Oh, how the wheels have turned in a matter of few days. Last Tuesday morning, things were swell for the Hawks. Not only were they coming off a recent and surprising first round series win against the Orlando Magic, they also beat the Chicago Bulls the day before. It started to look like this is a different Atlanta Hawks team. A different better Hawks team. However, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday came and lo and behold, the team that people were once praising is now causing people (Hawks fans in particular) to panic.
Trade advices are back, “blow the roster up” suggestions are back, new coaching and management ideas are back, and thoughts of selling or moving this franchise to another city are back. You can say it never really left (it will never leave), but we’re back to what it was in the regular season, where it seems like every single comment about the team has a negative/pessimistic view. You can read countless comments in the Hawks blogosphere* that proves it.
The Hawks lost homecourt advantage Friday night and are now down 2-1 in the series. It doesn’t seem that bad right? Heck, the Hawks were in better shape than the Lakers coming into today. But somehow, it didn’t feel that way. It seemed like the Hawks are just as much hopeless as the Lakers are. One might have even said that the Lakers have a better chance coming back from a 0-3 deficit against the Mavs than the Hawks have a chance of coming back from a 2-1 deficit against the Bulls. That’s how bad it is.
Why is it?
In the past two losses, it’s clear that the Hawks won’t win this series unless they: rebound better, slow down Derrick Rose a little bit, take better shot selections, and get good contribution from one or two of the usual suspects (Horford, Smith, Johnson, & Crawford). That’s a lot to ask for from this Hawks team, so being concerned is understandable. No one can fault people who are feeling discouraged about the Hawks in this series or in general as a team.
However, I don’t believe people should be panicking already. I still somewhat believe this is a winnable series. If not winnable, at least a competitive series. The Hawks just have to take it one game at a time. Win Game 4, series is tied 2-2, that puts pressure on Chicago to win Game 5. If Hawks can somehow win Game 5, they have a chance on closing the series out at home in Game Six. Winning three games in a row seems impossible for this Hawks team I know, but we’ve all been shocked by this Hawks team at one point in time. Why not this time, right? Don’t be too quick to count the Hawks out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not guaranteeing the Hawks will do the unlikely and win this series, but this series isn’t already over. This could just be a minor roadblock for them.
Who knows, maybe the Hawks will go on a shooting tear like they did in Orlando? Maybe Josh Smith will finally realize the limits in his skills? Maybe Horford will finally contribute offensively? Maybe everyone finally boxes out?Point being, this team is hard to predict. People can say this is reality finally setting in and they may be right, but I’m not ready to say that (yet).