NOW it's Official

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By Jon Newberry

Tonight’s win against the Magic was big, and not because it clinched the Hawks third straight playoff appearance. (Visit the Hawks playoff mini-site) Atlanta avoided a season sweep by Orlando and may have figured something out in the process. Overall, the Hawks did not shoot well tonight, but they made sure the Magic shot even worse after a dismal start.

With Joe and Jamal the Hawks have two of the best one on one scorers in the league, but they are scorers that rely largely on being able to drill jump shots when given space. Tonight neither one found their groove from the outside, although neither was ice cold. The next tier of options is usually Horford and Smoove, but with Superman patrolling the inside it is tough to live in the paint against the Magic.

Enough about what didn’t work offensively. Mo Evans worked. He scored 10 of the Hawks first 26 points and provided a lift when points were extremely hard to come by. Simply put, he made plays. It is not the first time he has done it this season, but it was his biggest role in possibly the biggest game.

The Magic made their run in the playoffs by using seven or eight players that weren’t afraid to make plays in big games. So let’s take stock in what the Hawks have to work with come this postseason.

– Mo Evans (see tonight)
– Joe Johnson (see Buzzer Beater vs. Charlotte, Game 4 in 2008, and Game 7 in 2009)
– Jamal Crawford (his nickname is “The Difference”, see HERE
– Josh Smith (see HERE and HERE)
– Al Horford (see San Antonio and recent stretch of games or dig up some Florida highlights)
– Zaza Pachulia (see Game 4 vs. Miami last year)
– Mike Bibby (see tonight’s stat line, and a 12-year career of clutch 3’s and assists)
– Marvin Williams (see 1st half last Sunday)

That is eight deep that can make the big play on the big stage (we will wait to see how big of a role Joe Smith and Teague play during the postseason). Helps you understand why no one is too excited about a seven-game series with the Hawks.