Quick Thought: Ok, I admit it. I was wrong. The good guys won in 6, not 7. I stand corrected.
I'll have more of an homage to this unconventional team before they play Game 1 against Chicago in the second round. (Yes, I did just enjoy typing that.)
The first round of the playoffs will be fantastic.
Nobody outside of Orlando and Atlanta will want to watch.
The Hawks won Game 6 in Atlanta Thursday night despite a less than stellar 39 percent shooting.
In fact, look all over that box score....there isn't anything pretty about it. And in the locker room after the game, the Hawks didn't care.
Josh Smith and Marvin Williams held court for waves and waves of reporters asking them...well, who knows what? What can you ask a team that win despite doing anything particularly well, unless you count holding the Magic to a well-below-their-average three point shooting percentage. Which you should.
Once again, the Hawks did it their way, making shot after shot, and then missing shot after shot, gyrating a lead to double digits and back throughout the game. Even as the Hawks threatened to put the game away being up 5 and Horford shooting a wide open jump shot, it threatened to slip away.
Jameer Nelson hit two quick layups and suddenly the Hawks were in a familiar place, scrapping, scratching, and clawing their way to a win over the House of Mouse.
And they didn't even seal it with offense, though you could argue that the 14th offensive rebound, Joe Johnson's ridiculous 7th of the evening (yes, that's 7 OREB) was the best offensive play at all, as it forced the Magic to foul Jamal Crawford, who had scored a sort-of 5-pt play earlier in the game, and the now seasoned playoff guard put the Hawks up three.
But even that wasn't enough for ATL, who desires to make every single part of the game hard on themselves, watched helplessly as JJ Redick got free behind a huge Dwight Howard screen and then missed by a mile. After Horford stepped out of bounds on the rebound, Al made it hard to inbound the ball and Jason Richardson shot the last jumper of the Magic season into Josh Smith's hand.
With the exception of Game 5, the Hawks mysteriously made the Magic offense grind into jelly. Orlando, who had run the pick and roll so well in that game, went back to only occasionally using it efficiently. In fact, they surprisingly went into Howard early, and the Hawks waited until the big man put the ball on the floor, and then Kirk Hinrich pounced, helping irritating Howard into (6) turnovers, including 3 steals of Hinrich's own.
You could make the case that Hinrich was the MVP of the series for the Hawks, once again playing fantastic defense on Nelson while causing those issues inside for Howard as well. Hinrich was good offensively as well, but attacked the hoop and fell to the ground, suffering what was said to be a right hamstring injury, putting his participation in the Chicago series, his old team, in doubt.
We'll have more later and up to the second round (third time's the charm?), but we're glad this one's over. There were few experts who picked the Hawks to win, but win they did. As they did all season long, they typically beat the team they should have beaten, and this favorable matchup with Orlando was no exception.