Tied at 2, the Hawks are giving us cause to wonder

“What sort of thing is happening here?” (Kathy Willens/AP photo)

The first three games you could explain away, sort of, by saying the Atlanta Hawks weren’t hitting. Through those three games, they’d made 39 percent of their shots, which is terrible for any playoff team but ridiculous for a No. 1 seed that made 46.6 percent over the 82-game regular season. But there could be no explaining Game 4.

The Hawks made 48.4 percent of their shots — outshooting Brooklyn for the first time in the series — and lost anyway. They outrebounded the Nets for the first time in the series and lost anyway. They led by 12 points in the second half and lost anyway. We can no longer say they’re struggling because the ball’s not falling. They’re struggling because — as was suggested in this space after Game 2 — they’re not playing well.

"What sort of thing is happening here?" (Kathy Willens/AP photo)

“What sort of thing is happening here?” (Kathy Willens/AP photo)

And that’s a way bigger issue. Even good shooters will have bad nights. What’s troubling is that the Hawks have played four games and haven’t yet gotten a handle on how to stop a 38-win team. Some of that, I concede, has to do with the Nets being an exceedingly weird bunch, but the Hawks went 4-0 against them in the regular season. What’s so different about now?

Over the course of these four games, the Nets have found ways to score against a team that ranked No. 7 among NBA clubs in defensive efficiency. It’s not the same Net every night — Deron Williams’ per-game point total has gone 13, 2, 3 and 35: Jarrett Jack’s has gone 13, 23, 5 and 4 — but the Hawks haven’t yet held them under 90. That’s troubling. Even more troubling is that the Nets, who were 24th in defensive efficiency, are guarding the Hawks better than they’re being guarded.

It would be wrong to say the No. 1 seed has let the series slip away. The Nets have to win a game in Philips Arena to win the series, and I still don’t see that happening. (Came close to happening in Game 2, though.) As we saw when the No. 8 Hawks pushed the No. 1 Pacers to the limit last year, the longer a series goes, the longer the better team — that’s still the Hawks — has to figure things out.

I remain confident the Hawks will do that. I think they’ll win the next two games and move on to play Washington in Round 2. But I also thought they’d sweep this series, and they’re tied at 2.

Reader Comments 0

56 comments
cspecial
cspecial

jeff teague,kent bazemore,kyle korver, al horford,mike scott and demarre carroll will see who can be the most stupidiest hawks tonight

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

The Hawks were giving us a lot of "cause to wonder" before the season ended. However, none of the AJC staff said much about that, for the most part dismissing poor, lackluster play by labeling contests as "meaningless games." I assume you guys did not want to contribute to knocking any fans off of the newly loaded Hawks bandwagon.

A competitor plays like he practices, and plays like he plays. The whole idea that a player or team can  play halfheartedly for an extended number of games and then merely flip a switch to turn it back on is totally bogus.

If the Hawks win this series, and I do mean "if," then maybe they can ramp it up a notch for Round 2. But time is running out, and we do, after all, reside in Losersville.

itsslomotionbaby
itsslomotionbaby

this is also one place I wish we had larry drew with drawing up plays after time outs b/c buds scripts are atrocious and goofy at the end of games.

itsslomotionbaby
itsslomotionbaby

well wel well, could it be don't look now but josh smith is getting some run. somebody over there has been whispering in his ear and he is listening.they have got him settling in to a bench role and he is contributing instead of being a detriment.

itsslomotionbaby
itsslomotionbaby

I still say we lost this thing at the trading deadline.we got arrogant and said,"we don't need anybody/c we got the best record in the league".bottom line we have needed size for the last 12 yrs. but management refusesto cure the system.for some damb reason we want play muscala which is 6-11.what the hell are we keeping Elton brand for,sentamental value?then we go get some austan daye cat. and he doesn't even see the court, whatis he practice fodder?those are 2 spots right there they couldreplace with interchagable atheletic bigs. with the better teams in the playoffsthat have legit big man horford looks overmatched everytime especially when his jumper is not falling.but really whos fault is that. 

