The Hawks should win this series. Then again, they’re the Hawks

Bazed and confused — that’s the Wizards. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

This was Washington coach Scott Brooks’ appraisal of a newly tied series: “Two very good basketball teams, evenly matched, fighting for their playoff lives.”

Off the strength of Games 3 and 4, I’m not sure about the “evenly matched.” The Atlanta Hawks were better in their two wins than the Wizards were in theirs. The Hawks missed chances to steal the first two games; the Wiz whiffed royally in the second quarter of Game 4, being outscored 31-15 essentially by the Hawks’ subs. (Jose Calderon: Immense.) As mentioned elsewhere, that second quarter stands as the biggest moment of this series.

The belief here is that the Hawks are good enough to win Game 5 in D.C. and close out the Wiz in Game 6 here Friday. But I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t mention that these Hawks are apt to do what you least expect.

As Kent Bazemore, excellent in reserve Monday, said after Game 4: “This year been nothing short of amazing, the ups and downs. We’ve won seven in a row; we’ve lost seven in a row. We’ve seen it all. There’s nothing that can be thrown at us that surprises us.”

Or me. When the Hawks play as they did Monday, they’re balanced in a way Washington will never be. (They had seven men in double figures. Their bench outscored the visitors’ 32-23. Dwight Howard, who’d scored 18 points in Games 1-3, scored 16 in Game 4. Dennis Schroder had 18 points, all in the second half.

Basically, the Wizards are John Wall and Bradley Beal. Otto Porter, who averaged 13.4 points in the regular season, is averaging 8.5 in this series. So is Markieff Morris, who’s so nettled by Paul Millsap that he has more fouls (19) than baskets (16). As noted the Washington reserves are awful. The Hawks are the lower seed and won six fewer games than the Wiz, but they’re bigger and deeper and just as fast.

Then again, the Hawks weren’t 43-39 for no reason. They can do weird stuff. But they’ve been pretty good against the better teams, and what we saw in Games 3 and 4 was a continuation of their late-season flurry against Boston/Cleveland. When they get it going, they’re not a No. 5 seed.

They have it going now. Still, the cost of being a No. 5 seed is that you must win a road game to advance. The Hawks haven’t done that yet, and maybe they won’t. But the guess here is that they’ll take Game 5 and then Game 6 and be done with Round 1.

Reader Comments 0

16 comments
DamonH
DamonH

 " But the guess here is that they’ll take Game 5 and then Game 6 and be done with Round 1."


is MB ever right with a prediction?

cspecial
cspecial

play the tough on ball defense and they win the next 2 games going away.watch the officials today try and take the game away from them.

Mutley
Mutley

No sweat. After all this is the ATL where losing is a way of life.

tyger
tyger

Neither THJ, Illyasova nor Dunleavy...

Have gotten hot yet...they're overdue...

Look for one to break-out from 3pt. range... 

lowlow
lowlow

Mark is right on this one.  This team is so unpredictable that it is impossible to predict what they will do but there are some things I like about them.  Howard despite his deficiencies does being a strength and toughness that Horford could never bring.  Schroeder is tougher and has desire that Teague never had. Prince is better and more athletic than Carroll.  Hardaway can get his own shot like Korver never could. I really think that if the coach can shelve his desire to play the spread offense, they move the ball with the second pass, and Bazemore can shoot and not turnover the ball - they have a chance against almost anybody.  I'm not sure Bazemore can do the last but I am intrigued that they could give the Celtics and Cavs trouble whereas previous teams were totally overmatched when they played good teams.  Yeah, they beat the Celtics last year but that was not as good of team as this year's Celtics. 

Birdfanforlife
Birdfanforlife

Weird team. Too many pretty good players and not a single player who can really take over a game. Then again, we are less dependent on any single player blowing up. I could see this team making the Eastern Conference finals or simply losing the next two games. Just don't know.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Birdfanforlife

Only once during their nearly 50 years in ATL have they made the ECF, so that's a looooooooooooong shot, to say the least.

cspecial
cspecial

they need to play the tough on ball defense on  the wizards especially john walls and beal.make them work and by the fourth quarter they are too tired to do anything.the hawks are deeper bthan the wizards so this should be the strategy.tough on ball defense.make them earn every point.great job paul milsap.bring that effort like the greats do every game.

DawgNole
DawgNole

I share your hope, MB--you ol' homer you--but not your confidence. Far too many failures by this franchise on the big stage over the past half-century.

It would give me great pleasure to have to eat my words on here in a few days, but I don't see that happening.

Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

Then again, the Hawks are the Hawks.


Then again, the AJC is the AJC.


Then again, Bradley is still a moron.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Hell Horsey

He is, in fact, spot-on with that particular description of the Hawks.

You do realize that--don't you? If not, why the hell are you here?

dcbrave33
dcbrave33

If the Hawks can avoid those prolonged stretches of offensive drought in Game 5, they win. If they have a 5-6 minute point starvation, they will likely let another opportunity slip. The energy and intensity that the Wizards were unprepared for in Game 3 from us is the exact same urgency and intensity the Hawks must expect from them in Game 5. Can they withstand it?

AMFILMSHD
AMFILMSHD

hard to tell who the hawks really are.  this season anytime i got excited about them, they faltered.

Gman84
Gman84

The Hawks are going to try to clinch a playoff series on the road?? Really?? Can't stop laughing

buzzsaw82
buzzsaw82

@Gman84 The other thing you can't do, apparently, is read.  Mark's column says Hawks will take Game 5 on the road and clinch the series in Game 6 at home.