Just finished watching the Hawks play Orlando in their final regular season matchup. These two, as I’ve been predicting since February, will tangle in the first round of the playofs. Even though Atlanta seems locked in the fifth seed in the playoffs, the Hawks haven’t been wowing the Atlanta area. Maybe it’s the ugly home losses, the inability to show a pulse against the NBA’s elite (but there are exceptions), or just the general blahness of the roster, but nobody doesn’t think they will do anything. I would tend to agree, but, after an 85-82 win over the Magic, Atlanta won the season series 3-1 (including a sweep of the two games in Atlanta). These teams haven’t played since last year. Atlanta was up by 8 after three, and allowed Orlando to come back to two in the final moment. While people might have expected a choke, it didn’t come tonight. Josh Smith had 26 (including 3-4 from three) to lead the Hawks. Joe had 18. Al had 11. Marvin had 10 from off the bench. Jason Collins started at center. He only had 3 points, but the last one was a big foul shot at the end, forcing Orlando to attempt (and miss badly) a desperation heave from outside the arc for the tie. Jameer Nelson had 20 for Orlando and Dwight Howard had 17.
Atlanta does have the season victory, and have won three in a row against the Magic. When these two next meet in a few weeks in the playoffs, it will really count. Is it possible that Orlando held something back in anticipation of what is upcoming? Maybe. They don’t want to show all their hand. They could lull Atlanta into a false sense of security. It’s entirely possible. But some teams just have the number of other clubs. This season, the Hawks could just own the Magic. Several trends benefit the Hawks. They play better on the road, and when they do come home, Orlando is a team they have success against. It will be a very interesting series. I’m cautiously optimistic. While they did play well tonight, I want to see how they fare against the Celts on Friday. It’s another elite team, and the Hawks, while not playing in the second round just yet, need to at least see how they fare against a potential opponent. And hey, Opening Day is tomorrow! It’s about time. It’s another march of the calendar. (which means spring football is almost over, and then the true fall countdown can begin).
About the Author
Written by John Morgo
John Morgo lives in Atlanta, GA where he has done broadcast work for CNN, The Weather Channel and Encompass Digital Media. As of right now, he does Internet play-by-play for Georgia Perimeter College and Norcross High School. With GPC, he is the voice of the men's soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.