Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Don't Look Now...

But the Hawks have won three in a row. After hitting rock bottom in the blowout loss to Orlando, the team played Houston very close and has since beaten the Clippers, Knicks, and Wizards fairly convincingly. The Hawks haven't allowed an opponent to hit triple-digits in this four-game stretch, which is nice, although not having to play against an opponent with an above-average offensive point guard has certainly helped. The schedule is quite manageable the rest of the way, which makes me think that a 10-5 finish that would leave the Hawks at a respectable 39-43 (nine games better than last year) is a reasonable goal. A win in New Jersey on Wednesday is absolutely critical for very obvious reasons. The Nets have eked past Cleveland and Utah in their past two games after a five-game Western swing that was even more disastrous than the Hawks' two Western trips this year. This Nets team is simply not very good, so there's no excuse for the Hawks not to beat them. My one concern is that Devin Harris is very quick and could present some problems for Mike Bibby. If you can't tell, I start each Hawks game by worrying about the footspeed of the opposing one. Last night, seeing Antonio Daniels in the starting lineup for Washington was quite reassuring.

So what the hell has happened to the Hawks that they are finally playing a lick of defense? Easier schedule? Lack of opposing ones to exploit the Hawks' primary weakness? Mike Bibby starting to mesh with his new teammates? Maybe I overrated the degree to which the team had tuned Mike Woodson out? Help me out, here.

Just for the record, every time the Hawks start playing well, I think of one of my favorite lines from Raiders of the Lost Ark:

Satipo: Let us hurry. There is nothing to fear here.

Indiana: That's what scares me.

Or do I think of this one from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

Walter Donovan: As you can now see, Dr. Jones, we are on the verge of completing a quest that began almost two thousand years ago. We're just one step away.

Indiana Jones: That's usually when the ground falls out from underneath your feet.

Somehow, a line about a two thousand year quest seems appropriate when discussing the Hawks and the playoffs.

A proper metaphor for being an Atlanta sports fan this winter, no?

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