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News » Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-04-27

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-04-27

Atlanta Hawks Getting Inside 2009-04-27
Even though it looks bleak right now, Mike Bibby swears his Hawks aren't done.

Not yet.

Not with at least two more games to play in their first-round playoff series against Miami.

And not with the Hawks still on their feet, barely, after back-to-back knockout blows from the Heat.

"The series is far from over," he said. "We just have to hit shots. The ball hasn't been going in for us. Their energy and effort is better than ours right now. We need to come out and jump on them Monday."

Monday would be Game 4, the Hawks' Waterloo, if you will.

Few games on the Hawks' schedule the last two years are as important as this season-defining game.

"It's our biggest game of the season, by far," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "Our backs are against the wall right now. Everybody knows it. And we're going to see what we're made of Monday night."

For the Hawks' sake, it better not be the same things they were made of in Saturday night's Game 3 loss to the Heat.

Not only has Dwyane Wade had his way with the Hawks in the last two games, Heat center Jermaine O'Neal has ravaged them as well.

O'Neal dominated inside with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, delivering a throwback performance that Smith and Al Horford have to find a way to curb if they're going to extend this series to a Game 6 or possibly even a Game 7.

"We can't let Jermaine catch the ball on his sweet spot," Smith said. "Even though he's getting a little older, he's still Jermaine O'Neal. You can't disrespect him on the block because he's still got a lot of moves down there. He and Wade got them started early (in Game 3) and it hurt us. It gave everyone else on the court the momentum they needed to get going."

What the Hawks have to do is locate something that will get them going again. Captain and All-Star Joe Johnson is reeling, having struggled in all three games in this series. And with their dismal showing in road games last year and now, the Hawks' average margin of defeat in road playoff games is 26.5 points in their last five games.

"The bottom line is they've been the most aggressive team so far in the series, excluding the first game," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We've got to find some momentum and get back in this series. It's as simple as that."

HEAT 107, HAWKS 78: The bad news came long before the game for the Hawks.

Marvin Williams sat out Saturday's devastating 107-78 Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat with a wrist injury he suffered in the Hawks' Game 2 loss to the Heat.

Williams took a hard fall in Game 2 and did not play the entire fourth quarter. But he practiced Friday in Atlanta before the Hawks departed for South Florida. So seeing him standing in a sports coat on the side of the court during warmups, a soft black cast on his wrist, didn't help.

The same injury bug that ravaged the Hawks' ranks all season reared its cruel head in the postseason, too -- on the same night Heat superstar Dwyane Wade decided to make the Hawks his personal punching bag.

The NBA scoring champ toyed with the Hawks for much of Saturday's virtuoso performance -- he led the Heat with 29 points, eight assists and four blocks and also had seven rebounds.

"If we don't find a way to slow him and the Heat down, we're going to keep getting our heads busted like this," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "We're up against it now. And we've got look at ourselves in the mirror and realize that we can't get out of this mess without doing it together."

While the Hawks have looked like a fragile bunch coming apart under the pressure of the playoff glare, the Heat is playing inspired basketball.

They collected a franchise-record 12 blocks, sending the message yet again that if the Hawks thought they have an easy path after their Games 1 blowout of the Heat, they were badly mistaken.

After a Wade-led 3-point barrage (15-for-26) buried the Hawks in Wednesday's Game 2 loss, the Hawks insisted there was no way the Heat would shoot that well again.

Wade and the Heat made a mockery of that theory, shredding the Hawks for 12 more 3-pointers Saturday.

"We came out and talked about hitting them first and not letting things get out of hand early like they did in Game 2," Hawks point guard Mike Bibby said. "But we let them hit us first again. Wade started hitting some 3-pointers. (Daequan) Cook started hitting some 3-pointers. They all started hitting shots, and it was tough for us from there."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 27, 2009


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