Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Depressing Hawks stuff...

It is a well known fact amongst hard-core Atlanta Hawks fans. Since moving to Atlanta, the team has never reached the Conference Finals. The last 2 seasons have placed an exclamation mark on that stat because it is clear the team isn’t close to reaching that elusive playoff round.

However, it is even more disturbing to look back at the history of the franchise in this Conference semi-finals round. It isn’t just 4-5 times they have gone to the Conference Semi’s and lost – or even 9 or 10 – but 14 times. That’s right, 0-14 in the Conference Semi-final round since moving to Atlanta . Here’s a quick recap:

2010 – Swept in 4 games by Orlando

2009 – Swept in 4 games by Cleveland

1999 – Swept in 4 games by New York

1997 – Lost in 5 games to Chicago

1996 – Lost in 5 games to Orlando

1994 – Lost in 6 games to Indiana

1988 – Lost in 7 games to Boston

1987 – Lost in 5 games to Detroit

1986 – Lost in 5 games to Boston

1980 – Lost in 5 games to Philadelphia

1979 – Lost in 7 games to Washington

1973 – Lost in 6 games to Boston

1972 – Lost in 6 games to Boston

1971 – Lost in 5 games to New York

That’s 0 for their last 12, 2 for their last 22, and an overall record of 18-56 in this cursed round.

Clearly, the best shot for this team to advance to the Conference Finals was 1988, where the team had a 3-2 series lead versus Boston and had Game 6 at the Omni. They lose by 2 at home in Game 6, and then by 2 again in Game 7 at Boston Garden.

The 1979 team also forced a Game 7 by blowing out Washington in Game 6 at home, but were beaten by 6 in the decisive Game 7.

Of teams that have been around as long as the Hawks, only the Clippers have not at least made the Conference Finals. In fact, every team that has been around since 1970 has made at least the NBA Finals except Atlanta, LAC, Sacramento, and Denver.

Now that the Falcons back-to-back winning seasons curse is gone, is this the new curse for Atlanta? There are certainly other options, but this run is pretty bad and has covered 40 years now. And the team has fittingly thrown in the last 2 seasons results to make things a little more painful...


William said...

"The last 2 seasons have placed an exclamation mark on that stat because it is clear the team isn’t close to reaching that elusive playoff round."

I think the last two seasons have been representative of the Hawks entire history in Atlanta (at least as far as I can go back), the Hawks always seem to be able to put together solid teams that are near contenders but just not good enough to be a legitimate contender.

Looking at that list, 1994 is the only year I can remember thinking (going into the playoffs) that the Hawks really should have advanced, every other year they've just been solid, but not what I would think of as a legit contender.

Jeff said...

Good, but not great. I went to game 1 in the 1st round in 1994 when the brawl broke out. That team was good, but almost became the first #1 seed to lose in the 1st round to Miami and Steve Smith.

That squad also had fits with Indiana. I remember feeling as hopeless in that Indiana series as I did the past 2 years against ORL and CLE.

William said...

I was telling my brother-in-law (he was upset about the Woodson decision) the other day that the Hawks are at a point with this current team where they have to make a tough decision- are they going to be content to just have another 4/5/6 year run of "good, but not great" teams like they've had in the past or do they want to take a shot at greatness (knowing it could backfire on them, ala 1999)? It's a tough decision for sure.

Inspired by your post I looked up some of the Hawks playoff failures, surprisingly the 86-87 team looks like that actually should have been their best chance to win something, everybody always focuses on the 87-88 team that lost to Boston.