ORLANDO, FL - MAY 04: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts after taking an elbow from Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic as Jameer Nelson #14 of the Magic looks on in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 4, 2010 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
There are losses and then there are losses and this was something beyond a loss. It is tough to write a recap that encompasses everyone who is to blame for 40 point loss. It would be worth a book (or at least a coach's job). I mean let's be serious. Anyone that roots for the Hawks let alone has an actual say in the outcome feels like an idiot right now. The Magic are better and the Hawks have serious faults and both truths were played out in such excruciating fashion that it took the hopeful thoughts so far out into killing zone that the fact that the Hawks still have three games to prove they are not the worst team in the history of second round playoffs it seems almost freeing. Almost.
We will all jump to our bias for the blame. I wanted to throw the refs under the bus until Atlanta took their non ball movement into a 20 point deficit. Logic existed that the Braves were at fault for this debacle, logic I actually considered So clearly we are all looking for blame and hope in some pretty obscure places. But within my own bias, I, of course, will focus on Mike Woodson.
I do not want to blame all 43 or even 20 of those points on Woody, but he came into this game scared, and I have never seen an underdog team on the road win a game where the coach's strategy was based in fear. Bringing Jason Collins off the bench to "take up fouls" is not a move that wins game, it is a move of survival, and the Hawks are not winning a game of survival. The day Mike Woodson realized that four on five is not an acceptable strategy at the end of quarter, in the playoffs, or on the rec gym floor is the day I endorse him as the future coach.
And on that note (not the survival one but the Woody is an idiot one), Mike Woodson just used his bench more against one of the deepest second units in the league. Seriously? Woody is many things. Eye brow shaver, foul out phobic, shit work proponent, but what he is not is a bench believer. Yet he brings out the preseason rotation for this game?
I do not mean to over exaggerate by saying it makes no sense, but it makes no sense.
The Hawks have serious issues moving forward. They have problems for this series and problems next year. None of the five positions are "no worry" issues, but Mike Woodson is solving none of them. Great coaches do not allow this type of game. Great coaches at least make their message of ball movement and team work relevant to the second unit. Great coaches figure out how to tell Josh Smith not to take jump shots.
The facts remain. Orlando is better, this was the worst, and the Hawks can win. Mike Woodson is the hope killer.