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News » Team calm following another long series

Team calm following another long series

Team calm following another long series
CLEVELAND --- Having survived the pressure cooker that was Game 7 against Miami on Sunday, the Hawks had a relative calm about them before Tuesday's series opener against Cleveland.

"It's a lot like Boston was last year," Marvin Williams said of the Hawks' battle against the top-seeded Celtics in the first round. "There's no added pressure on us because, if you let people tell it, we don't belong."

The Hawks thrived in that atmosphere against the Celtics, pushing the eventual champs to seven games before getting blown out in the finale.

There's no fear of the unknown this time, now that the Hawks are veterans of back-to-back seven-game series.

"I think the Celtics taught us how to play playoff Basketball," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We were probably scared as hell when we went down there, it being our first time in [the playoffs]. Then we got home and won Game 3, it was a different spin in that series. We got our confidence going, and they truly believed they could beat the Celtics. ... I thought it prepared us for this season."

Making it out of the first round was one of those goals. Anything beyond that, Josh Smith said, is up to the Hawks .

"This series is going to be what we make of it," he said. "We didn't show up here to be somebody's punching bag and just go home."

Williams on the mend

Woodson used Tuesday morning's shootaround practice to take a final look at Williams to make sure he was ready to play after missing four of the final five games of the Miami series and playing only five minutes in Game 6.

While Williams' right wrist remains an issue, both Woodson and Williams believe he can play limited minutes and help try to slow down LeBron James and the rest of Cleveland's frontcourt.

"I'm going to start working him back in with some minutes now that we're in a new series," Woodson said. "He told me this morning he was good to go, so we've got to try to work his minutes up, at least to 20 minutes. If I can give him more, I'll give him more."

Williams said he shot a little bit Tuesday and his wrist still bothered him, but it's a pain that won't go away soon. "It's going to be what it is," Williams said. "I can play through it, though. So I'm not stressing it. I think the days I spent not shooting at all really helped me."

Horford's assignment

Hawks center Al Horford never got into a groove against the Heat --- and that was before he injured his right ankle in the Hawks' Game 5 victory.

He averaged 8.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in six games against the Heat. Horford sat out Game 6 nursing that sprained ankle, time off that Woodson said was crucial to his being able to play 32 minutes in Game 7.

Now he'll have to deal with Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who at 7-foot-3 presents matchup issues for the 6-10 Horford.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 6, 2009


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