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Atlanta Hawks lack visible passion

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Come Together....right now....

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Fans who comes to games are asked to put their hands together, kiss on cue and generally make a lot of noise for the home team. This becomes an arduous task when the team they are watching look like they are having as much fun as cleaning a chicken coop. (If you don't know what that's like, pause here, Google it, and see what I mean).

The Atlanta Hawks of 2014-15 were playing for each other, vibing off the next guy doing things and winning a lot of games. When the bounces and rolls go your way, as it did during that amazing 19 game January winning streak, then it's easy to feel the love and joy. Every made basket is sweet validation of the process you've bought into and the elite execution generates joy and exuberance in the fans that are watching.

When, however, things don't go as well as they did, it can be discouraging, to both the team and the fans. It's a synergy that is both obvious and fragile. The Atlanta Hawks have not had the same results as last season, though the statistics and standings are not so dissimilar. The Hawks are top ten in every single important advanced statistic and yet you'd think by both their on-court demeanor and the subsequent reaction from we, the people, that they were mediocre.

Further, the expected records shown here say that the Hawks should have the eighth best record in the league. They are not mediocre, the stats clearly show this, but the results, perception and the team's on court presence say otherwise.

The Hawks, for all of its excellence, has shown the emotion and passion of a nurse changing an IV in a hospital. The team is just as clinical with the same bedside manner for its fans to boot. I'm not saying that a fist pump or emotion automagically makes you a contender, but there is no question that the team, as we've moaned about almost as long as defensive rebounding, lack a vocal presence on the floor.

This is a team that very much resembles the methodical, division winning, calculated, lab-coat wearing Atlanta Braves of the 90s and early aughts. Despite those Braves teams' epic winning, fans didn't connect with the buttoned up, velvet robe wearing personas of that era. It's a joyless endeavor to watch them play, but they look joy-less as they play.

Fans are connecting and responding to this team the same way. The only thing they can get excited for in these situations are the results, which happened last season but aren't coming across the same way this season. Therefore, the fans are left to connect to other emotions, like fear, angst and disappointment that they can't feel the same way they did last season.

In an effort to run from those feelings, as people often do when they are faced with such things, they react with anger and want things to change so they can feel a different feeling.

It doesn't guarantee victory to see Dennis scream or Al stand over a downed opponent, but it helps. There was no closer connection that the feeling the city had in 2008, when Zaza Pachulia went head to head with Kevin Garnett, literally, and shouted "Nothing Easy" into the microphone. Or when Horford told Paul Pierce to stay the _______ down when Pierce lay on the court late in the game.

It's emotion that missing from this team, emotion that things matter, that things are urgent right now. There's no questioning this team's desire to win. Not a single player I've ever talked to in that locker room has ever provided anything less than 100% complete effort and passion for winning, for the team, themselves and each other. It's just doesn't come across on the court and that's where the people are having problems connecting with this version of the team.

We can work together here. As fans, let's encourage the guys by name, call out their name when the score, when Korver is making a shot run, when Dennis/Jeff gets to the hoop.

For the players, give the fans something. Al, you used to kiss your biceps when you made a dunk and generally pumped the crowd up in big moments. Dennis/Jeff, surely you have a warehouse full of emotion that can emerge with even a fist pump or running to each other when another player makes a big play or pull the team together on the court. Everyone on the team can give a little more to the people, and to each other, throughout the game. The fans will most certainly reciprocate in this situation, rather than the one-way relationship it's seemed to be throughout this season.

This isn't college, but it's not a funeral either. Bring the passion back to Philips Arena and we'll find that things aren't as dire as the results have indicated.