Listless Hawks one step from elimination

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

The Atlanta Hawks had all the intensity of a morgue when they were spanked 101-79 by the Boston Celtics Sunday night in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

And even that might be giving them too much credit, because employees at the morgue usually come prepared to work.

In a game the Hawks trailed by double digits for nearly the entire night, we can point to the return of Al Horford as the one positive from an evening that has to be forgotten quickly if a comeback is going to be staged. But I can say with a lot of confidence that last night was the death of the Hawks’ 2011-12 season.

Game 5 will be the night where they are lowered into the ground. And, yes, every Boston fan in Atlanta will show up to witness the burial and make sure you can hear them. Because they really like to be heard.

Might as well get it all out of your system, Boston fan who swears your hometown is better than the South, yet you live here anyway. It’s going to be a long summer of Red Sox Baseball.

The Celtics deserve plenty of credit for what they’ve done to an injury-riddled opponent, with an injury-riddled roster. Last night’s performance showed that one team saw the Chicago Bulls go down 3-1 in their series with the Philadelphia 76ers, and thus saw an opening to make a deep run in the postseason.

And that team was not the Hawks.

Read More: Why Atlanta can’t get behind their Hawks

This series was supposed to be one of the most exciting of the first round — seven games of pure excitement. That’s not going to happen now, and the Hawks are completely at fault for that.

Of course, I didn’t care if the series was pretty and basketball fans were entertained. I just wanted to see my team advance to the second round and send Boston home.

Game 4 was frustrating, in part, because Boston shot the lights out. There’s nothing you can do about Paul Pierce shooting 10-for-13 from the floor when almost every shot was heavily contested. It’s hard to slow Rajon Rondo when he’s seeing the court as well as he did Sunday night: his 16 assists kept the offense rolling.

But when you see your opponent can’t miss, laziness with the basketball becomes a death sentence. The Hawks were victimized by Boston’s 10 steals in Game 4, and every bit of momentum the Hawks had was taken away every time the ball changed possessions.

The Hawks knew Boston had a game like this in them, yet they casually dropped a crucial Game 2 at home and didn’t take advantage of their opportunity to win Game 3. When you play with fire, as the saying goes, you’re going to get burned.

In Game 4, the Hawks were buried … figuratively. The wake will follow, because we’ve seen this Hawks team before, and they’re not going to win three games in a row against a hungry Boston bunch.

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