Ok, here we go with Round 2 again. This makes 3 years in a row and the 15th time since moving to Atlanta that the Hawks have advanced past the 1st round. As most of you know, and if you don't it was detailed here, the franchise is 0-14 in this cursed round. A quick refresher of the years and results since 1971:
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 YorkThe last time the Hawks won a game in the 2nd round was Game 2 in 1997 at Chicago, just a few weeks before my high school graduation (I'm 32). Steve Smith poured in 27, Mookie had 26, and Deke grabbed 15 boards as the Hawks won in Chicago (the only home playoff loss that championship season).
So, the losing streak sits at 15 in Round 2 since that win in Chicago, which is where the team tips off Game 1 tonight. Do they break the streak and compete in the series against the #1 seed with the league MVP (as they did in 97) or will they fold like they did in 99, 09, and 10?
I actually felt pretty good about their chances to complete if Kirk Hinrich was available. He has been a pest for Derrick Rose this year and is another guy that can knock down a jumper, something you need to do against a Tom Thibodeau defense.
Keys to the series...Hopefully, Boozer is banged up enough that he won't be a huge factor and Al Horford dominates as he did in the March 2nd game against Chicago, when he went for 31/16. Joe and Josh need to show up each night and contribute close to their season averages. Finally, Teague will be forced into action, so good decision making and getting the team going in transition will be key.
So, my prediction for this series is the Hawks get the Round 2 cob-webs dusted off and get 2 games, but fall at home in Game 6 as the Bulls win 4 games to 2.
Thoughts on the series?