Me, I think the Hawks have a real chance to steal Game 6

Philips Arena might not have seen its last NBA game of the season. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Philips Arena might not have seen its last NBA game of the season. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Not wanting to be a jinx or anything, I’ll refrain from making an actual prediction. But I do think the Hawks have a real chance in Game 6, and here’s why:

1. Al Horford changes the dynamics at both ends. You’ll notice that Boston, which prides itself on playing D, couldn’t stop Horford in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter of Game 5. He scored the go-ahead-for-good hoop off a pick-and-roll with Jeff Teague — surely a called play out of a timeout — and made a tough hook over Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass to put the Hawks up four. And you had to notice that Horford’s slipping of Garnett’s screen forced Rajon Rondo to dribble into the corner on the final sequence, whereupon he lost the ball. Would all the folks who picked the Celtics to win this series have made the same choice if they’d known Horfy would be back?

2. A personal rule: A team only gets so many opportunities to win a series. The Celtics squandered a prime one in Game 5. The Hawks were at sea early, and if Paul Pierce had hit a 3-pointer to make it a 13-point game the home team might have wilted. But Pierce missed and Joe Johnson found Kirk Hinrich running long for a layup, and what could have been a 13-point spread was instead eight. The Celtics also had two chances to nose ahead in the final 20 seconds but Pierce tried a tough shot — Johnson defended expertly — that didn’t touch iron and Rondo couldn’t find anything in the 10 seconds after he stole Josh Smith’s inbound pass. (It helped that Smith was alert enough to impede Rondo in backcourt; it also helped that Doc Rivers had no timeouts.) Two chances, neither resulting in the ball getting as far as the rim: It could be that the Celtics will close this out tonight and forget all about Game 5, but what if they don’t?

3. The Hawks, as noted, are pretty good when you expect them not to be. They looked a beaten team after Game 4, and for much of Game 5 they acted as if they weren’t sure if they could pull this off. But winning in the way they won — holding off the more seasoned team at the end — had to swell their self-esteem. They’re still alive, and if they can steal Game 6 they’ll have Game 7 here. They’re a six-point underdog tonight, but to me they’re a mighty live ‘dog. Then again, I’ve been known to be wrong about the Hawks — oh, only about a hundred times this century.

By Mark Bradley

126 comments Add your comment

FRANKLIN T

May 10th, 2012
10:55 am

Mitchell

May 10th, 2012
10:56 am

[...] Hawks are in Boston tonight for Game 6Cedartown StandardESPN (blog) -NBCSports.com -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 486 news [...]

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2012
10:58 am

Franklin T, as in taking kudos.

FRANKLIN T

May 10th, 2012
10:59 am

LET’S GO HAWKS! FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, WIN A BIG GAME.

Rickster

May 10th, 2012
11:01 am

Stick a fork in the Hawk’s – they’re done.

Rickster

May 10th, 2012
11:02 am

Or.. the Hawks even.

anynomous

May 10th, 2012
11:04 am

Bradley kiss of death?

chris

May 10th, 2012
11:05 am

Mark you kill me…….I give you credit for trying to see the glass as half full and not half empty but this is the same team that had the celtics at home in game 2 with their 2 best players on the bench and could not get it done. Now you think they will win 3 in a row……LOL

Chris Crawford

May 10th, 2012
11:06 am

Like Kevin Garnett, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLE!

Mr. Phil

May 10th, 2012
11:07 am

Mark,

Shouldn’t we all just be done with trying to predict this team. Far as I see it they are just as likely to lose tonight as they are to win the next three championships. Hate to sound frustrated but my team plays in the Twilight Zone not the Highlight Factory.

Lloyd Christmas

May 10th, 2012
11:08 am

The Hawks have the same chance I did with Mary Swanson

PMC

May 10th, 2012
11:11 am

FTW Go Hawks!

Priest Lauderdale

May 10th, 2012
11:11 am

What have the Hawks done in the last 5 years, or even this season that makes you think they can go on the road and win a game in Boston?

A mentally weak team with their only “leader” playing his third game in 5 days after not playing for 4 months. As much as i would love them to win… it’s not going to happen.

The rut

May 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Sure glad I quit wagering on games a few years ago. The kiss of death for Boston, I would take them minus six and bet my house.

DePort

May 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Lets play the game… I hate when people say its over before its over!

MS Bully

May 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Enter your comments here

Adams

May 10th, 2012
11:12 am

Not only does Horford change each end of the play for the Hawks but he makes everyone on the team a better player. You just can’t double up on Smith, Johnson or Teague when Horford is in the game. The Celtics will have their hands full tonight. Not saying the Hawks will win tonight but they have a chance.

doc

May 10th, 2012
11:13 am

predicatably unpredictable

MS Bully

May 10th, 2012
11:14 am

I’ll give you 17 reasons why the Hawks season will end tonight. The “Truth” will set you free. Go Celtics!!

MATT W

May 10th, 2012
11:15 am

GOOOO GATORS WAIT I THINK IM ON THE WRONG BLOG, I JUST LOVE READING BARK MADLEY…I MEAN MARK BRADLEYS BLOGS…HE IS MY HERO!!!!!!!!

