Tag Archives: NBA Playoffs

Time to Debunk Another Myth About why the Hawks Can’t Make a Playoff Run

For one, today started with E!PN again proving they don’t require their employees to do any homework before talking as on Outside the Lines today both “contributors” referenced how no team had ever made the NBA finals after having never won a playoff series before. That’s probably true, and that’s good and fine. I just don’t know what relevance it has to the Atlanta Hawks though.

But enough of the ESPN nonsense, let’s just get straight to the meat and potatoes of this topic that both the mainstream media and the ignorant basketball fan alike point to. I think it goes without saying, there’s a correlation between the two.

So, the Hawks aren’t a viable contender to win the eastern conference because they’ve never been to the eastern conference finals before (I’m going to disregard the silliness spoken earlier on E!PN today) and thus, aren’t ready to make that jump. Okay, I might be willing to buy that. Despite having the second longest active playoff streak in the NBA, there’s been a sense of lack of accomplishment in the playoffs, and it’s warranted. Seven straight playoff trips have netted three playoff series victories and a 24-36 playoff mark. No, that’s nothing to write home about, so I can understand some of the playoff skeptics.

Of course, I’m assuming that means all the other eastern conference contenders though in fact boast a healthy playoff resume that indicates they’re clearly right there, ready to make the next step, right? Let’s go in order and take a look.

The number two team in the east is the Toronto Raptors, and I don’t hear much about how they can’t advance in the playoffs due to their lack of success, so I presume we’re going to find plenty of it.

Looking…..

Still looking………….

This is the 20th year of Toronto Raptor basketball. In their entire existence they have won a grand total of ONE playoff series. ONE. And that was fourteen years ago. In the subsequent thirteen seasons since then, they’ve won a total of EIGHT playoff games. Yes, GAMES. Eight playoff games in thirteen season. The Hawks have won three times as many in roughly half the time since then.

Again, nineteen completed NBA seasons. One playoff series victory. I’ll just leave it at that with Toronto.

So moving down the list we get to Chicago. One of the two media darlings. I’m sure they’ve got to have bevy of playoff success to prove how battle tested and ready they are.

Wait, you mean to tell me that since Jordan nailed a jumper over Byron Russell, the Chicago Bulls in the 16 years since have managed to win a grand total of FOUR playoff series. They win one playoff series every four years. See, I thought the Hawks weren’t a legit contender because they’ve haven’t proven themselves in the playoffs. I’m sorry, what exactly have the Bulls done?

Want to look more recently? Okay, sure. Let’s go back to when Noah and Horford were each drafted. They’re the longest tenured players on these two teams, and both entered the league together. Surely since then the Bulls have accomplished far more in the playoffs than the Hawks have. Hmmmmm, this is also puzzling….. seems since then the Bulls have won those four aforementioned playoff series. That would be one more than the Hawks have won in the same time frame, for those of you counting at home. Yes, the Bulls have a trip to the Eastern Conference finals, but they’ve also had the same number of seasons where they failed to reach the eastern conference quarterfinals. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’m confused about where people are seeing this vast increase in playoff success from Chicago.

So, next one on the list is the Washington Wizards.

Oh, this one is fun.

Remember, the Hawks have made the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons. The Wizards have appeared in the playoffs six times……. Over the past twenty-six season. Yes, you read that correctly. Six playoff trips in 26 years. I’m guessing then certainly they must have recent success, perhaps some deep playoff runs that enables people to overlook their lack of playoff success and consider them a contender, right?

While the Hawks have been on their seven-year streak of making the playoffs, Washington has qualified for the postseason twice. And won one playoff series. So much for that.

In fact, over the past 35 years of NBA playoffs, the Washington Wizards have won three playoff series. You know, the same number Atlanta has won in the past six years.

Since 1988, Washington has won all of fourteen postseason basketball games. Clearly, far more successful postseason team than Atlanta.

So now we get to Cleveland, the team everyone thinks is the pick to win the conference, and on talent alone, they’re probably right. However, since people want to use the playoff argument so fast to dismiss the Hawks, we can’t pick and choose where to apply it.

So we’re talking about a team who has spent four consecutive years without even being IN the playoffs. Two of their three biggest stars on the team have NEVER been in the NBA playoffs, and one, hasn’t played a postseason game since he was in high school. And just to throw a little more gas on the fire, in the past six seasons, they’ve won as many playoff series as the Atlanta Hawks have. So, yeah, Cleveland is playoff tested alright.

And finally, due to their proximity to others listed as contenders in the standings, there’s an obligation to include the Bucks. Then you see that they haven’t won a single playoff series since 2001….

I take no issue with questioning the Hawks playoff credentials, and wondering if they have the mettle to take the next step in the post season. I have no qualms with that whatsoever. But it seems the Hawks are the only ones being questioned about that. Despite the fact that of the contenders in the eastern conference, no team has a playoff resume that reads much better than theirs, and a couple read significantly worse.

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It’s Not Wrong to be Happy Lebron James Lost

Lebron James is still not an NBA champion. And that my friends is quite possibly a very good thing. As he is right now, Lebron James is denying us the chance to watch the most talented athlete on the planet shine, and do what he does best.

Michael Jordan was humbled in high school, cut from his team, and forced to work hard to overcome the adversity and ascend to the peak of his passion.

Kobe Bryant started all of about eight games in his first two years in the NBA, riding the bench, observing as much as contributing. He had to prove himself and deserve his spot on the floor.

Lebron James has had absolutely everything handed to him. Realizing that perhaps an NBA title will not be simply handed to him, no matter how sexy and glamorous his team is, or which superstars he teams up with will motivate James to do what it takes to be a champion.

Whether that’s work on his post game, grow up and achieve some mental toughness, or learn to keep his mouth shut, or perhaps all of the above and then some, perhaps James can use this as motivation to improve in those areas.

Perhaps then James can quit robbing basketball fans of the treat of watching what should be absolute greatness. Instead of the greatest player in the world being great, we were treated to the games greatest player not even being one of the five best players in the entire series.

So yes, Lebron James did not win an NBA title, and ultimately, everyone might be the better for it.

If this experience humbles James like it has the potential to, the chastising and derision of James may all eventually work out in his favor, and his losing was still enjoyed by those eager to take their shots at a man who has done plenty to earn them.

Perhaps no sports star has ever been the subject of such scrutiny, and in some cases such scathing criticism as Lebron James has. Then again, perhaps no sports star has done more to deserve it.

Whether it’s on the court transgressions, bad PR decisions, mindless comments, or just coming off as an arrogant jerk, the reasons to dislike James spread far and wide.

No, he’s not getting himself arrested, he’s not committing felonies, but he is seemingly on a mission to be as disliked as possible.

When one man proclaims himself as “King”, and has a tattoo saying “Chosen1” across his broad shoulders, you expect those broad shoulders to carry a heavy burden. When they don’t, it comes across as shameless self promotion, an over-sized ego, and a ridiculously inflated sense of self.

All three describe James perfectly.

He couldn’t win a title in Cleveland because Mike Brown couldn’t coach and Danny Ferry couldn’t put the proper supporting cast around him.

Well in Miami, he didn’t have Mike Brown to blame, and his supporting cast consisted of two players on the US Olympic team. He still couldn’t win a title.

So who do you blame now Lebron? You want to go tell Pat Riley he didn’t give you a good enough supporting cast? Why don’t you treat Bosh and Wade like you did Moe Williams and Antwan Jamison, making it so very clear that you don’t wish to be playing along side such inferior talents, enabling them to prohibit you from winning a championship. It obviously isn’t your fault that you failed again to win a title.

We of course know it’s not James’ fault. We know this because according to James’ on court behavior, he’s never missed a shot or committed a turnover without being fouled, and he’s never committed a foul himself.

So this latest failure can’t be Lebron James’ fault. There must be many others to heap the blame on. We surely can’t attribute this loss to the fact that supposedly the world’s greatest basketball player, who is said to have the potential to be the greatest of all-time, was nowhere to be found in crucial fourth quarters of close games.

So where does the blame go?

But of course, the blame goes to God, at least per James’ own comments. It’s God’s fault, because He didn’t want him to win a title this year, that’s what it was. More on that in a minute, but clearly, another example of Lebron James finding another excuse for why he didn’t succeed.

It’s one thing to go struggle, to have shots not falling, to have a bad night. It’s another to hide in a corner, almost like the poor little league kid in right field praying the ball isn’t hit to him.

James would have you believe that he’s not there to be a scorer. The best player in the world should be putting the ball in the basket, period. James argues that he’s a two way player, which he is, and a phenomenal one at that, and that you can’t just look at stats, you have to look at the other things he does on the floor, and what the end result is.

