blossoms into a legit NBA starting Point ?

Hawkster

May 7th, 2010
12:04 am

Observations from the game in Orlando-

Yeah, I drove down. The first 3 quarters were fine but you had a sense they were toying with us. The place was loud, really loud. I was surprised at how tight and noisy the amway arena was. I can see why they are building a new one. You can’t hear anything.

Our guys played hard but we just didnt adjust. It was like they just down shifted at the begining of the 4th and that was that.

Their fans were pretty nice though. Nothing like what I have seen up in Gainsville.

Josh Smith

May 7th, 2010
12:04 am

WAHHH WAHH IM A BIG BABY!!! Naw just kidding y’all its your boy smoove, you didnt see me this game, because I was in the backcourt all game yelling and crying at refs and holding my head cuz somebody hit me on it, so im not going to play….that will show them….I’ll just cry and walk up and down the court….I WIN

Lastsanehawksfanleft

May 7th, 2010
12:05 am

I never expected the Hawks to win, but maybe this series will open the eyes of the ASG. You cant hand this much talent over to a discounted coach, you get what you pay for with Mike Woodson Salary. I’m sure a Scott Skiles, Avery Johnson, Phil Jackson, Larry Brown, Popavich, Byron Scott, Doug Collins, Any of these coaches could get more effort out of this team. IF, big IF’s, move horford to the 4, move Josh to the 3, Jettison Marvin, add a Defensive Center, and another 2 guard, they could actually see themselves in the finals next season. Jettison Joe too, He’s good, but not good enough to pay the type of money he think he will demand, he has shown that in the playoffs thus far

Dr. Warren

May 7th, 2010
12:06 am

Orlando is better. But Boston was better in ‘08 by at least the same margin, it would seem. They won the title, after all. The Hawks will give them trouble in Atlanta, maybe lots of trouble. We’ll see.

Monger

May 7th, 2010
12:06 am

Atlfan said it pefectly…get rid of Joe and Woodson, and we have improved by 10 wins and become competitive immediately….

JokeMan 4000

May 7th, 2010
12:08 am

But I Think Its Funny That Marvin At Time Pounds It In And Plays More Like A PF Then Josh Smith Who Plays Like A SF 65% Of The Time. Seems Like Josh Is Trying To Impress Howard And Show Him Up More Then Play BasketBall. If You Can Next Time Howard Has A Alley Oop Play Or A Pretty Good Dunk Look At Josh Smiths Face He Always Looks Like Damn He Got A Better Play Then Me. I Have Noticed That EveryTime They Play The Magic.*I Always Notice The Little Things* But I Beileve That effects Hoe Josh Plays His Game Sometimes Cuz Then He Will To Try To Do Something Fancy That Hurts Us More Then Helps And Gets Mad When It Doesnt Work And Stops Really Playing Hard For Awhile. If You Want To Impress Your Buddy Go Out And Send Him Home For The Season Instead Of Trying To Do Some Outstanding Highlight Just So You Will Look Better Then Him So He Wont Upstage You. Come On Josh.

“We Have Been Competting Since We Where Little We Always Try To Out Do Each Other Even When We Played On The Same Team And I Think It Is Always Going To Be Like That We Try Not To Let One Another Upstage The Other”
-Josh Smith

So Far Howards Winning 2-0

woodsonisaboob

May 7th, 2010
12:08 am

Hellooooooooooooooooooooo

We could take a self service approach for coaching and save some money. Either that or go down to the bowling alley and pick up someone with a cool shirt to take over.

PITIFUL

I think the magic are stupid for leaving the O-rena. That place is not that old and has served them well.

If we make a COUPLE OF OBVIOUS changes next year, we will be just fine.

PMC

May 7th, 2010
12:11 am

So they’ve graduated now from young to Flawed. Fits the city profile I guess.

