In many ways Game 6 between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers could serve as a summary of the Hawks season. Atlanta was eliminated in an 81-73 loss but showed both the highs and the lows of this team in the process.
The Hawks fell behind early thanks to a dreadful second quarter in which they scored just nine points while going 1-15 from the field. The Pacers weren't much better however as they took only a 37-29 lead into halftime. Indiana woke up in the third starting the second half with a big run that eventually had Atlanta down by as many as 19 points.
Atlanta started to chip away late in the third and it continued into the fourth as a raucous Philips Arena crowd awakened. The Hawks outscored the Pacers 23-16 in the fourth and cut the lead to just three with a dunk from Al Horford with 2:41 remaining. Atlanta would not get any closer and David West, who was the difference maker once again, quickly put the Pacers back up five.
The score would remain 78-73 until the game's final moments when the Hawks called time with 47 seconds left. The resulting play was a Josh Smith three point attempt that was blocked by David West and was symbolically this Hawks team in a nutshell.
The reality was that this Hawks team wasn't going to be able to beat the Pacers without getting solid performances from its trio of Horford, Smith and Jeff Teague. None of the three performed well and only Horford ended the night making half of his shots and needed a strong fourth quarter to accomplish that.
Smith started the night 1-8 so when you consider that maybe his 5-16 for 14 points doesn't look quite as bad. When you factor in that half of those 16 attempts came from outside of 15 feet and it looks worse. For someone who could have been playing his final game in a Hawks uniform, Smith picked a heck of a way to go out.
Devin Harris also finished with 14 points but needed 14 shots to get there and Jeff Teague's nightmare playoff series ended in a 10 point, two assist night on 3-12 shooting.
Indy once again went to David West and he responded with 21 points and eight rebounds. Roy Hibbert had another strong game finishing with 17 points and 11 boards. George Hill tied West for high scoring honors with 21 points and refused to let the Hawks come all the way back in the fourth.
So the an uncertain offseason officially begins with the Hawks who have questions concerning their coach and the biggest part of their roster including Josh Smith. One thing is certain, this team will look a lot different when they meet up for training camp in October.