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

I suppose everyone has always known that the Hawks are not as good as its record.  However, there is no excuse for losing to the horrible Brooklyn Nets.  The Nets are worse than its record also!  This is a choke job.  If this series is lost, heads must roll.  Coach of the year?

gulfwavesgary
gulfwavesgary

The things that I have discovered about the playoff's not seen in regular season is the other team plays defense. I have watched every Hawks game this year and never have I seen the other team collapse in the paint and defend on the the 3 point line like I have seen in these 4 games. The shots we were making in the regular season are being defended and we are not making them. Every possession is HUGE and The Hawks are not treating them like Gold. Especially Jeff Teague.  Not taking anything away from the GREAT regular season and all the excitement I have experienced, but this series with The Hawks acting like deer in the headlights including Coach Bud is convincing me the future is not as bright as I was convinced just a couple months ago. However I will say GO HAWKS. FIGHT TO THE END. STOP MAKING STUPID DECISIONS. AND GO HAWKS!!!

Gman84
Gman84

Had the ball with 6 seconds left in a tie game and did not attempt a shot. Wasn't surprised they got run in OT. This Hawk team is headed for it's own place in the long annals of Atlanta sports playoff failure.


I title in 146 pro seasons. What do you expect?

KBP
KBP

The Hawks have not played well with any consistency in over a month. Obviously need to snap out of that like right now.


Lionel Hollins may have pulled one of the greatest okie dokes of all time if the Nets win this series(I don't think they will) by saying that they have no advantage over the Hawks at all. Come on, Coach? Lopez has been better than Horford offensively every since he came into the league. Horford has struggled against Lopez every year he has played against him-Advantage Brooklyn. While some Hawks fans undervalued Joe because of his contract, he is STILL better than anyone on the Hawks roster right now. Teams including the Hawks STILL double team him- Advantage Brooklyn. Tell me Shroeder does not have his hands full with Jarret Jack-Advantage Brooklyn and finally I would take Anderson over Bazemore offensively every day-Advantage Brooklyn. Now, my Hawks, DEFEND BETTER, PROTECT THE BALL BETTER, and win this series. I STILL BELIEVE!


devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Coach Bud must get back to Coaching like he did during 19game winning streak, don't never stop doing or changing your strategy because of some freaking playoffs by shortening your bench.


KEEP YOUR 12 MAN ROTATION GOING, THIS WHAT MADE THE HAWKS


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

vpdii
vpdii

When you go into cruise control for the better part of the second half of the season, then these are the expected results. The Golden State Warriors were a team that we played neck and neck with in the first half of the season. While they continued to play with a high level of intensity thru the second half, our staff elected to "play it safe" and we were all of a sudden in Golden States rear view mirror. The Warriors are clearly the team to beat in the playoffs and are looking like the championship favorites.........no one can say that about the Hawks anymore. The most disheartening thing for me as a fan was the way we accepted the "play it safe" mentality of this team. We only fooled ourselves by thinking that games in which the Hawks lost in the second half in which they could have made a statement were all of a sudden meaningless games that "didn't matter" bc we beat everybody in the first half of the season. I wished that they Hawks hadn't won all of those games in the first half bc the staff would have had to play them more in the second half and they would have developed their identity, focus, and mental toughness in these playoffs. With that being said, I would be shocked if the Nets ended up eliminating the Hawks, and by the same token, I would be shocked if the Hawks made it to the NBA championship game......something that we all thought was a lock a few months ago.

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

@vpdii While there is no NBA championship game--it's obviously a series--you make a very good point.   Coach Bud replicated the Spurs' strategy for resting players without having the hall of fame caliber talent of the Spurs.  The Hawks won all of those games in mid-season by chemistry and mojo and unselfishness.  Disrupting that with constant "rest" is ultimately self-defeating.  Look, there are no one-size-fits-all strategies in business or in sports, and what worked for the Spurs and their personnel most likely will not work for this team.  Coach Bud is being revealed by this series.  There's a big difference between innovators and disciples---and Coach Bud looks more and more like a blind disciple.  

