Hawks proving that Atlanta still has plenty of game
Yep, sign me up — I’m officially on the Atlanta Hawks bandwagon, just like the 20,016 fans on hand at Philips Arena on Monday night who certainly weren’t there during the regular season.
In case you missed it, the eighth-seeded Hawks evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece against the number one-seeded Boston Celtics before a sellout crowd, 97-92.
Oh, and did I mention that Atlanta had the worst regular-season record (37-45) this year of any playoff team? And that was expecting them to make it past four games? And that Boston won an NBA-leading 66 games, including three against the Hawks, plus the first two playoff games by a total of 42 points?
Few are expecting the Hawks to win this first round series, including myself, but now they have put themselves in a position to pull off one of the greatest NBA upsets ever. But they’re only halfway done, and tonight Game 5 is back in Boston.
However, the pressure rides solely on the Celtics, who are expected to win it all after acquiring superstars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to compliment Paul Pierce.
The last time the Hawks won the championship was
in 1958, when they were in St. Louis. Upon arriving to Atlanta 10 years later, they have only won four division titles. In fact, the Hawks haven’t even sniffed the playoffs since the 1998-1999 campaign.
But Monday was such an uplifting and inspiring moment for a town that’s been through hell and back, starting with the Michael Vick saga in 2007 to this year’s injury-riddled Braves.
Though I’ve always favored college basketball over the NBA for various reasons, this is the only time of the year — during the playoffs — that I actually pay attention.
And why not? This is far more exciting than any socalled reality television show. Let’s face it, there’s more drama packed into these playoff games than an entire season of The Jerry Springer Show. And Monday was no different, as I watched a jampacked house erupt after the Hawks went on a 32-17 run in the fourth quarter to end the game.
When’s the last time you saw so much intensity on the court? From Al Horford taunting Pierce in Game 3 to Garnett throwing elbows at Zaza Pachulia to Joe Johnson and Josh Smith single-handedly leading the Hawks to victory in Game 4, players know exactly what’s at stake right now — a ring.
Atlanta needs some positive news for a change, especially with the media tending to focus more so on the negative side of life. If you didn’t get goose bumps after watching that game, even if you kept expecting Boston to pull it out somehow, then you’re not a sports fan.
The Hawks are defining what it means to be a true underdog, and right now they are hungrier than Jared was prior to hooking up with Subway
Watch out, Celtics, you’re luck may have just run out..