Closing out the regular season on a six game losing streak and heading into the playoffs against a team that historically you haven't been successful against would be called less than ideal. Forgive me if I don't buy into the theory of those last six games didn't mean anything so it was ok to not play hard. Too often it seems that we find ourselves talking about effort when it comes to these Atlanta Hawks. I write about it, you hear mentioned on telecasts, and coaches talk about it before and after games.
I am not sure that there is some magical switch that goes on once the playoffs begin that suddenly fixes everything. Again I have always been taught that when the ball goes up you play hard no matter the circumstance. If anything positive came out of the last six games, the regulars should be well rested and healthier than they were two short weeks ago. Lets hope so anyway.
I don't know how deep the Hawks will go into the bench this post season but they have gotten an extensive look at some of their bench over the last two weeks. It probably won't be described as a deep bench but one thing it can give is energy from time to time. Josh Powell led the way against Charlotte with 16 points while Damien Wilkins tossed in 14. I am not certain that I buy into the Wilkins as the designated defender off the bench theory but Wilkins does come in and provide energy because he plays hard. That could be a valuable thing off the bench in these playoffs.
Jeff Teague played 22 minutes last night scoring 10 points with just one assist. Heading into this first round series, it will be interesting to see how Larry Drew handles the back court minutes. Does Teague return to the bench? Or does he find a spot in the rotation. Personally I think he has to be used as an energy lift. If things slow down too much, then insert him and tell him to push the tempo. His minutes may be closely tied to Jamal Crawford and how effective he is. Crawford scored 14 points on 6-10 shooting in last night's game against Charlotte.
It has been a long 82 games season but the real play is just now getting ready to start. Atlanta can make us forget that they dropped from 53 wins last season to 44 this season by their play in the playoffs. Lets just hope they remember where that proverbial switch is located.