Hawks prov­ing that At­lanta still has plenty of game

The Covington News - - Sports -

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..

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