The Atlanta Hawks have a fickle fan base, we all know that. They also have a history of letting their fans down, not with just early playoff exits, but a perceived lack of effort and want to.
So with that said, and noted, the Hawks need to win this game. Period.
The last thing the Hawks do is give Orlando hope. Putting the Magic in a situation where they simply need to win two games in a row over the Hawks is a situation Orlando can feel confident in.
These up and down Hawks however would have an extreme lack of confidence in such a situation.
Not only that, coming home, the fans would likely have a sense of “uh-oh, been here done that, seen this” take over, and Philips Arena would not provide a safe haven for the Hawks to return to with the series on the line.
A lack of energy from the crowd in a potential series clinching home game could resonate with the players, and the results could be devastating for the Hawks.
A game 7 in Orlando is precisely what they don’t want, but playing before a less than enthusiastic crowd in game 6 could very well lead to that.
Thus, the Hawks need to win tonight, finish this thing right now. Don’t give the home folks anything to worry about.
Imagine a win tonight, and splitting the first two in Chicago. I doubt that that point Philips would be full of M-V-P chants for Derrick Rose. In fact, under that scenario, the place would probably be rocking, ala the Celtics series a few years ago.
But to get that, the Hawks must win tonight.