As you guys know, I have the Hawks winning in six games. Am I crazy for thinking that? Am I in a lone island? We’ll look at what some of the experts in the interweb have said and predicted. Maybe I’m not that deluded for picking the Hawks…
Here are some of the blogosphere’s predictions:
“I don’t think the Atlanta Hawks will be embarrassed again but I simply don’t think they’re good enough for Jason Collins and Kirk Hinrich to make a sufficient difference over the course of a seven-game series, especially if Orlando does not provide a stationary and constant tactical target.
I expect low-possession, low-efficiency, competitive games. However, I don’t expect the series to be quite so close.”
Jason Walker (Peachtree Hoops): Atlanta Hawks in 7.
“My serious summary is this: The Hawks have proven, on the court, that they match up very well with the Magic, even when the Hawks don’t bring their “A” game. If the team is able to defend Howard one-on-one and maintain the defensive blueprint for closing out their shooters, as they have consistently this season, then they can win 4 out of 7 games against this team and move on.
I believe they can and will do just that.”
“I can’t sit here with a straight face and pick a team that lost its last six games to win a playoff series. I just can’t. I also have difficulty picking a team that has not shown the ability to look adversity in the face and hit back. I think Atlanta is talented enough to win this series even with Dwight Howard on the floor for the Magic. However, I am not sure that they are mentally tough enough and believe in each other enough to pull it off. I think the story will be told in games 1 & 2. If Atlanta can somehow come up with a road victory then we may just have a series on our hands. If they come back to Atlanta down 0-2, have they shown the resolve to be able hold serve at home? I am just not terribly confident with that scenario.”
Cocoqt81 (Coco Vents): Orlando Magic in six.
“While Atlanta did win both of those series, they also had home court advantage which they do not have in this series versus the Magic. They have had a hard time winning series they were favored to win, so there’s absolutely no reason to believe they can win a series as an underdog. Time after time this season they got punched in the mouth and didn’t do a damn thing about it. There’s no evidence to suggest their mentality will magically change, and you know Orlando is going to come out swinging.”
Larry Stewart (Hawk Str8Talk): Orlando Magic sweeps the Hawks.
” I used to be under the impression that we could only possibly defeat the Sixers, Knicks, and Pacers in a playoff series and the Knicks and Sixers were iffy, but now – no 7 game series is safe. For those who got excited by the prospect of the Magic as the opponent, this sets up as a sweep if I’ve ever seen one.”
Mark Bradley (AJC): Atlanta Hawks win the series. Unknown how many games it will take.
“As luck would have it, the Hawks will play Orlando in Round 1, and this Magic team isn’t half as potent as it was. (Orlando dismissed the Hawks by an aggregate 101 points over four games in the 2010 playoffs; the Hawks won three times in four this season.) Jason Collins isn’t much of a player, but he doesn’t need to be. He just needs to pester Dwight Howard so the other four Hawks can keep guarding the other four Magic men.
This will likewise make no sense, but here it is: There’s not much about these Hawks I like, but I like their chances of beating Orlando.”
Andrew Melnick of Howard The Dunk: Orlando Magic in Six.
“If Dwight Howard can avoid frustration, Jameer Nelson can perform up to the high playoff standard he set for himself last season, avoid stupid mistakes and get decent production out of their perimeter players (Turkoglu, Richardson, Arenas and potentially Redick); the Magic should be able to handle the Hawks.”
ESPN Stat Geeks: The ESPN Stat Geeks consist the statistical minds of David Berri, John Hollinger, Stephen Ilardi, Benjamin Morris, Neil Paine, Matthew Stalhut, Haralabos Voulgaris, and Henry Abbott. Among the 8 experts, none of them picked the Hawks to win it. John Hollinger gave the Hawks more credit than anyone by saying Hawks push it to 7 games. 4 of the 8 picked the Magic to win it in 5 games. One(David Berri) picked the Magic to sweep the series. David Berri explains why he thinks it’s a sweep:
“Atlanta has gone 3-1 against the Magic this year. And the trade the Magic made last December really didn’t transform Orlando into a team that could contend with Chicago and Miami. That being said, the Magic’s differential for the entire season is 5.8. And Atlanta’s mark is [minus]-0.9. In other words, if it wasn’t for the Pacers, the Hawks would be the worst team in the NBA playoffs. These numbers suggest that the Magic will be able to defeat the Hawks.”
Fansided’s Saving The SkyHook Staff: There were 6 guys that were asked to take a poll: Blake Lovell, Steve Rivers, Steven Gelis, Marco Romo, Andrew Lynch, and Dan Jepperson. All of them but Steven Gelis (who picked Hawks in 7) picked the Orlando Magic as well. All of those who picked the Magic to win with the exception of Dan Jepperson, said it will go six or seven games. Dan Jepperson predicted a 5 game Orlando Magic series win. Dan Jepperson chimed in with his pick:
“’Im not sure what’s been going on with Atlanta, but they haven’t played with nearly the intensity that I’ve seen from them in recent years. Orlando may not be playing as well either, but the difference here is that one team has Dwight Howard and the other team doesn’t.”
The CBS NBA Staff: The CBS NBA Staff consists of experienced writers with the likes of: Ken Berger, Jamey Eisenberg, Sergio Gonzalez, Ben Golliver, Matt Moore, and Royce Young. All of them picked the Orlando to win. Only Royce Young thinks this series is going 7 games and only Matt Moore and Sergio Gonzalez said Hawks will last at least six games. Matt Moore provided the readers with his view of the series:
“This series will actually be pretty interesting. All the matchups point towards the Hawks being able to make a run and knock off the Magic. But we’ve seen this kind of situation with the Celtics versus the Heat last year. You have to trust the tested playoff team that’s won before. Factor in the chance that Nelson steps up and Howard’s ability to take over a game every now and then and the Magic are still the favorites, if for no other reason than their defense. Prediction: Magic in six.”
Sebastian Pruiti (NBA Playbook): Orlando Magic in six.
“The Jason Collins factor has been much talked about and I think that (in addition to Kirk Hinrich now being on the time) will keep Atlanta from getting swept. I think that Atlanta will win their two home games, but that is it.”
J.E. Skeets (The Score.com): Atlanta Hawks upset the Orando Magic. I have no idea how many games he thinks it will go to, but I’ll take his support. Not many have picked the Hawks.
HOOPSWORLD’S Writers Prediction: Jason Fleming, Bill Ingram, Joel Brigham, Tommy Beer, Alex Raskin, Alex Kennedy, Lang Greene, Yannis Koutroupis. It should come to no surprise by now, they all picked the Magic too. Alex Raskin and Tommy Beer both picked the Magic to sweep the season series.
So to recap, here is how it turned out…
Atlanta Hawks Win Series:
William Sevidal (6 games)
Jason Walker (7 games)
J.E. Skeets (????)
Mark Bradley (????)
Steven Gelis (7 games)
Orlando Magic Wins Series:
Larry Stewart (4 games)
Bret LaGree (5 games)
Kris Willis (6 games)
Co-Co (6 games)
Andrew Melnick (6 games)
Sebastian Pruiti (6 games)
HOOPSWORLD’s 8 Team Staff (4-6 games)
ESPN NBA 8 Team Staff (4-7 games)
5 Fansided Writers (5-7 games)
CBS NBA 6 Team Staff (5-7 games)
It’s clear who the underdog is in this series. Chances are Jason Walker, Skeets, Mark Bradley, and my blatant optimistic self are the ones wrong here. But wouldn’t it be just wonderful if we were the ones right? I think there’s a chance….