Perhaps it was Bango’s resilience in returning from a knee injury to throw down an incredible dunk that has inspired the Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe they received a shot in the arm after their star center Andrew Bogut went down with a gruesome elbow injury that has prevented him from seeing any playoff action to this point. Whatever the case, after taking the first two games of their opening round series with Milwaukee, the Atlanta Hawks now trail the series 3-2 and find themselves on the brink of elimination.
The nail may have been driven into the coffin Wednesday night, when Atlanta blew a nine-point lead with 3:55 left to play in the game. Yes, I understand that it’s a seven-game series and you play the games for a reason, but if you believe that there is such a thing as momentum in an NBA playoff series, the Hawks could be finished. Atlanta is now forced to head to Milwaukee — where the noise in the Bradley Center is certain to be deafening — and either win and go home (to play Game 7), or lose and go home (to play golf).
The way this series has played out is kind of ironic, don’t you think? Two years ago, the Hawks were the underdogs, pushing the powerhouse team to seven games when no one gave them a chance. The No. 1 seeded Celtics — who later went on to beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals — took care of business at home and lead the series 2-0 before heading to Atlanta. The Hawks then clawed their way back and found themselves with a chance to knock off the future champs, but lost Game 7 in Boston. Sometimes it’s not easy being the favorite, and you’ve got to think Atlanta now has a pretty good understanding of that concept. We’ll see if they can handle the pressure the way the Celtics did two years ago.Google+