Posted: 9:35 pm Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

The Hawks did well, but not well enough 

By Mark Bradley

The story of Game 7: Roy Hibbert stuffs Paul Millsap. (AJ Mast/AP)

The story of Game 7: Roy Hibbert stuffs Paul Millsap. (AJ Mast/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

A heaping helping of cognitive dissonance after the Atlanta Hawks lost Game 7 to the Indiana Pacers 92-80 here Saturday.

On the one hand, this rebuilding team — a team playing without its best player to boot — did well to push the East’s No. 1 seed to brink. But the Pacers have seemed for two months a team capable of being shoved over the brink. The eighth-seeded Hawks had a chance to go up 3-1 but wasted a late lead in Game 4. They had a chance to end the series but wasted a late lead in Game 6.

Both of those games were at Philips Arena. When you get that close on your home floor, you have to win, if for no other reason than to keep yourself from having to play Game 7 on the road. In the history of the Hawks’ franchise, they’d never won a Game 7 on the road. Still haven’t.

The Hawks had the Pacers reeling after the astonishing Game 5 here — the Hawks scored 41 second-quarter points and led by 30 in a game most figured the No. 1 seed would take — but let them wriggle away. A longer series was always going to favor the more talented team. It took Indiana coach Frank Vogel a while, but he finally fashioned a small lineup capable of chasing and actually challenging the Hawks’ shooters, and his insistence on starting the befuddled center Roy Hibbert bore fruit Saturday.

Hibbert, who hadn’t scored since Game 4, managed 13 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in Game 7. For the first time in the series, strength down low trumped long-distance shooting. The Hawks tried 44 treys, missing 33. Over the final two games, they made 20 of 79 3-point shots. We’ll never know if the misses were a function of bad shooting or fatigue from banging against a bigger and stronger opponent over seven games and 15 days, but the basketball axiom — tired legs make for missed shots — fairly resonated.

With Hibbert again a presence underneath, the Pacers were able to play their normal offensive game, and the Hawks aren’t good enough to guard the Pacers when floor balance is achieved. Paul George exploited Kyle Korver — and others, but mostly Korver — for 30 points. Hibbert’s rediscovered touch enabled him to occupy Paul Millsap, and Millsap had a great game rebounding (17) but a poor one shooting (6-for-21). Jeff Teague appeared to tire the most, missing 11 of 16 shots and leaving driving shots in the lane short.

For the Hawks, it was a lousy ending for what had been a rousing series. They gave themselves a real shot at a historic upset but tripped at the end. Even as we await the time when Al Horford gets healthy and Danny Ferry and Mike Budenholzer have their system fully in place, we lament this wasted opportunity. The Hawks did well, but in the end they didn’t do well enough.

From myajc, our premium site: The Hawks had a great chance and blew it.

50 comments
tyger
tyger

Pure Poppycock...


Ferry is 0-2...no improvement...

Budenholzer no better LD/Woody...

Cap space don't win games...

Nor puts fans in seats...

.

3rd worst attendance in NBA...

Only losing team in playoffs..

Playoff gift only to make payroll...


Oh...getting D.Howard..yeah right?

Oh...getting Top Draft pick...yeah right?

Oh...how bout 45 yr. old Pau Gasol???


Tim Duncan not walking thru that door...

Nothing in draft to get excited about...

And please, enough Euro bamas...


Yawn...wake me in 2016...


JoelBruce
JoelBruce

The future of the Atlanta Hawks looks bright, in spite of what happened over the weekend. Bold prediction: Hawks will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals within 5 years.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

They did well enough for me Mark! Sorry you feel that way. In fact , they did far better than anyone in their right mind could have expected!

DrPhill
DrPhill

The story of Atlanta professional sports. . . . not good enough.

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

I don't know guys.  People keep saying the Hawks are going to be the Eastern version of the Spurs but let's not forget that while the Spurs have played team sports better than any franchise in all of pro sports the past 20-30 years, they did it with 2 HOF caliber players with Robinson handing off to Duncan along with several all-star caliber players along the way.


