Follow me on this one, if you will. The Hawks put all their eggs in a seven game series loss last year. It contained three great wins. And by great, I mean great. I mean think about them when I get sad. The Boston series also had four games that the Hawks barely sniffed competitiveness. Mike Woodson and the rest of the organization hung their hat on the three wins. Many mocked it; I was fine with it. When I talk about the Boston "rivalry," I reference the importance of that losing series for the team, the fans, and the city of Atlanta. The life those three wins breathed into us far outweighed any negatives that came from the losses.
A year later, the Hawks have playoff experience. Their rotation stayed the same number at eight but added two veterans. Al Horford was no longer a rookie. They earned home court. Mike Bibby had a full year to gel with the offense. The young Hawks, who the organization has had the patience to build around, could no longer be considered green.
And yet the Hawks are one blow out loss away from losing four games as badly as they did last year. They have been outclassed/outplayed three times. The Hawks have been unprepared three times. Our coach has done nothing to help the team win a minimum of three times.
Have players thrown up duds? Yes. Have there been some injuries? Yes. But in the playoffs, three games can be a trend, and you cannot have your team fail to show up three times. As a coach, you cannot guarantee Joe scores 25 or Horford grabs ten boards. You can only deal with the macro. You can only make sure you team tries hard and has the schemes to take advantage of that effort. And macro speaking, Woodson has laid three eggs.
I predicted this series would be won by Atlanta in seven games. I still think that will hold true. So I am not upset that the Heat won three games so far. It is not a failure of expectations. It is all in the how they won three games. The domination of it all. A well coached team still loses games. They just have enough preparation to not get embarrassed every time it happens.
I thought all things being equal, Atlanta would lose three, but the dramatic swinging of point differential from game to game demonstrates how little Woodson has control of a game. He relies on the Heat's offense playing bad and the Hawks offense playing well. Unfortunately for him, neither of those has happened at the same time, and it has shown a light on how little he effects a game. Hawks shots go in and Heat shots don't. Hawks win. Woodson looks like the head coach of substitution. I look at game one and I see Josh Smith dunks. I look at game four and I see Zaza controlling the boards. I look at game five, and I see the awakening of Joe and Flip. I also see games where everything goes well. The NBA does not need coaches if everything is good to go. It needs coaches when they are down big in the first half on the road, and Woodson has yet to demonstrate he knows how to coach out of that situation.
Blame the blowouts on the Hawks imaturity if you like, but if you do, what has Woodson been working on the last five years?
With that said, I think the Hawks will win tomorrow.
Ok I feel better.