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer

@vpdii You said we accepted this "play it safe" style. What were we to do about it? No one called me for my opinion.

DavidThead
DavidThead

Everything will be alright. They should have won last night in regulation if the proper calls had been made, or if DWill doesn't hit that come to jesus shot from 3. All I know is that all of the haters talking trash about the Hawks now, better not be trying to celebrate our ECF victory. 

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

@DavidThead Plenty of us "haters"--what an annoying, silly term--have been fans for decades, maybe since even before you were born.  (People over 45 generally don't use the word "haters").   In fact, we may have seen this franchise fail to make the ECF every single year since '69.  Hell, we may have even seen them lose every one of those 2nd round series in person.  Fans have a right to be frustrated, especially those of us who have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on Hawks tickets.  Everything may be all right for this series, but things don't look as promising thereafter as we had thought.  It's not wrong to call it like it is.    

FalconUGAFan
FalconUGAFan

@PeachtreeBart @DavidThead  Agree...I think "haters' is one of the dumbest terms ever invented. It is used by people that can't adequately debate a point of view.

candlin14
candlin14

Multiple Problems that may get us booted in the first round:

1) Kyle Korver can not hit water if he fell from a boat

2) Jeff Teague makes some of the worst decisions as a Point Guard that I've ever seen

3) Budenholzer lets opponents spurts last to long before a time out

4) To many turnovers!!!

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY, WE ARE FROM ATLANTA AND CHOKING IN THE PLAYOFFS IS NOTHING NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

woodstock30189
woodstock30189

The Hawks have lost the last 2 (and almost lost the first two of this series) because they have quit doing what they did to get them the #1 seed in the first place. The offense (or lack thereof) that the Hawks run now looks nothing like the offense they were running in January during the win streak. Effective, efficient passing, finding the open man, all of those things along with stellar defense got them here; now they rarely run an offensive play, and are launching 3's way too early in the possession. Which I guess would be ok if they were making them, but they haven't been.

Get back to doing what got them here and they will be fine.

khd713
khd713

@woodstock30189 I would contend that the real problem is the defense. They simply are not playing with the same level of defensive intensity that they were early in the season. The offense flows from the defense. If they can start getting the stops and steals they were creating a couple of months ago, you will quickly see the offense return to form. They need to turn up the defense, and fast, or they are going to be in real trouble. 

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

WOW!  There's a lil bit of hostility out in blog land, folks are getting pis'd.....lololol....and it's some of the same folks who did not believe the HAWKS would win 40 games and lets not even quote the NBA guru's who had the cavaliers winning everything.  I like what the HAWKS did this season and as a fan I will ride with them win or lose.  I can't blame any player because they have all been spectacular at some point during the season.  One game at a time is what the HAWKS have lived by this season and I am not changing my mindset now, it's kinda addictive, never getting to high and never getting to low.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wilbo
Wilbo

I've just been talking mostly she ite. I was pretty sure the Hawks would cruise round 1, squeak round 2 and then lose in the league championship.


Hmmmmm, looks like now there really is a serious chance of them choking this first round away...

PeteScott
PeteScott

Look, the Hawks are who they always were. A disciplined, fairly smart team with little or no size and not very PHYSICAL which makes a difference in a 7 game series.

Also, during the season a team like the Hawks blows into town, plays ONE game, then they're on their way. By the time the opposing team figures out what they are.........game over, they're gone.

During the playoffs an opponent has time and chances to counter what you do and also PLAY to your weakness........over a 7 game series.

Bottom line, the Hawks are now reduced to a very, very AVERAGE team.......with very little threat to anyone.

If they manage to squeak thru the 1st round they will be beaten easily in the 2nd.

