Isn't this what we asked for?
We all wanted the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. No one wanted to play Charlotte because historically they play the Hawks really well and they're coached by one of the best to ever do it.
We didn't want to play Miami, because they were on fire at the end of the season and honestly, last year's series was painful to watch, even for Hawks fans. No one wanted to see that again.
We all wanted the Andrew Bogutless Bucks. Well we got them, and now the Hawks are on the verge of elimination.
One could point to any number of reasons that the Hawks are one game away from going fishing. Coaching, effort, bad shots, defense..... all of these are valid reasons, but the real reason they're one game away from elimination is arrogance.
Let's have an honest moment real quick.
The Hawks won 53 games during the regular season and finished third in the eastern conference. The Bucks won 47 games and finished sixth in the conference after losing their best player. This series was set up for the Hawks to win. They were a better team than Milwaukee even when Andrew Bogut was healthy. You knew it, I knew it, the team knew it. The problem is we all strutted into this series thinking that would be enough. The Bucks are without their best player (or players depending on your view of Michael Redd's impact on the team for the few games he was healthy) Meanwhile, no team was more fortunate on the injury front than the Atlanta Hawks. They didn't have to deal with anything other than the usual wear and tear of an 82 game season.
Okay this is taking too long. To hell with all this setting the scene crap. The Hawks took the Bucks lightly. They said otherwise before the series started, but deep down inside they did. They wanted to play Milwaukee for the same reason we wanted them to play Milwaukee. We saw them as a wounded team. Hell, I didn't think this series would take more than 5 games, and that was before the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead. After they did that, I didn't see any reason why this series should have gone more than 4 games. That's the level of arrogance I had, and whether or not the Hawks win or lose this series has nothing to do with me. If I was that confident, you know where their confidence level had to be. After Game 3 Brandon Jennings said "I felt like they were a little bit cocky," Jennings said Sunday. "They came in like, 'OK, it's Milwaukee, we're up 2-0.' I mean, that's just how I felt. I felt like they thought they were just going to come in and just blow us out. I think with the crowd, and the way we came out, it just changed everything."
He was right. You know it and I know it. Even after the Bucks thoroughly whipped their asses, we/they were still arrogant. As usual, the main reason given for the defeat was effort. This team as a whole thinks effort is the only reason they ever lose games. If they don't acknowledge the adjustments that Scott Skiles made against them, how can they adjust to those adjustments? They can't and you see it playing out. That's arrogance on the part of the head coach.
The bottom line is we were all arrogant, and in reality we had no right to be. We've seen the fourth quarter collapses on too many occasions this season as detailed by hoopinion. We knew this wasn't a good road team. We knew the playoffs were all about adjustments and the head coach of this team is either incapable of, or unwilling to make them. We knew this team had issues with committing to the things they do well. Knowing all of these things, we still thought the Hawks would win this series easily. Arrogance was their undoing. It led to the bad coaching, the bad defense, the bad shot selection and the lack of effort. They thought they could just show up and the series would play out how it was supposed to. Well, they're one game away from elimination, so perhaps we should all replace our arrogance with a little humility.
For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog