After having 24 hours away from the debacle that was the fourth quarter of game five, my head is clearer. It still may not have a clue about what is going to happen or should happen in game six but I can at least come up with some thoughts that aren’t fueled with emotion. Yesterday I put up a mock draft post and was immediately called out on twitter by @DrtySouthSports asking if I was looking ahead already and if the season was over. Just for the record the mock draft post had been planned for a couple of days so it was just coincidence that it followed the game five loss, but what he said did get me thinking. The series with Milwaukee wasn’t over but it sure did feel like it was.
I admit it that it is hard to garner anything from Games 3-5 and think positively that the Hawks can pull the victory on the road in game six. However, that is what this team is faced with now. Daunting task or not, if they want to keep the season alive then they must come away with a victory. There has been much written about adjustments, effort and offensive schemes but after the meltdown late in game five you have to question their togetherness. Is this a team that still likes playing together? Do they believe in each other? Ultimately they are the only ones that can answer that and lately their play suggests that the answer to those questions is a resounding no. Yet tonight in game six they get the opportunity in a hostile environment to once again answer the question.
“I think everyone is staying confident, everyone is still believing in each other and trusting each other,” Smith said before Game 5 at Philips Arena on Wednesday. “[The frustration] is just part of a series.”
So now it is up to this team to either dig deep or roll over. Either send this series back to Atlanta for a game seven or throw a 53 win season down the tubes. There are ramifications for either outcome. If the Hawks are to win tonight they are going to have to play together as a team and not a splintered group. The Hawks have to become the desperate team. They will have to win the rebounding battle and hopefully get in transition for some much needed easy baskets against what has become a ferocious Bucks defense. More than anything they have to just play. They can’t be tight the way they were for most of Game five. The coaches and the players backs are against the wall now. It is time to let all hang out and just play.