The Hawks haven't had even 1 player close to Robinson or Duncan.  We need a no questions asked #1 otherwise we're going to look more like the Cavs under Lenny Wilkins or even the Pacers when they had Reggie Miller and Chuck Person bombing from 3.  Those are teams who were very successful with shooters and post players yet couldn't get over the hump because they still lacked that special player.


If the Hawks aren't going to land a special player then they have to go the Boston route where they collect 3 all-stars, and not the shoulda-woulda-coulda-sometimes-maybe all-stars like Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Teague, and Horford.  We need guys are are no questions asked all-stars even if one is an aging vet who used to be the man like Kevin Garnett.

GASports
GASports

Kensdobs, 


I was thinking on the same thing. This team is 2 players away. 


Maybe Nene or Monroe, Horford, Milsap and pick up Deng maybe?


C       Nene or Monroe

PF     Horford/Scott

SF     Milsap/Korver

SG    Deng/Lou 

PG    Teague/Mack


This team would be bigger and more capable of defending everybody!


As much as i hate to say it, they might need to keep Antic as a backup. 

GuyGadbois
GuyGadbois

Thoughts heading into next year --

Lou Williams:  did he regress this year?  Thought Lou was a prototypical 6th man that could score 15+ a night w/ below avg. D.  Not so sure.  Shroeder and the big guy we drafted last year:  upside?

Kensdobs
Kensdobs

Look for Ferry to go after FA center GMonroe. who's 2013-14 production was limited due to playing out of position at PF. If signed, a front line of SF Milsap, PF Horford & C Monroe, would be 1 of the NBAs most physical & productive on both OFF & DEF. Add a SF with good DEF skills that's a more versatile & capable scorer than DCarroll, and you have the makings of a championship caliber team. Add 7' center Bebe & the return of 3pt specialist SG JJenkins to the mix, & it gets even better.

DawgNole
DawgNole

tjhook

18 hours ago

And thanks for a respectable effort, Hawks

________________________


After 47 seasons without so much as a single Round 2 playoff series victory, merely putting forth a respectable effort is not acceptable.

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

SSDY.

The retrospective on each Hawks season is the same...they need a guy.  The curse of the Nique trade lives on.  The Hawks need a guy to lean on when it's time to grind.  Horford is not that guy either but the Hawks will be stronger when he returns.  With Horford, the Hawks are capable of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals with great effort but nothing more.  They'd still lose to the Heat in 6.

One thing is for sure, the Hawks continue to give more with less when compared to the Braves and Falcons.  Those 2 teams draft and acquire stud players with ease and still fall on their faces in the post season.  I can only image what would happen if the Hawks landed a top guy.

XS IV
XS IV

All you need to look at is the team payrolls to see how things will wind up. I can't think of a single Atlanta team over the last decade which has had a top 10 salary (The NFL has a strict cap so its a different situation). Sport are a business; anyone that thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. If the ownership groups start spending the money the teams will be more successful. 

Thankfully enjoying the outdoors instead of watching multi-millionaires play a game is still free.      

JackPod
JackPod

The Hawks stunk up the arena last evening. What's with the wild array of 3 point shots resulting in a 30% shooting percentage? That was crazy.

ComaToes
ComaToes

So what else is new in "A" town?

JaySly
JaySly

next year with al horford, atl will win the first round

Birdhair
Birdhair

Baffling to me that mark Bradley would include any sort of criticism toward hawks managment or players in an article. The hawks were 1 win away from an playoff series win and an upset of the #1 seed. And horford was hurt. Ferry and coach bud have just arrived. Ferry walked into a complete disaster, Revamped the roster and found a taker for the ridiculous joe Johnson contract.

