The “New Season” has started like the regular season, can they sustain it?

If anybody watched the Atlanta Hawks through the first 12 games of the regular season, you never would’ve thought they would end the season with 6 straight losses into the playoffs. You never would’ve thought they’d be blown out by 30 points 4 times (at home). Joe Johnson not averaging at least 20 points a game? Team finishing last forced turnovers, points in the paint, etc.

But it did happen. They secured the 5th spot of the playoffs which meant they would play the Orlando Magic in the first round. This is the team that destroyed them in the first round a year ago (4 game sweep, lost by average of 20 points). This year however, they won 3 of 4 in the regular season, two of which was after the trade that was supposed to make them better.

Most of the critics had already written off the Hawks for this year because of how they finished the regular season. I had my own issues (not being able to adjust from double teams to defend the 3, pick and roll’s, zone defense), as well as why is Joe having such a poor season, and if Josh takes one more crazy 3!!

But in the end, they beat an Orlando team 3 out of 4. They did it with a game plan that they stuck with. So no matter what, if they came into the series with no injuries and dedicated themselves to listening to coach, they would have a chance.

Last night, the Hawks pretty much dominated the Orlando Magic. Yes, Dwight had almost 50, but unless he was going to score 100 points by himself, they weren’t going to win. The Hawks played him straight up the whole game. A few times they did try to double team, and they got burned by an open jumper. But they were in control the whole game, even when the Magic were making a run, they didn’t fall flat on face and revert to how they played during the season.

One obvious strength was Kirk on Nelson. Somebody tell me what would’ve happened if that was Bibby on Nelson, the results would be the same. I think not. Plus, Kirk was hitting a confident jumper (man can, play, ya’ll saw him in Chicago).

Another strength was Joe Johnson. Joe looked like Joe from the Boston series of the past few years. Joe didn’t mess around when he got the ball, he took it to them and made smart passes when cornered. Nobody on the Magic can really play Joe.

Of course, Crawford was the other strength. He was unstoppable. With both Crawford and Johnson playing well, most teams will be hard pressed to deal with the Hawks. Al and Smoove can take most of the other forwards in the Eastern Conference. This team is different from last year and now it will be purely matchups. If the Hawks make it past Orlando, they matchup very well against the Chicago Bulls.

Yes, Rose scored 39, but they were getting beat that whole game by the Indiana Pacers. Hawks played the Bulls very good this season.

So, could this be the year the Hawks make it to the Eastern Conference Finals?? Guess who else the Hawks played well this year??? The Heat……

Go Hawks!!

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