Not long ago, I stated that the Atlanta Hawks had become an awful basketball team that was rebuilding on account of not being a contender yet, but was having a lost season or two as the consequence of that rebuild. We were playing absolutely atrocious basketball! In particular, we actually lost twice to the Nets.
But then something happened: the team turned around in our last five games. First, we beat Boston, which wound up getting the #1 seed in the East. Then we blew the Cavs out of Cleveland despite being banged-up. Then we played them again and overcame a 26-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win again. Then there were lesser opponents in the Hornets. We smashed them! We did lose the last game, but with second-stringers playing because we were already thinking about the playoffs.
What happened? First, we stopped turning over the ball with reckless abandon. Second, we starting shooting straight. Dennis Schroder actually seems like a starting point guard now. Third, Dwight Howard hasn’t been committing so many fouls anymore. The last one is a biggie. Without those blunders, it’s a lot easier to see how good he is at getting rebounds and playing defense.
So now we’re hot coming into the playoffs against a division rival. Personally, I hate the Celtics, Heat, and Hornets more, but the Wizards will do. They beat us last time, but we were in the awful stretch I was just talking about. Of course, the Wizards are not last year’s mediocre team. No, they’ve won forty-nine games, thus seem to be one of the few threats to the Cavs’ third straight Eastern Conference title.
Having said that, we have been beating great teams. The way we’ve been playing, we shouldn’t be counted out of this series.
This series does mean something for both teams. We met the Wizards two years ago in the playoffs and won 4-2. That hasn’t been forgotten by either team. So maybe we got ourselves a rivalry here. True to Atlanta!