NBA Playoffs 2011: Atlanta vs. Orlando; Why the Hawks Can Beat the Magic

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NBA Playoffs 2011: Atlanta vs. Orlando; Why the Hawks Can Beat the Magic
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have had another successful regular season that has earned the franchise another trip to the NBA playoffs.

But making the playoffs for the Hawks has become the norm in recent years for the city of Atlanta. The Hawks have been building its team for more than a few seasons now, and it is time for this group to prove its status in the league and make a run in the playoffs.

The Hawks couldn’t have asked for a better first-round matchup in their playoff Grim Reaper and division foe Orlando Magic.

In last year’s playoffs, it was one of the worst four-game pure beat downs in NBA history. Orlando defeated Atlanta by a combined total of more 100 points, including by a total of 44 points in the two home games at “The Highlight Factory”.

Losing is one thing. It’s a game. There is always going to be a winner and loser, and sometimes, it just is not your time. But to lose the way the Hawks did was embarrassing. The team, players and coaches appeared to just give up on the court and in front of their home crowd. Change was no longer an option, it was a must.

Former head coach Mike Woodson was relieved of his position after bringing Atlanta from a doormat in the NBA, to a legitimate playoff team. While he and the Hawks were having the success that many thought the team was capable of, it just was not enough to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Larry Drew, Woodson’s assistant, was promoted to succeed him, and the Hawks retained their All-Star and franchise player Joe Johnson with a six-year deal worth $119 million.

It was the same team and coaching staff for much of the season, until February when the Hawks traded veteran point guard Mike Bibby to the Washington Wizards for a younger veteran point guard Kirk Hinrich.

Now is the time for the Atlanta Hawks to act like their fellow Atlanta sports team the Atlanta Falcons and “Rise Up.” It is time to begin the next chapter in the franchise’s history with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Hawks took the season series against the Orlando Magic 3-1 and have the formula to the equation—beating the Magic in the playoffs and then making their run.

Here’s how the Hawks will accomplish this goal.

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