I would put up stats to show how bad the Atlanta Hawks have played. I could describe how Mike Bibby has faded into oblivion or how the bench is trapped in some black hole or vortex, I could tell you that Joe Johnson is potentially playing himself out of millions this offseason with his terrible play… but let’s be real; you can see that in the scores of the series:
114-71, 112-98, 105-75 all Orlando all the time. Sometimes simple numbers explain the story more so than in depth analysis and for this series you can tell just from the box scores how pitiful the Hawks are playing. The bench scoring besides Jamal Crawford? 6 points. The starting backcourt? 6-22, 15 points, 4 assists. Outrebounded 51-34, 35% from the field, 27% from three, IN OTHER WORDS THE ATLANTA HAWKS HAVE NO BUSINESS PLAYING ON THE SAME FLOOR WITH THE FLORIDA GATORS LET ALONE THE ORLANDO MAGIC!!! THIS ISNT A SERIES, IT’S A SLAUGHTERFEST!!
“A tough, ugly loss,” Hawks guard Joe Johnson said. “Embarrassing.” Which loss? The 40 point beat down, the fourth quarter fade away or this horrific performance?
“It’s just not there,” Al Horford said. “The guys know what we have to do. It’s just frustrating when the effort isn’t there.” That might be the biggest understatement of the year. The Hawks left it all in the Milwaukee series where honestly the Bucks would’ve been a better opponent for the Magic. How does a team that wins 53 games in the regular season, 34 at home, and had a realistic shot at the Southeastern title look like a JV team compared to the magic.
It has to start with Mike Woodson. If Johnson is playing himself out of money then Woodson is coaching himself out of a job. This is the second consecutive postseason that Woodson’s Hawks were taken to the brink in a first round series against an inferior opponent and were blasted in the second round by a far superior opponent. If you want to consider yourself a player in the league and a contender every year, performances like these are more than unacceptable, they’re irreprehensible.
“I thought in Game 2 we really came out ready to play and competed, and lost it at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “But tonight was just unacceptable, and I have to take responsibility for that as coach. I’m not happy with our play, it wasn’t called for, and I don’t think anybody saw it coming.” We should have. The Hawks have always been inconsistent and lackadaisical on the floor, but most time their talent gets them out of trouble. Um, not this time. The Hawks have dug themselves such a hole they might as well face plant themselves in the dirt and take a five month nap.
As for the above mentioned Joe Johnson? “It’s basically on me. I just tanked on being aggressive and was just taking the shot when it was there,” Johnson said. “Them getting off to great starts and sustaining it for 48 minutes, somehow, someway we’ve got to come out with a burst and try to sustain that the whole game.” It has to start with Johnson. Not to compare anyone to Lebron James, but Johnson should’ve taken a look at James game three performance as a blueprint on how to rebound your team from back to back lackluster games in the series.
James came out like a house of fire looking for his shot and facilitating the action for his teammates. The Celtics didn’t have a chance with a fully motivated James at the helm. Johnson was the exact opposite. He shied away from contact and settled for shots as he stated. For a guy that is supposed to be a max level player come free agency time, he has certainly played like a second banana, a poor man’s Lamar Odom if you will.
You can blame Johnson, Woodson, the backcourt, and lack of rebounding or whatever. Blame it all on everyone involved. The Hawks are about to get bounced from the playoffs again, in embarrassing fashion again. If you want any more proof of how bad things are for the Hawks are right now, look no further than this analysis from Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Watching the Magic run their offense and then watching the Hawks try to do the same is like seeing two teams who play in different leagues.” You see. You don’t need stats to tell you how bad they are, heck two lines might have been too long as well.