They are a smart but SOFT team who relies on mostly outside shooting.

NOT what is considered a playoff threat.

No way.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

I have no reason to wonder about the HAWKS, this team has given me the best ride I ever had as a HAWKS fan.  A 60  win season, 17 games undefeated in the month of January, four Allstars and they are Eastern Conference Champions.  I can speculate and say they put it all into the season and I am fine with that.  I will be disappointed if they are knocked out in the first round but that only makes me hungrier for next season to start.  I can't understand why appreciation and joy is not written in indelible ink praising what they have already given us.  Screw the news media, they only want wins.

DF and coach Bud have laid one helluva foundation and building quality will not happen in one or two years.  I do not know if the HAWKS have anything left in the tank, winning 60 games and it could have been 63-65 or more takes a lot out of the body.  The ability to focus and maintain spirited play and beating the better teams in the NBA is not a small task and there is also the possibility of the HAWKS still learning and understanding the schemes until they are as natural as walking and that's offensively and defensively.

The news media will elaborate on the good and bad of our beloved HAWKS but for me the only thing I can say is onto the next game.  The worst thing that can happen is the Nets win the series...okay...see ya next year but the HAWKS will be better. I know everyone is LQQKING at the HAWKS getting to the Championship series but remember, at the start of the season no one gave the HAWKS a chance to be nothing more than middle of the pack.  I am too proud of our team and it is truly one game at a time.  The funny part of it all is that if the HAWKS get to rd 2 and 3 of the playoffs and make it to the finals and run out of gas one has to ask how enraged will fans be?  I will remember this season like no other it was a good one.

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aojibor
Aojibor

@WaltBBall Are you sure you are not the owner?  All this great ride, go Hawks BS.  WIN IT ALL or at least get to the FINALS!!

ScooterH
ScooterH

Honestly I do not see how anyone could have actually watched these 4 games and still actually expect the Hawks to take a game in Brooklyn. Not a chance. The series is going 7 provided we win at home in game 5. No chance whatsoever for closing out the series in game 6. And if we do not find some defense and quit playing not very smart basketball, we are not guaranteed to win the series at all.

DavidThead
DavidThead

@ScooterH They should have won last night in regulation if the correct calls had been made. Game 6 is a lock.

ScooterH
ScooterH

@DavidThead @ScooterH I wish that I could agree with you David. It just seems we always have some excuse come playoff time with ATL sports. I am pulling a Joe Namath and issuing a guarantee that the Nets win game 6, even though I am obviously pulling for the Hawks. We must win the remaining games at the Phil or this thing is over. So frustrating!

JesseWhite
JesseWhite

Everyone is so afraid of disappointment. Our Atlanta teams have hurt us so many times...losing the series to the Nets in the 1st round would be a crushing blow to this team and the city. No one would ever believe in the Hawks again until they actually won a championship. 

Chi Ali
Chi Ali

you idiots bother watching the game if not for dwil hitting a turnaround 3 the hawks would have won, jeff teauge missed three fts in the 4 that hurt, the hawks will be fine bigger ? moving forward teauge and milsap need to play like stars or with a chip, too often jeff and paul get to caught up in passing the ball being nice guys, al just dosent have the dna to take over but teauge and milsap need too, great game by dwill but doubt he continues that ask the bulls if you play a vet team their not going to just lie down for you,  I will say that when the hawks do get the big lead coach bud needs to put in Schroder and mack those guys are hungry teauge and milsap stuck on nice guy passing the ball

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer

@Chi Ali Be careful calling people idiots. You do not have any pronunciation in your ramblings.

Aojibor
Aojibor

I've said from jump, the Hawks need to stop being cheap and get a SUPERSTAR!!  Name a team in the last 20 years who won a championship without one??  Who is the one player you can go to to get you points when needed?  None, it's a struggle!  Sure, the regular season everything is free flowing and happy go lucky.  Come the playoffs when things slow down and the pressure builds, palms get sweaty and azzes get tight.

