There are blowouts, and then there really are blowouts. In the NBA things like what we witnessed last night at Philips Arena shouldn't really happen. In a rare instance on the road it can be written off as simply a bad night. When you consider that this is the fourth such game for these Atlanta Hawks this season with all of them being at home then you understand there is a problem. It would be different if this was a bad team. The Hawks are not a bad team. They are 33-19 and for the moment still in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. That isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. It is the way that the blowouts manifest themselves that is most troubling.
It is not completely unusual for a team to not come ready to play a few nights over the course of an 82 game season and Atlanta was missing largely its heart in Al Horford. Instead of coming together when faced with those dire situations, this team fractures which makes the use of the word "team" a stretch at best. They quit and take their ball and go home like school children on the playground. Consider that Atlanta has the two biggest home defeats in the NBA this season. Instead of making us forget, it is games like this one that remind us all too well of last seasons playoff destruction against Orlando when Hawks fans were pretty much treated to performances like this one nightly.
What is the answer? No one other than that group of players and coaches inside the locker room really know. Such is the perils of Hawks fandom. You defend this team to the end and make yourself believe that they are part of the discussion only to have them go out and embarrass not only you but themselves as well. I still believe that this team has the make up to play with any team out there but losses like last night make you think twice about trying to instill your beliefs on anyone else. That is not intended as a shot at the Sixers or any other team because they came into Philips Arena last night and took care of business. It makes you question what this Hawks team really has to be complacent about? They don't have home court in the playoffs locked down. They don't have universal respect around the league. They haven't proven that they can beat the good teams this season even at home on a regular basis. What do they really have to be bored or complacent about?
The good thing is that there are two off days in between the next game on Saturday against Charlotte. Al Horford will most likely return to the lineup whether he is hurting or not because he can sense that his presence is needed by all of those involved. I like most of the other faithful will forget about this Sixers loss and move on once again talking myself into believing. No doubt that Atlanta will probably respond with a inspiring performance against the Bobcats. Ultimately setting myself up for disappointment once again sometime down the road. This Hawks team is no longer the youthful team with all of the upside that we have watched grow from 13 to 53 wins. This is more of a veteran group now and it is time to stop making youthful mistakes. They can't just simply take their ball and go home anymore and simply write it off. If they don't owe that to themselves, then they for sure owe that to the few fans that bother to show up for the games.