This same writer toots wren's horn any chance possible. In fact, Bradley thinks that wren is a top 5 gm! Wren walked into a gold mine and has been at the helm for 6 years going on 7 and has failed to win a single playoff series. Wren is the same wren who blows more than $215m total on ridiculous contracts including Bj, Lowe, uggla, and KK. But Bradley loves this clown and refuses to criticize him. Something is so wrong with our Atlanta sports writers. Y'all should be ashamed of yourselves for including any sort of crticism for what ferry and coach bud have done.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

Welcome to GA where the bigger the sports stage the greater the disappointment. Just 1 professional championship and 2 NCAAs in all those years is beyond abysmal. Sad to say our best performances when they count have come from GA teams in the LLWS.

inoto20
inoto20

I remember a few days ago this bradley moron writing how the hawks have a strong chance to win the series because they won the first game.  Now he wrote a lame article about a hopeful suspension and then this garbage. Instead of writing after game 1, the hawks looked good but they are an 8 seed for a reason and they will lose.  Funny how just about everyone in the city knows this except for the idiot writers for this crap paper. When will they EVER write something legit? gets soooo old. 

Watch, uga will beat clemson and this arse will say this could lead to a nc game for the dogs! Or the falcons beat the saints and he says this is what championship teams do!  I don't read his articles anymore. Just the headlines.  Same with JS.  Same predictable regurgitated garbage. They could cut and paste stuff from the past 20 years and it would fit. How is that entertaining? 

SO lets look forward to the mb pumping of uga and the falcons. but we all know the end result. 

gets old year after year. Amazing they still have jobs.

devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Hawks need center, can we finally get a center, poor Alford will finish his career as a disappointment with playing out position for his entire career with Hawks, SMH


DF is still talking about Horford at center next season.

WHAT A WASTE.


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Thank goodness.   I reiterate:  there is no place in playoffs (or championship series) for any team with regular season losing record.  Period.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

The Atlanta Hawks have only been 'rebuilding' for 46 years, since 1968.

AdmiralObvious53
AdmiralObvious53

This is an Atlanta franchise.  They did what was expected and that's snatch defeat from victory twice and finally go down in an embarrassment.  New Year New Players New Coaches......same old story

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Hawks and Braves, what is the difference ?


No hope.


Never.


We were so over-sized.  You look at the Hawks and their counterpart was seemingly twice our size  - out-matched.


So, now, afterwards, we're supposed to come in here and say Nice Try ?


Good Lord.

SOB
SOB

Still a big fan of Coach Bud as the players seem to play hard for him. But Hawks lost this chance in game six at home. It was as much as over with that loss. Future looks promising with some additions. Hope Dan the Man can plug in a few pieces and hope Horford will come back strong. That's a lot of hoping, but I've lived in Losersville, USA my entire life. Go Braves? Losers of five in a row. It's a tough town to be a sports fan. And yes, the curse is alive and well as we disappointed fans know all too well...

ZACKBO50
ZACKBO50

That ATL curse is alive and well! I can't understand the insanity of launching so many 3's! Someone tell coach Bud that if the team really had 10 sharp shooters then they would not be an 8 seed in the weak East! Yet they just kept shooting away! And the AJC has the nerve to feature a blog stating that Antic is much more than 3 pointers! Are you serious? He was FLAT OUT TERRIBLE in every phase! Yet he got all kinds of minutes! Brand needs to retire ASAP...he is a statue at there. I mean we let J Smoove go for his poor shot selection and come right back and have a team setting a record for 3 point attempts?!!? Not a team of Bird, Kerr, etc...a team of sub par guys just bombing away. They look like idiots out there! And Milsap looked like Joe Johnson coming up small in a big game. Paul George had 30 and the Hawks' top guy froze up!


And they say ATL has poor sports fans. 1 title (by the Braves back in 1985) from 3 franchises...what in the hell do you expect? ATL SPORTS=INSANITY!!!

Wilbo
Wilbo

Hey, Bradley, what say you for once in your life man up and admit you were dead stinking wrong, and a great many of us were right as rain when we said: "No matter what their strengths, no matter what their opportunities, no matter what their advantages-- the Atlanta Hawks will find a way to blow this series"?


