Atlanta Hawks/Milwaukee Bucks Game Review: Look in the Mirror


Mike Woodson bristled after Game One when someone dared talk about the elephant in the room, that being the Hawks ability to be mentally unavailable for parts of games when the Hawks allowed the Bucks to come back in that game.

Wonder how he'll feel tonight when someone mentions that the Hawks, especially in the playoffs, are capable of such uninspired non-efforts such as the 107-89 stinkfest in Milwaukee Saturday night.

The Hawks have averaged a margin of defeat of over (20) points per road playoff loss over the last three seasons. That's no aberration, folks---that's a full blown habit.

Mike Bibby was quoted by ESPN as saying that the reason they are contenders this season is that "they've learned what it takes," but all Game Three showed is how much more they have to learn. 

More after the jump (if you dare):

Game Over When: Take your pick: When Kurt Thomas won the tip over a sedated Josh Smith. When the Hawks botched their first (87) fast break opportunities. When the Bucks took advantage of a sleeping Hawks defense to make well over (50) percent of their shots in the first half. Basically, right after Game Two ended.

Worth Noting: Nothing.

Also: Smith pulled in (9) offensive rebounds, but could do nothing with it. Smoove was 2-12 with one assist and (3) turnovers making the Mbah a Moute on Josh defensive switch resoundingly successful. The frustration was in his head and it showed all over the court.

We saw it and we can't believe we saw it (again):

What we saw was what the Hawks can be when they are at their worst. No defensive energy, no easy baskets going the other way, attacking from the outside-in, poor player and ball movement--resulting in only (16) assists and a sub-40 percent shooting night. Combine that with the usual MIL energy in their house--and making early shots, and the Hawks lost heart and the game early.

Kudos to Mike Tirico for calling it out early---the Hawks looked as if they were playing at half speed. Marvin Williams, Al Horford, and Smith looked leg locked early on, and the front court tandem of Smith/Horford, who had combined for a nearly (60) percent shooting percentage, was only 7-19 in Game Three. Toss in Williams' 1-7 contribution and there was nowhere to go for the Hawks.

Part of the struggles were self-inflicted as the Hawks, after finding things so point-rich in the paint, decided to play high post with the bigs early on, and didn't get much other than tough, contested shots as a result. Once the Hawks got down, they never got up--and another blowout playoff loss was tossed on the pile.

When things looked bad after a Game Three debacle in Miami last year, the team came back and won Game Four. They have the physical talent to beat any club, so all that remains is whether they can overcome their long-time nemesis---themselves.

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