Wow how the air surrounding the Atlanta Hawks has changed. Gone is the confidence and anything remotely feeling good about this team. The lopsided home effort that was game three just hammers home the point that this team has peaked. As a fan that has watched this team grow through the years it is sad but it is undeniably the truth.
The Hawks had two choices coming into game three. One they could dig deep, feed off of the home crowd and at least for a little while make this a series, or two they could continue their sparse focus, lack of energy, and zero attention to offensive detail. The Hawks clearly chose the latter and paid the price for it as they were booed by the home crowd almost from the outset.
I feel this observation by Michael Cunningham more than sums this game up offensively:
– After Smoove shot a jump shot, Woody barked at him to pass the ball. Smoove shot Woody a look as if to say, “Whatever.” That kind of sums up the way the Hawks played. They weren’t really competing but, oh well.
Now I am not going to turn this into a Josh Smith beat down as I already did that during the game via Twitter. However, it says a lot to me for a player like Smith to adapt his game the way he did during the regular season only to simply revert back in the playoffs. No Smith hasn’t shot threes at the rate he did in previous seasons but the fact that he is attempting any tells me that this guy simply doesn’t get it. Coming out of half time and jacking up about five shots in a row almost looked like he was trying to prove a point to someone. The point he made to me clearly in these playoffs is that this team can’t go to the next level with a player like Josh Smith.
So even with a game left to play it is sad that this team is over and done with after game three. It appears that all chemistry is gone and all leadership from the coaching staff has disappeared as well. Need a stat to back that up? How about 9 assists as a team for the entire game. Al Horford led the team with three, if you are wondering Josh Smith had zero. There is no communication, no effort, no nothing.
As the old saying goes “Things are never as good or as bad as they seem” rings true, but right now it is hard to see much of anything that is good. This doesn’t look like the team that won 53 games during the regular season. The playoffs are a whole different scenario and the Hawks are getting taken apart. The winds of change are about to blow for the Hawks there is no mistaking that, but lets not forget to credit the Magic. They have taken their game to another level and even were the Hawks playing at the top of their game they would still have their hands full. The Magic look like a team that is poised to win a championship. The Hawks look like a team that is just ready for the off season.