Monday, May 11, 2009

Hawks/Cavs - Round 2, Game 4 Recap

We'll leave it to another day for the post-mortem and the offseason needs and review, etc, but let's just leave the real analysis of this specific game to the experts. For us, it hasn't been about the specific games, but rather a psyche that was never built in a fashion that success can sprout from. And so it stands to reason that on a night when the effort was good (not great, but good) - we were not blown out.

While that doesn't change the fact that we haven't lost a playoff game by less than 10 pts, it stands to reason that this is an effort where you can focus on the strategy and tactics that could have changed the game vs. the more troubling reason of 'we just didn't play hard enough.'

Game Recap - Cavs 84, Hawks 74

So, rather than spend a lot of time repeating what we have seen happen throughout most of the playoffs where we complain about (pinch me if you've heard this before) the lack of transition offense, the flawed defensive 'switcheroo' strategy, the lack of offensive poise, the Josh Smith jump shot to dribble up the court ratio (on a night when he admittedly was the best player for the Hawks by far), and schizo substitution patterns - we'll just leave it to the quotes to hopefully tell a story that requires some soul searching and sour offseason 'taste in mouths'.

First up, Joe Johnson:

“I think we can compete against everybody in the league if we believe and we put our mind to it. But honestly, I don’t think we believed we could win this series. We came in hoping we could win, not believing.

“It’s going to be an interesting summer. Hopefully we can keep the pieces in place. But this is a business.”

“I probably had my worst playoffs ever, both the first and second rounds. We got out of the first round but I feel like I could’ve done more for my team.”

“In this league it’s always, ‘What have you done for me lately?’. The regular season is over and done with. We started a fresh, new season in the playoffs. And we were decent in the first round. We did enough to get by. But in this round, we haven’t done anything to make people respect us.”

“It’s a tough pill to swallow for the whole summer. It’s even tougher when you know you didn’t get a chance to put your best foot forward because of all the injuries and stuff we had happen to us. But it’s a learning experience for us. And we’ll come back stronger next year because of all this.”

While we appreciate the comments from Joe, we only would like to know whether Coach Woodson is aware that you played so poorly because according to him, you played well during this playoffs. SMH! And finally, enough with the not putting your best foot forward - that didn't happen because you didn't put your best foot forward. We understand injuries and slumps, but not a lack of belief that you can win or that you will play as hard as you can to achieve that goal.

Let's sum it up with Josh Smith

“We’re not going to go quietly in this series,” he said. “I know people expect us to. I know the [analysts] said we would. That’s just not who we are, though. We’re not that kind of team to just roll over and die for somebody.”

This was before Game 4, but it stands to reason that again - the biggest hurdle that has to be overcome is for the Atlanta Hawks to be honest with themselves before they can hold each other accountable to a standard. There is no doubt that the Hawks have gone quietly in 6 of 7 games this postseason. They absolutely have rolled over and died. As a fan, I'm going to breathe before giving an assessment on the season because right now, it's hard to recapture our low expectations at the start of the season in order to feel good about how this season ended. That said, congrats to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Let's hope other teams show some Cavs vulnerabilities or else we'll have another season of Woodson quotes regarding how the Cavs showed us how to play 'playoff basketball'. Sigh!

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