Well, the end result is the Heat blew a 2-1 lead over the Mavericks, including multiple large fourth quarter leads. So sure, we can look at things beyond the box score, like, you know, the final score. The final score makes it quite clear Lebron James didn’t do enough to help his team win.

The plus/minus rating is nowhere close to the most reliable stat in the world, however, when it’s as extreme as -24 for supposedly the most gifted basektball player in the world, that’s worth noting. The Heat outscored the Mavericks by 14 points without James on the floor, but were outscored by 24 when he was out there.

So clearly James was doing a lot of other things that don’t show up in the box score contributing to his teams success and ultimate NBA championship, right? You know, like getting torched by Jason Terry, a guy who’s never been to an All-Star game .

Had he continued to shut down Terry as he had early on in the series his offensive woes, or unwillingness to shoot the basketball wouldn’t have been focused on quite as much.

However, Terry, at a huge size disadvantage, and very little advantage anywhere from a physical aspect, scorched the nets in the second half of game five, and the first half of game six. When Terry boastfully stated that he didn’t think James could guard him for seven games, it was thought Terry was speaking out of place, and such words would only further motivate James to play stifling defense.

It turns out the opposite took place. It lit a fire under Terry and seemingly squelched any remaining fire James had. As Deshawn Stevenson said after game four, it was if James simply “checked out”.

In light of his almost complete lack of scoring in the 4th quarter, and absolute lack of clutch scoring, James said “The ball doesn’t go in every time”. And he’s right. But he seems to ignore the fact that the ball will absolutely not go in if you aren’t willing to shoot it.

Then again, such mindless comments from Lebron James that seem to make absolutely no sense seem to be the norm.

Last year on twitter he proclaimed, “Don’t think for one (minute) that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!”

Of course during the course of the year we’ve been told over and over again by his coach, and the King himself that he doesn’t care what the fans or media members think.

Then during his press conference he wastes no time taking his shots at all those fans who were clearly elated to see him lose, and to get his shot at the media thrown in too. But he doesn’t care what they think, right?

He told us he thought the league should contract, then of course backpedaled away saying he didn’t even know what contraction meant. Do what?

He told us that anything less than a championship this year would be considered a failure, but in his press conference following game six in which that goal was made completely unattainable James said, “We have nothing to hang our heads low”. And he’s right, save that little part of his season being a complete failure, per his own words at the outset of the campaign.

Lebron said before game five that it was “now or never”. Now he’s saying he just knows “The Man upstairs” hadn’t decided it was his time yet. Well, if game was now or never, then I suppose the rational conclusion to draw, based on James’ own words, is that it’s never.

And for the record, I don’t believe God has pre-determined when Lebron James is going to win an NBA title, I think He might have more important things on the docket. On that note, Jason Terry, your faith in God, while honorable and what not, is not the reason your team hoisted up an NBA championship trophy this season.

The point being, there’s a common thread here. Lebron James contradicts himself as well as any public speaker outside of Washington D.C. ever has. Does he do it because he’s really that dumb, that ignorant and stupid? Or does he do it because he, which at times he claims he doesn’t, others makes it clear he does, cares what the public thinks of him and does his best to try and atone for things he’s said that may rub people the wrong way?

Personally, I’m going with the ignorance excuse. Lebron James has been coddled since he could hold a basketball, and as he got older, he got worse. Accountability was never an issue for him, never something he dealt with. Neither was adversity. The world was, in his eyes, completely his on a silver platter with the rest of the people in it merely his servants and supporting cast in his quest for world domination.

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t at all realize or understand the response his poorly chosen words receive. He’s out of touch with reality, so he obviously fails to see why many of the things he does rubs people the wrong way.

Insulting fans and media members alike in his press conference following the finals defeat and implying the lives of fans are inferior to his own was just James staying true to the course. He probably didn’t mean to come off quite like the arrogant jackass that he did, but because he’s ignorant to how the rest of the world thinks, and lives, he couldn’t understand how such statements can be taken that way.

His mocking of Dirk Nowitzki being sick, and subsequent attempt to argue that’s not what he was doing just further illustrates the point. James was arrogant enough, and just enough of a jerk to mock Dirk in the first place. But on top of that he was ignorant enough to think he could pull a fast one on anyone who saw the video, while still carrying on his little inside joke with his buddy Dwayne Wade and nobody would get it.