Lastsanehawksfanleft

May 7th, 2010
12:11 am

They say the players are a reflection of the coach. When I see guys diving on the floor for scott skiles, but we cant even run back down the court to defend, that says something about the leadership. where are our back screens? motion offense? After game 4, I believe Kasim Reed should personally escort Woodson to the City limits and tell him to never re enter. The City should foreclose on his home and forward his mail and belongings to Philadelphia. Let them deal with him.

imisshubie

May 7th, 2010
12:13 am

Yawn….

The Magic will win by 15 on Saturday.

Monday, our Coach will come out wearing a wig (an Angie Davis style afro) and confuse the Magic…for the first half things will look better. Then the Magic will realize that Dr. J (aka Angie Davis) is not Coaching us.

Just like the Roadrunner and the Cayote…..the Magic will pass by us so quickly that our Coaching staff will still be calling for the four corner.

oldmikey

May 7th, 2010
12:14 am

can’t blame the lack of execution on Woody.

O'Brien

May 7th, 2010
12:15 am

Mark,

I’m surprised you or Jeff has not done a piece on how JJ has been struggling the last few games in the playoffs.

He talked about wanting to be in the elite conversation, but he has been a big disappointment the last 5 games. Which is when he is supposed to rise up…and help the Hawks elevate their game…

#Just a thought

May 7th, 2010
12:17 am

we got 2 games at home Orlando is a good team (home & ROAD) how can we defend our home court… show up for all four quarters… I think the pressure is now on ATL this loss is much worst than Tuesday’s cause we fought so hard until it’s like we had no more fight left in us.

I think this 4th quarter should teach us something about game 3 on sat to let us know that if we dominate like we did 1st 2nd 3rd quarter this game then we can carry that into 4th quarter I think the Hawks will then have energy cause their home crowd

I know we won’t win this series but at least take the Magic to 7 games so the fans won’t feel this season was a waste.

SN:::: WHY WAS JOSH SMITH WALKING UP AND DOWN THE COURT, WHATS UP FOR HIM. USUALLY HE RUNS AFTER SHOTS TO BLOCK THEM IS HE ON SOME OR WHAT!! AND GOOD GAME FROM JAMAL, AL AND JOSH STILL DID GOOD
!!
AND JOE JOHNSON COST US SOME POSSESSIONS AS WELL AS JOSH’S TURNOVERS…

JOE NEEDS TO STOP HOLDING THE BALL FOR THE WHOLE SHOT CLOCK WHY WOULD U DRIBBLE THE BALL TIL 4SECS THE HAND IT OFF TO JOSH ONLY FOR HIM TO PASS IT BACK TO U U SHOOT IT WITH 1 SEC LEFT DUH U GONE MISS LIKE JOE U GOT TO GO SO…

WE NEED A BIG MAN AND SUPERSTAR OUR TEAM WILL BE SET!! GOOD SEASON HAWKS BETTER LUCK FOR GAME 3 AND 4 AND HPEFULLY WE CAN FIGHT FOR 4 QUARTERS NOT 3

JokeMan 4000

May 7th, 2010
12:19 am

You Know SomeThing Hawks Fans There Is Really 2 Bright Sides To This Like I Said

1.This Looks Like The Same Scenerio When They Where In Bucks County How They Got Blown Out The First Game And Did Good The2nd But Still Lost But Ended Up Winning A Crucial One(Only Difference Is These Are The 1st Two Games Not The 3&4th)

2. It Took Woody 3 Games To Make Adjustments And Figure Out What Was Going Wrong In The 1st Round. This Time It Only Took 1Game And It Almost Worked. So Atleast He Caught On Faster And Im Looking Forward To See What Adjustments If Any He Makes For Game 3.

Lastsanehawksfanleft

May 7th, 2010
12:19 am

old mikey…Cant blame the lack of execution, but can blame the lack of discipline, lack of plays ran, lack of development (williams, morris, teague, law IV, etc), you can point out the lack of coaching adjustments (the things a lot of coaches do at the half). Point of note, if they cant execute, then they probably were not prepared for the game, thats covered in practice. And if they dont want to execute you sit them down, but as you see he allows Joe and Josh to throw as many on court tantrums as they wish