We get it you're paid to be the goofy grinning homer, but can't you just admit one time Atlanta pro sports teams are heartless gutless losers when it really counts? Have you got that kind of emotional courage to tell the truth about the locals. I don't think you do.


Surprise us. Cut the mush mouth homer crap, man up, lay it on the line. Come on. You owe it to your readership to tell the truth at least ONE FREAKING TIME!!!!!!!!!!

JAS0N
JAS0N

Imagine what this team could have done with Horford.  But aren't we always saying imagine what this team could have done...  Atlanta teams will never shock you with their postseason play.  I don't know why that is, they just seem to choke when you expect them to.

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

A nice strategic move would have been to put in Schroeder with Teague at times--a super-fast guard combo that could have thrown the Pacers off-balance again, even with their new smaller line-up.  Gotta make adjustments when the Pacers make adjustments, Coach Bud.  No one on the Pacers could have handled our two fast guards at the same time.  In a Game 7, anything is worth a try.

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

Antic should be released.  The guy was missing all series but just kept shooting.  Much worse than Josh Smith ever was.  Antic was delusional when he should have been unconscious.  You need to be unconscious, in the zone, to justify shooting from so far out so often at his position.  He lost the series, but so did Lou Williams, with his turnover and unnecessary embarrassment-foul at the end of Game 6.

tjhook
tjhook

And thanks for a respectable effort, Hawks

tjhook
tjhook

The Hawks need to trade or draft the two-way big guard that has an above the rim game. Teague and Millsap showed us the potency we needed but a Ginobili - like guard is needed. I suggest we trade for Iman Shumpert while his value is low (first-round pick)

johnnyquest
johnnyquest

*yawn*  Did the Hawks play tonight?

DisgustedFan
DisgustedFan

Not good enough and the FO has to better in the draft than Schroeder and Norgeria. 


Its up to DF to get the job done and get Bud better players - tired of moral victories and excuses

DamonH
DamonH

"The Hawks (Braves/Falcons/G. Tech/UGA) did well, but in the end they didn’t do well enough"

Same ole song and dance for every Atlanta team (but hey, the Hawks can say they won 3 playoff games ... when's the last time the Falcons .. or, lol, the Braves can say that?)

WilliamCoit
WilliamCoit

Atlanta teams don't win championships. They entertain you then disappoint you.

G1
G1

Welcome to ATLANTA sports

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

@JackPod  They had a once-in-a-season second quarter in game 5.  They shot the lights out.  Then they apparently got the desperate idea that the only way to beat the Pacers in game 7 was to do the same exact thing.  

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

@Birdhair  

I tend to agree. I like this team. A lot. I feel better about the Hawks than I have in 2 decades. They went stone cold for 2 games and lost. It was tough on me and I am sure on them. Do they need a couple of more players? Sure. But I think that with another year under this coach and GM and another draft and FAs, they are going to be a load. I may just be delirious about a good showing against a 1 seed who just lost the 1st game to Washington at home, but right now I am scared of any team in the east. Bring it on next year!!

DawgnIT
DawgnIT

@BirdhairFerry is already the 2nd best GM in Atlanta history behind John Schuerholz.

creative
creative

Wow man your pretty angry. It may be time for a life reevaluation if a newspaper column sends you I to a complete tail spin.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@SOB  

Better make that 6 in a row for the Braves. Not surprised, are you?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@ZACKBO50  

That title by the Braves was in '95 (not '85)--a mere 19 years ago.

Ted_Striker
Ted_Striker

@Wilbo  Did you even read the article? Do you read what he writes? Because you aren't talking about the same writer I'm aware of. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@JAS0N  "But aren't we always saying imagine what this team could have done... "

Yes, absolutely. If. Might've. Would've. Could've. Should've. All key words in the theme of ATL pro sports


DawgNole
DawgNole

@WilliamCoit  

I'll have you know they've won a whopping ONE championship in 159 seasons of pro sports competition. Hmph!

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Ted_Striker @Wilbo  Dude, you must be Bradley's cousin or something. If you don't get that he is the complete blind mindless homer, then you are the one who must not have read him.