No Lebron, the rest of the world isn’t as dumb as you think, nor are they as inferior as you make them out to be.

If James is allowed, and he is, it is perfectly within his right, to make such comments about the fans that make it possible for him to live his obviously superior life, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people taking umbrage with that and having their own negative things to say about Baron, er… King James.

Sure, we’ll all wake up to our sorry lives tomorrow all the same, whether he had won an NBA championship or not.

The thing is, because he didn’t win that championship, James will be waking up to his same life as a perceived front running choker who still doesn’t have a championship ring.

Then again, maybe he won’t wake up to the same life in the morning. Maybe he will wake up one day this summer as a much more humbled man, a more determined man, and a man who has what it takes to be a champion.

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Gumby’s Gibberish

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and a lot has happened, so I figured I’d touch a little bit on a lot, and give my thoughts on several different topics.

The Atlanta Hawks need to blow this whole thing up. The pieces with which you keep and build around are simple to find. You keep Al Horford (your best and most consistent player), Joe Johnson (because there’s no way you can get rid of him) and Jeff Teague (the player with the most potential). Everyone else can be considered expendable, including Josh Smith. Smith, being the player who could bring the most in return, absolutely has to be put on the block.

The Atlanta Braves will be fine. The pitching is too good for this team not to contend. Well, unless Freddi Gonzalez continues to use his horses in the bullpen at a rate that is completely unsustainable for an entire season. We may play meaningful games in September, but our bullpen may be too tired for it to matter.

Not to take anything away from the Heat and the Mavericks, but seriously, have you seen two teams consistently choke in one series more than the Bulls and Thunder. It’s like they were simply giving games away. Then again, it’s not like the NBA wants this Miami team to fail, and it’s not like they want Oklahoma City as the market in the finals. Wait, we could never suggest something as ludicrous as the NBA possibly having a say in the outcome of games, could we?

I really wish people would quit clamoring for a rule change after the injury to Buster Posey. People get hurt in sports, it’s what happens. It’s their willingness to put their body on the lines to take those risks in an effort to win a game we watch for entertainment. It’s what makes it entertaining and exciting. Right or wrong, the risk of injury is a major drawing point in many sports, the risk of something bad happening, yet being able to avoid it. People get hurt having sex for pete’s sake, should we change the “rules” there. People get hurt playing Rock Band too, guess we should look into those “rules” as well. People get hurt in life, it’s what happens, and they especially do so in sports. Just because a big name player gets injured, so what, it happens, it’s a part of the game, a part of the game every player is well aware of when they choose to play and when they choose to put their body on the line on a given play.

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Magic Act, Hawks Disappear

Raise your hand if you are surprised at how Tuesday nights events in Orlando took place. If your hand is up, you must not follow the Hawks very closely.

While the majority of the Hawk faithful didn’t openly predict such a face plant, I feel pretty confident in saying that once it began to happen, very, very few Hawks fans were surprised.

The Hawks did what we’ve been almost waiting on them to do this entire series. They reverted back to their bi-polar regular season selves. They regressed back into the doldrums that had experts everywhere over looking this team, and had them labeled as one of the worst 5th seeds in recent memory.

Not guarding shooters, or putting a hand in their face? Check.

Giving listless effort? Check.

Not matching the opponents intensity? Check.

Taking bad shots? Check.

Playing individual basketball? Check.

Blow a golden opportunity? Check.

Everything the Hawks could do to look bad, and get blown out, they did. Instead of playing like the team who had won six of eight against the Magic, they looked much more like the Hawks team that lost seven of eight the previous year, including by that historically bad margin in the playoffs.

Suddenly the Hawks, not the Magic, face all the pressure. Atlanta has to look at game six in a similar fashion the Magic do. Win, or you’re done. Sure, the Hawks COULD lose the game and then go down to Florida on Saturday and still advance out of the first round.

However, to expect the Hawks to be able to pick themselves up off the deck after blowing a 3-1 series lead, and losing a series clinching game at home and win on the road in Orlando is just a bit far fetched. And by a bit, I mean as likely as Philadelphia recovering to beat Miami.

Orlando has to feel pretty good right now. If they come to Atlanta and get a victory, the momentum will be all theirs for the return home. Not to mention, the pressure will be all on the Hawks.

