It seems like deja vu all over again, doesn’t it? Think back to last year’s First Round series against the Boston Celtics. Now while the Hawk’s role has reversed (e.g. going from the 8-seed underdog last year to the 4th seed-favorite this year), in a way this series has been very reminicent in the sense that the Hawks have looked like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Each of the first six games have been decided by double-digits, with the Hawks naturally looking like world beaters in three of the games and a JV basketball squad in the other three. One difference between this series and last year’s first round matchup against the C’s (besides the complete lack of playoff experience last year’s squad had) was that the Hawks managed to win their first road playoff game since 1997 (which was against the 69-13 Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, who were on their way to their 2nd straight championship and 5th Title of the Michael Jordan era). The other one (and it’s a big one) is that this time around, Game 7 will be in Atlanta.
If history is an indicator, depending on which historical trend you view things, the Hawks could be in trouble. On one hand, the Hawks are 2-8 all-time in Game 7’s (2-6 when they were the St. Louis Hawks and 0-3 since moving from St. Louis to Atlanta in 1968). On the other, they are 2-0 when hosting Game 7. Add in the fact that on top of trying to win their first Game 7 since 1961, the Hawks are also attempting to win their first playoff series in 10 years and you can see that quite a lot is on the line for the Hawks when it comes to historical playoff trends.
And before I sign off, I would look to leave each of you with one final trend to consider: the last Atlanta pro sports franchise to advance out of the first round was the 2004 Atlanta Falcons, who crushed the St. Louis Rams 47-17 in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs on January 15th, 2005 before eventually losing in the NFC Championship Game to the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s been almost 4.5 years since Atlanta fans have been able to see one of their hometown teams win a series/game (in the case of the NFL). Go big or go home, Hawks.