PMC

May 10th, 2012
11:16 am

All depends on thier energy really and how much and how effectively they move the ball around.

If it’s flat footed and ISO it’s going to be a long night. If they are agressive, we’ve got a good chance.

If you can predict how they are going to play, you should be a wealthy human.

MATT W

May 10th, 2012
11:16 am

MARK BRADL3Y YOU ARE MY HERO!!!

ShawDiddi

May 10th, 2012
11:16 am

U GOTTA BELIEVE!!!!!!! Agree 100% with the article

Woffman

May 10th, 2012
11:16 am

These Hawks haven’t won a playoff game in Boston that I can remember. They have a very fragile team psyche. Boston believes they can win, the Hawks hope they can… big difference.

MATT W

May 10th, 2012
11:16 am

WAIT OR IS IT BARK MADL3Y, JUST KIDDING MARK HEHE

JOE JOHNSON

May 10th, 2012
11:18 am

I was really upset with the effort AL Horford gave Tuesday night. I was looking forward to my summer vacation.

JOE JOHNSON

May 10th, 2012
11:20 am

I am going to have a big game tonight!

ZaZa

May 10th, 2012
11:21 am

I will not be suiting up for tonights game.

realitycheck

May 10th, 2012
11:23 am

No way this veteran and playoff tested Celtics squad will blow this game. Hawks are finished and the excuses will be flying on the Bradley/Schultz blogs later tonight. The Celtics will be the hated villan for a day or two before the AJC redirects its venom back to both Nick Saban and the New Orleans Saints. Just another day in losersville USA! LOL!

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2012
11:27 am

Won Game 5 on the parquet of the old Garden in 1988. Then lost Game 6 here and 7 there.

FRANKLIN T

May 10th, 2012
11:27 am

You gotta believe the Hawks will WIN!

hawksonlifesupport

May 10th, 2012
11:29 am

ah yes, the Bradley kiss of death….. Why could you not post an article of no hope, then they might’ve had a puncher’s chance……….

PMC

May 10th, 2012
11:29 am

It’s not about wishing or hoping. IF the Hawks come out and play agressively with lots of energy and move the ball around well they have a good chance to win.

If they are flat footed and try lots of ISO, it won’t be close.

The crowd doesn’t play.

FRANKLIN T

May 10th, 2012
11:29 am

WHAT ABOUT ANDY?

MATT W

May 10th, 2012
11:31 am

I KNOW ANDY VERY WELL…WAIT WHO IS THIS ANDY YOU SPEAK OF???

realitycheck

May 10th, 2012
11:32 am

Homer Bradley is still trying to fool the locals…….it’s his job. No way the playoff tested Celtics blow this……and we all know it. We will all see/hear the same old excuses later tonight and the Celtics will be the hated villian for a day or two before the AJC redirects the venom back to either Nick Saban or the New Orleans Saints.

MATT W

May 10th, 2012
11:33 am

I think the hawks will take it, I am a lifelong fan and you gotta believe they will do it…if not I will turn my full attention to the Braves!!!!!!!!

DePort

May 10th, 2012
11:33 am

You all forget that the Hawks gave away game 2 and 3 … and the series has changed now that our whole team is back… Lets just see what happens tonight!

MS Bully

May 10th, 2012
11:33 am

17 reasons the Hawks will lose. Look at the rafters in Boston!!

ARNOLD C

May 10th, 2012
11:35 am

It’s time for the Hawks to step up!

nate from detroit

May 10th, 2012
11:35 am

Mark, what have you been smoking? The Hawks will go to Boston and get you know what slapped back to ATL. The sad thing is that they will probably get blown out and Johnson and Smith will play and look like they could care less. I hope I’m wrong but I do not see them keeping this one within 15-20 pts.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

ARNOLD C

May 10th, 2012
11:39 am

I hope the Hawks will shut the national media up! If they don’t it will be time for you to call them out!

NCBravesFan

May 10th, 2012
11:41 am

I got really worried when I saw the headline and clicked the link fearing the Bradley kiss of death for the Hawks. Hopefully this strategy you’re using will be a winning one. :)

LetsGoHawks

May 10th, 2012
11:42 am

The weakest link in Boston’s stout defense is Bass.. LD!!!!! If you put Bass in Pick & Roll, Downscreens (w/ whoever he’s guarding), & backscreens situations, he will single handedly break down Boston’s defense.. I will be watching to see if any of these happen early, if so, back to ATL for Game 7!!! Go Hawks!!

Mtn Hawk

May 10th, 2012
11:46 am

Hawks winning tonight?? LOL

Spence

May 10th, 2012
11:47 am

Remember when you picked the Hawks over Orlando and then they got swept in the most embarrassing playoff series ever? Based on your article, I just took out a second mortgage on my house, sold my car, cashed in my life insurance, and am now betting against the Hawks tonight.

ATL

May 10th, 2012
11:47 am

I love reading the confidence of Atlanta sports fans… It’s sad that Atlanta sports has given us no reason to be confident.

CelticsCraig

May 10th, 2012
11:48 am

The Hawks have never come through when people start getting optimistic about their chance. The Celtics are angry and hungry….a bad combination for the Hawks. Celts 97 Hawks 78