No amount of film work or practice time is going to cure the main problem the Hawks have had with the Cleveland Cavaliers through two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals. "They're beating us to the punch every time, on both ends of the floor," said Hawks swingman Mo Evans. "It's not even funny."
Evans wasn't interested in using the Hawks' mounting injuries as an excuse for the way they performed in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, when they lost by a combined 47 points.
"Honestly, I don't think that, even if we were 100 percent, it would have made a difference," he said. "Not with the effort we gave. I think they come out and they are playing team Basketball on both ends of the floor. That's something we have to get back to."
Still, Evans is like the rest of the men in the Hawks locker room in that he believes there's still an opening for his team to turn things around in Game 3 at Philips Arena.
Bench makes its mark
A lead that was as large as 36 points in Game 2 was ultimately trimmed to 20 points by the end of the game.
Credit the Hawks' bench players, who worked most of the fourth quarter against Cleveland's reserves, for making sure the Hawks didn't get blown away completely. Their effort and resolve certainly struck a chord with the Hawks' regulars, who praised their teammates for showing the resolve they did not while they were on the floor.
"I thought they came in and played with a lot of energy and a lot of heart," said Hawks captain and All-Star Joe Johnson, who watched from the locker room as the medical staff tended to his sprained right ankle. Thomas Gardner was the Hawks' second-leading scorer in the game, behind Evans who had with 16, with 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting.