The Atlanta Hawks are going toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Nets right now in a win or go home series. The last game ended with 10 points the difference in a misleading victory of 107-97 for the Hawks. Ten points may separate the final score, but the series is as dead even as it can get and I believe this series is going to the full 7 games.
The Hawks-Nets series just feels like it won’t end. From a commanding lead of 2 games to zero, the once mighty Hawks have tumbled even with the Nets. The 8th seed in the Eastern Conference had with the second worst losing record and now the Nets are one game behind the once high-flying Hawks.
Only in game four has both teams exceeded 100 points which I believe is an outlier in this series because they went to overtime. Yes, I know the Hawks scored 99 in game one of the series, but they should have topped the Nets by a few more baskets.
So now, it’s win or go home. What can we expect? Maybe the Hawks will wake up and avoid going down to an 8th seed which has happened just a few times in the history of the NBA Playoffs.
TO THE INTERWEB TIME-MACHINE!!!
It was 1994. The Supersonics v. Nuggets. This series gave birth to the legend that was and is Dikembe Mutombo. This is where we get the iconic image of Mutombo clutching the ball after grabbing the last rebound of the game while lying on the court in elation as his teammates smothered him. This video is worth watching to the end.
That image followed Mutombo throughout his career and struck fear in the hearts of offenses. Aside form the recent commercials, it’s the first image that pops into my head when someone mentions his name. Sadly, this Cinderella story ended with the Utah Jazz beating the Nuggets in the next round of that year.
1999. People wondered if “Y2K” was going to “Wipe them out.” And the New York Knickerbockers rampaged through the NBA Playoffs. Yes, folks the only 8th seed to ever reach the finals was scrappy team led by…wait for it…Latrell Sprewell. That season is generally bitter sweet for some Knick fans, because it was the season John Starks was traded for Sprewell and Charles Oakley was shown the door for Marcus Camby. Yes, that Marcus “The Glass” Camby. It was during this playoff run that Patrick Ewing sat with a partially torn Achilles tendon. It was during this playoff run that Larry “Grandma” Johnson scored his now famous four-point play.
We all know the Knicks failed to win the title as David Robinson and Tim Duncan took home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But think about it with injuries and a patchwork team, the Knicks knocked around with the San Antonio Spurs for five games. That is the promise of the underdog.
Right now, even though they are the top seed, the Hawks are playing like the underdog and the Nets are lock-step with them.
This is why we write things down. So we remember it. It’s called history.
So where does that put the 2015 Hawks-Nets series? Nowhere, right now. But the Nets have the scrap and grit to take the limping Hawks for the full 7-game ride. Unless the Hawks revive themselves into the high flying machine they were earlier this season.
Last year, the Nets ended the season at 44-38. This year, they ended it 38-44. It’s been a topsy-turvy year since exiting the 2014 playoffs in the Semi-finals. On the other end of the court, the Hawks have made a huge turn-around since ending the 2014 season 38-44 and exiting the playoffs in the first round.
Did you see the numbers there? Did you see the similarity? That’s why this is the closest 1-to-8 seeding I’ve seen in a while. Even though these two teams have six other teams between them, they are similar when you look at where they have come from and where they’ve been.
Is this a rare occurrence? Yes. Would I bet he house on it? No. Am I going to watch this series because I think either team is good enough to break out in the next round? Yes. I suggest you watch this series too and be sure to have fun in your Draftkings leagues.
Till next time, never tell me the odds and follow me @Deepdfspicks.