No Need to Panic

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
By Jon Newberry

It is just one game. No. It was just one quarter.

Many will go on and on about the unimaginable offensive breakdown in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s loss to the Cavs. It was crazy, I will give you that, but trying to draw conclusions about the Hawks (or Cavs) as a whole based on that 8 minutes and 48 seconds would be a mistake.

I will make a bold statement – The Hawks were one basket away from winning the game tonight. One basket in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter and 1) the Hawks take the lead, 2) everyone takes a deep breath and refocuses. As it was, that basket never came. It was a cold spell when everyone fell a little out of rhythm. Don’t try to tell me that “the pressure got to them”. The Hawks have won close games in hostile environments and in the Highlight Factory. Sometimes there are cold spells that can’t be explained. The Cavs defense is good, but it did nothing to make two of the Hawks best free throw shooters miss three in a row.

Even with the absurd drought, the Hawks fought back to within five points in the final minute and had the other team’s back-up center shooting a 3-pointer from the corner. Ilgauskas is not your typical back-up center when it comes to long-range shooting, but it was still the shot Atlanta wanted to give up. The shot went down, and that was that.

The beauty of the quirk in this year’s schedule is that there is little time to dwell on this “fluke”. The two teams do it all over again tomorrow night in Cleveland. (7pm, Fox Sports South HD)

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