This is what happens when you go up 3-1 in a series, especially against a team you went 3-1 against in the regular season. The series is yours to lose. Orlando has been written off, they are supposed to already be gone fishing.

The Hawks however have been penciled into the second round against the Bulls. Of course, people know these Hawks, hence they were penciled in, not inked in that spot in the bracket.

If Atlanta goes on to blow this series, the collapse will rank as one of the biggest in the annals of Atlanta sports history. And while the collapse itself will be noteworthy and disheartening, it also won’t come with much surprise.

Perhaps that will make it hurt less should the Hawks proceed to play themselves out of the playoffs. Even up 3-1, expectations are tempered. People know this team.

Granted, following game four, we began to wonder if we really did know this team. Maybe they really could just flip a switch when the playoffs start. Maybe they’ve started to figure this playoff basketball thing out. Just maybe, the bi-polar team we saw look great one night, and absolutely dreadful the next, was strictly due to the fact that they were disinterested during the regular season, waiting for the playoffs to get here.

Well those thoughts were proven wrong, and that faith misplaced in game five. The Hawks went back to everything that made people doubt them.

The Hawks are a very stubborn team, and ultimately, a very soft team. Oh, sure, they’ve beat up on Dwight Howard in this series, but the Hawks are scared to attack the rim.

They are a team that relies on jump shots falling. When those jump shots don’t fall, they get in trouble. And instead of doing what a good team does, and adjusting to a poor shooting night, and attempting to find a way to get shots closer to the basket, and get the ball inside, they just keep jacking up more jumpers.

Instead of incorporating more ball movement and team play in an effort to get better shots off, it snowballs, the shots simply get worse and worse. The one-on-one isolation plays become more and more frequent. Possessions go by where one player holds the ball for 75% of the possession before chunking up an ill advised, contested shot that stands virtually no chance of going in.

The shocking part is that athletically speaking, and from a size stand point, the Hawks hold an advantage at every possession but center. So tell me why they can’t put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, going by their defenders in these one-on-one situations? Oh, they can, just don’t want to. Tell me why guys like Joe Johnson don’t post up defenders they have a large size advantage over? Or why Josh Smith doesn’t use his superior size, strength, and athleticism to run circles around Hedo Turkoglu in the post? Again, because they simply don’t want to.

And for the life of me, how is it that Joe Johnson, he of the $120 million contract, can only find a way to score 5 measly points? Absolutely pathetic, and the best news is how many more years of his disappearing act we get.

The Hawks struggled to make shots early Tuesday night, and once the game began to get away, it was quite clear very early on that they were already thinking to themselves, “it’s okay, we are up 3-1, we’ll just play them Thursday and try again”.

Well, if they fail Thursday, this collection of players may not get the chance to try it again. Failing Thursday puts them in the unenviable task of trying NOT to choke away a series, with the pressure heaped squarely on their shoulders. A first round exit, especially one of this nature, would almost certainly lead to a complete roster overhaul, where basically anyone not named Johnson or Horford could find themselves in a different uniform next year.

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What the Hawks Learned in Orlando

So the Hawks first round playoff series is about to shift north to Atlanta with the series tied at one. The old saying is that a playoff series doesn’t really begin until a team wins a game on someone else’s home floor. Well the Hawks did that in game one, so consider this series well underway.

However, just what did we learn during those first two games in Orlando that we can take with us the rest of the series.

1- The referees are going to have a HUGE impact on this series, more than in most, simply due to the nature in which Dwight Howard plays.

I don’t think Howard has ever set a legal screen in his life, but the officials seem extremely reluctant to call him on this (though they do not hesitate to call a foul on Josh Smith for attempting to fight through said illegal screens), permitting him to free up teammates through means less than legal.

Additionally, every post move Howard attempts really results in one of two things; he either commits or a turnover, or, by definition of the rule, travels. Again, the referees have been exceptionally reluctant to enforce this rule as well with Howard.

As far as his physical play, well it goes both ways on that end, though Howard, individually, gets away with far, far more than anyone in a Hawks uniform can even dream about. But it’s not as big an issue as the previous two.

What it will come down to though for the Magic on offense, is what the officials will let Howard get away with. As long as he’s free to travel about in the post, he’s going to put up monster point totals.

As long as he’s able to set a screen in any fashion he chooses, Magic shooters are going to be freed up, and eventually, they will probably start knocking a couple of those downs, at least one would think.

