The backdrop of game two is how will the Hawks respond from that 43 point beat down that they received from the Magic in game one. I am sure the players have grown tired of being asked what their mindset is after such a thorough beating. However, those are in fact viable questions to be asked. They can answer those questions by defeating the Magic tonight in game two. I am not about moral victories but simply competing with the Magic tonight could give the team a much needed shot in the arm when the series heads back to Phillips Arena.
So how can the Hawks do it? Well first they have to look themselves in the mirror and to steal a line from ESPN’s Mark Jackson “Man Up!”. No time for more excuses. They have to play playoff basketball. To beat a better team like the Magic the Hawks will have to eliminate the silly turnovers from game one. They will have to be solid defensively for a full four quarters. It really goes beyond X’s and O’s. The Hawks have to be able to take a punch and come back from it. Time after time at Amway arena, the Magic have landed a big punch only to see the Hawks go run and hide. That is how you lose by thirty plus points on more than one occasion. Make no mistake that the punch is coming. The Magic are too good a team particularly in their home building. The Hawks have to be able to take the Magic’s best shot and deliver right back. They can’t just quit the way they did in game one and many games before that.
No professional team should be beaten the way the Hawks were in game one and the blame falls on each and everyone of the players and coaches. Former Hawk Dikembe Mutombo would have landed an elbow on a team that was beating his team that bad, Mookie Blaylock would have walked off of the court if his teammates had given that kind of effort. The championship Pistons and Celtics teams of the 80’s would have decked someone. Yet the Hawks did nothing. Do you think that Pat Riley would have sat in his chair the way Mike Woodson did? Gregg Popovich? Stan Van Gundy? No they all would have been in the locker room ejected because they would simply not be a part of this kind of effort.
Now I am not saying that the Hawks need to deck someone or Mike Woodson needs to get ejected but I am looking for some signs of life here. You don’t get shown up. It is as simple as that. I want to see if anyone on this Hawks team cares enough to take a stand. I am sure I can spark a debate but Cleveland Coach Mike Brown was very critical of his team in the press conference following their game two loss to the Boston Celtics. Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose team just got beat by 43 points comes out and says “well our shots didn’t go in”. Now you tell me which of the two coaches doesn’t have a contract for next year in place. Which one would you want coaching your team?
The amazing thing is it would not surprise me for the Hawks to come out and make a good showing in game two, maybe even pulling the upset. Also amazing is we could see another blow out loss as well. There is no team still in the playoffs that is capable of looking as bad one night and as good the next night as these Atlanta Hawks. I took some positives from that first quarter of play the other night because I saw everything that the Hawks have to do to compete in this series. They have to be able to sustain that for four quarters to have a chance to win.
I will be watching tonight and looking for signs of life.
Atlanta Hawks (0-1) Orlando Magic (1-0) Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2.
Venue: Amway Arena
Time: 8:00pm ET
05/05/2010 Magic 114 Hawks 71 – Recap – Magic lead 1-0
Hawks – Probable Starters
PG – Mike Bibby
SG – Joe Johnson
SF – Marvin Williams
PF – Josh Smith
C – Al Horford
Magic – Probable Starters
PG – Jameer Nelson
SG – Vince Carter
SF – Matt Barnes
PF – Reshard Lewis
C – Dwight Howard
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Magic Blog Roll