I'll tell you all one thing here, I saw it coming. I was blessed with the ability to see the future, and in the future I saw the Hawks losing game 2. Don't believe me? Ask my fellow blogger Craig Ehlo. We were in the library "studying" for our finals when in the middle of reading about proxy violations for corporations, I looked up at him, gazed into his blue-green eyes and said "The Hawks are going to lose tonight. I am sure of it."
Later on, while the Hawks were busy doing their best let's not guard the other team's best player, I looked at Ehlo again and said "hate to say I told you so." Look let's not get to crazy here, during the first game I even said that I could see the Hawks losing one of their home games but still winning on Miami's court. In fact, I believe the Hawks will win game 3 in Miami setting the tone that this series will be done in six games. But last night. Boy that was a terrible thing to watch. I do not even know where to begin.
I guess the best place to start is on the players for their lackadasical play and failure to realize they were playing in a PLAYOFF GAME. The reason I knew we would lose last night's game was due to the way we blew out the Heat in game 1. As soon as we started destroying the Heat's reserves in game 1, you know the mindset of the team changed dramatically. It went from taking the Heat seriously as a playoff team, to labeling them as just a stepping stone in the way of us playing a second round playoff opponent. In fact, what happened to us last night, is the same thing that happened to the Celtics in Game 3 last year in Atlanta. Once you stop taking your opponent seriously, the end result is not going to be favorable. A NBA team can afford to take a night off and not take your opponent seriously, a NBA PLAYOFF team can not.
Next place to start my gripes deals with the player that everybody was gushing over only three days ago after he had a huge game 1. That is right, Josh Smith, you have not found yourself immune from attack once again. So you had a big game on Sunday night and probably thought that you were going to come out and dominate this next game and play to all the accolades you had seemingly earned the previous game. Boy did you disappoint. Sadly to all of us who actually follow the Hawks we knew it was coming. Everyone, from the Atlanta media to ESPN seemed to fall in love with the way Smoove played in game 1 and rightfully so, it was one of his first good games in a while. But all of us in Hawksnation knew it was an aberration. Look at what he did last night for proof that this kid still does not have the maturity level to succeed in the NBA. He began the game by shooting jumpers and 3's and to be fair, he did hit some of them. In fact, after he made his first jump shot, I turned to my brother and said: "there it is, that is proof we are going to lose this game." If Josh Smith's first basket is a jump shot, for some reason he is going to believe his jump shot is on all game, and if there is one thing we have learned from Smoove it is that his jump shot is NEVER on all game. TAKE THE BALL TO THE BASKET AND DUNK - that is all the kid needs to do on offense, somebody please grab him by the head band and let him know this.
How about this for another little "great play" by Smoove. At some point in the third or fourth quarter, Josh goes for the steal on Beasley, misses the steal and lets Beasley drive to the basket where then out of nowhere Josh comes back into the play and swats the ball into the row behind the Hawks Bench. Wow Welcome to the Highlight Factory block right? Wrong. The block, instead of being hit back to someone on our team, which the best shot-blockers in the league do, went out of bounds on us and after passing the ball in the Heat, and more importantly Beasley due to Smith's horrendous defense, nailed a three. So instead of a two point basket, they scored a three. WAY TO GO JOSH. This is where people need to realize Josh is just not getting it done on defense. Give up on your attempts to get him to be first team all NBA defense, that is a load of crap. His blocked shots are never on his own guy, because he is always getting beat. Do not believe me? Look to see how many points Beasley has next game. Watch him go right at Josh and almost score at will. In the fourth quarter when the Hawks had the game to five points, Haslem stepped up and nailed a jumper from the free throw line to go up by seven. Who was supposed to be guarding Haslem, I'll give you one guess. Wanna know what Smoove was doing instead, hanging around under the basket doing NOTHING. Great defense Josh thanks.
But the blame for the loss cannot solely be on Josh for that game, hell Flip missed a ton of shots yet for some reason kept shooting, Joe obviously had nothing but felt the need not to differ to Bibby who was stroking it. And Marvin, oh Marvin where did you go? Al, come on man, I was telling people you were going to have a huge series, do not make me look like an idiot. I do that enough for myself as it is, I do not need help from others making me look stupid. And give it up to the Heat who made an astounding 15 three point baskets. Damn, if a team is going to make that many 3's well it is going to be a long night for the other guys. And to the Heat coach who told his team to shoot more threes, genius. By shooting three's, even if you miss them, you are going to at least have somebody far back enough that it will be difficult for the Hawks to take the rebound and run with it. By preventing the Hawks from running the Heat took them out of their game. But to be fair, the Hawks always seem to take themselves out of the much better for them offense of a run and gun by simply playing half-court basketball for some reason. And when we get into the half court it turns into the stand around and watch Joe show, which rarely works.
But do not fear Hawks fans, it is just one game. The Hawks got punched in the mouth and did not get back up. The Heat came out and were more physical and were nailing three's. I still think the Hawks were the better team last night, just could not get the biscuit in the basket as some of my friend would say. They kept the Heat from driving to the basket and making layups. In fact, we made them shoot jump shots which is how the Hawks are going to win this series. The Hawks did what they were supposed to do in order to win the game, just sometimes it does not happen. However, if they come out flat again and do not stop the Heat from hitting all those 3's wll then, the NBA might get their wish of a Wade v. Lebron Second Round matchup.
For a more sobering look at last night's game, and probably one with less anger and disgust at the way we played, go over to Hoopinon. This guy has a much better outlook on the game than I did.