So, the key to this series is going to be treatment by the men in stripes of Mr. Howard.

2- The Atlanta Hawks are an exceptionally stubborn bunch. I think we all knew this coming in, but it became more and more obvious down the stretch.

I think there was a point in time we felt maybe just a few individual players exhibited such stubbornness, but as the game went along, it definitely seemed to be an ailment infecting the entire squad.

People have longed label the Hawks as soft, and offensively, they are. Where are the highest percentage shots taken? Near the basket. How do you get near the basket? You attack the rim.

The Atlanta Hawks are perfectly content with jump shots. That’s great, when they are falling. But when they aren’t, you saw what happens. There are prolonged scoring droughts that turn double digit leads into double digit deficits.

To compare to baseball, it’s like a hitter who has a pretty high batting average, but never walks. Sure, when the hits are falling, he looks like the best hitter in the league, and things are rolling. But when things quit falling, suddenly  he can’t buy his way on base as he has no other means of getting on base. The same goes for this Hawks offense. When jump shots quit falling, points quit going on the scoreboard.

If you continue to attack the rim, in general, one of two things will happen. You’ll get a decent percentage layup or shot around the basket, or you go to the free throw line.

Yes, the huge free throw disparity is somewhat due to the nature of the officiating, but there is something else at work here. Yes the Magic did indeed shoot 19 more free throws than the Hawks. However, the Hawks only had six more fouls called on them.

So what gives? Simple, the Hawks were committing shooting fouls on players attacking the basket, thus putting players on the stripe for free throws.

The Hawks simply did not do this. Joe Johnson, Kurt Hinrich, and Josh Smith combined to shoot two free throws all night long. Seriously? Two of those players hold large physical advantages over the players guarding them, yet they couldn’t get to the line?

No, because in this league, people don’t foul jump shooters.

3- The stubbornness of the Hawks though probably comes straight from the top.

I mentioned the Hawks failure to attack the rim, but there is one player on this roster who, when on the court, does. Granted, his percentage on running floaters isn’t very good, but at least he has the right idea.

Jeff Teague will attack another team, and go right after them. The problem is Jeff Teague doesn’t play. We’re told he’s “not ready”. We were also told Jordan Crawford isn’t ready either. But head coach Larry Drew is going to stick by his guns, this much we know.

Beyond not playing Teague, Drew’s obsession with not playing a player with two fouls is causing major problems.

Al Horford only played 26 minutes, meaning he missed 22 minutes of game time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player miss 22 minutes of floor time before due to “foul trouble” and yet finish the game with a grand total of TWO fouls.

With Horford off the floor and Hilton Armstrong and Josh Powell on it, Dwight Howard had no reason to stay down low in the lane, as there was no fear of any sort of offensive threat being positioned down there.

Instead, Howard could come show on the Hawks guards thinking about penetrating, and show a double team. The result was a lot of missed jump shots.

Powell, Armstrong and Jason Collins played a combined 34 minutes and attempted all of three shots and grabbed three rebounds.

I understand this talk of the defensive presence on Howard, but hasn’t he scored 79 points in three games?

So, they’ve allowed Howard 79 points, while contributing absolutely nothing on the offensive end of the floor, or on the glass. I’m sorry, that’s still a lot of wasted minutes. Especially when you consider the best, most consistent player you had committed fewer fouls than any of them, and yet himself only played 26 minutes.

Zaza Pachulia, if anyone, should be getting more of those bench minute than Powell and Armstrong take up. Pachulia finished with a +6 and added 8 rebounds, as well as at least offering somewhat of a threat of an attempt to score the basketball.

As long as Drew continues to stay this stubborn, we can expect similar things to happen, and the team is going to have to continue to follow its coach and continue to be a stubborn team incapable of making proper adjustments to adjust for weaknesses.

4- These aren’t last years Hawks. These guys didn’t quit, and they haven’t wilted. Down in the fourth quarter, they kept fighting, and put on a spirited run (remarkably spear headed by a more consistent attempt to attack the basket) that saw them within two points with a Hedo Turkoglu lay-up precariously located on the rim, staring at a chance of gaining possession with a chance to tie.

Of course, the shot dropped and the Magic pulled away, but that’s not the important aspect here. A Hawks team known for its eagerness to quit and throw in the towel showed great resiliency on the road.

5- This one is simple. What we learned in Orlando is that the Hawks can win this series, bottom line.

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