ColeCason
ColeCason

@Aojibor @ColeCason That remains to be seen. going deep into a first round series is not a death penalty. The Celtics went 7 with us us the year they won it with three aging "stars" and they recovered to be just fine. Im not saying having a superstar would not help but sometimes having a team helps just as much. Bottom line..... they have to play the games first.


KoolMckoool
KoolMckoool

Hawks need a balls against the wall series to shake them up.

Being a top seed can get stuck in your head.


Jimmy24
Jimmy24

I don't understand why we're not seeing Muscala coming in off the bench.. What were all the minutes for before the playoffs? We know he can both rebound and shoot the ball. Instead, Pero is out there, but not a lot of help except for an occasional three.

skeeterN
skeeterN

To keep hope alive, in 2008 the Hawks took Boston to seven games. Everybody expected the Celtics to sweep and they went on to win it all. KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!

Hoosier Fan
Hoosier Fan

@skeeterN Also, the 8-seed Hawks were 4 minutes from knocking the Pacers out in 6 last year and the Pacers ended up two games short of the NBA Finals.

No easy outs in the playoffs, especially when you are new to the favorite role and the other guy gets a little mojo going. I think the Hawks take care of business, but the Wizards will be a tough out themselves.

skeeterN
skeeterN

All season, the pundits on espn said, when it comes playoff time, who would be the Hawks go to man.  Sad to say, they were right.  With 6.5 seconds left in regulation, after a timeout, they didn't even get off a shot.  Down 3 points in OT with 53 seconds, all they were trying to do is hit a three......with 53 seconds?  It seems to me, the coach of the year has been out coached.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

No doubt here, Not a bandwagon fan...GO HAWKS

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer

Mark,


I don't see how you think they can win two more games. They seem totally confused out there. Their passes and dribbling in traffic are poor, they can't make lay ups, and somehow they have forgotten how to play shut down defense. Brooklyn was an under achieving team that is now over achieving. Atlanta is the antithesis of that. The Hawks may win another game but don't you just sense it in the air that we are ready for another Brooks Conrad/Lonnie Smith moment where we all go home with another heart breaker for yet another Atl team.

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

They were not all that good toward the end of the season and it has carried over to the playoffs. If we struggle just trying to beat this sub .500 team, then I hold little hope for anything more even if we get past them which is certainly not a sure thing at this point.

stiffneck
stiffneck

@GWJ0525 Too true.  January was pretty impressive but this team has been about average since the All-Star break.

If the Hawks lose this series, they need to move to Manitoba.

cspecial
cspecial

the hawks act as though they have forgotten how to play the game.jeff teague has reverted back to his stupidity of last year suchas dribbling into traffic then giving ball away.al horford is lost on the court.its though he wants to lose.the bench is confused especially mike scott.demarre carroll is a loser along with kyle korver.lopez isn"t bill russell,kareem abdul jabbar or wilt chamberlain.take away his strength side which is right side.he shouldn"t be scoring at will.that comes from lack of pride or caring.derron williams is closing his eyes and throwing up shots but the hawks players don"t know this.they are sitting back letting the nets shoot and do what they want to.no other team in the playoffs will let them do what they do.the hawks have stopped running.well, i guess they want to go home for the summer.

NorthFlaFalcon
NorthFlaFalcon

@cspecial That is a bit harsh! Carroll played well but was maybe over-aggressive such as biting on the 3 point attempt (I  believe Joe J was shooting) so they made all 3 foul shots. That was a tough one. The passing was horrible and there were too many turnovers. I hope the Atlanta crowd gets loud as the Brooklyn crowd helped with the momentum shifts late in the game. Maybe some of the Brooklyn players will go clubbing in Atlanta tonight and then be sluggish for the game tomorrow... 

Katzenjammer
Katzenjammer

@cspecial


Agree with it all except about  Demarre..he is really our best player now. Is your capital key broken?