Hawks' Dominance Leaves Heat, "Experts" Puzzled

Brad JamesCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 19: Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts after his team falls behind by 28 points to the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 19, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks defeated the Heat 90-64. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

While I'm pleased with the Mavericks' and 76ers' wins (as ardent supporters of both teams), there was nothing more exciting and decisive in my opinion than the Atlanta Hawks' beatdown of the Miami Heat.

As Josh Smith soared through the thick air of the ATL and brought incomparable joy to the spectators at the Highlight Factory (is that not the coolest nickname in sports?), the look on Erik Spoelstra's face in my caption says it all.

Yes, the Heat can come back in this series so long as my choice for the MVP, Dwyane Wade, laces them up. But the Hawks' dominance has to give the so-called "experts" pause.

From Vancouver to Miami (yes, even NBA analysts on Canadian broadcast outlets TSN and CBC thought the Hawks had no chance) and the likes of Tim Legler and Gros (of Gros and Gas on KJR-AM out of Seattle), many have derided Atlanta as the team everyone wants to face.

I guess that's an inaccurate statement now.

The statistics reveal that elite teams such as the Cavaliers, Celtics (pre-Kevin Garnett injury), Magic and Lakers have all not been themselves when having to face the Hawks on the road.

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In so many instances, the rational fan can only come to the conclusion that the Hawks are for real.

With that said, as Falcons training camp commences in Flowery Branch, Georgia later this year, the future is bright on the gridiron in the ATL.

Matt Ryan will only get better while John Abraham, Harry Douglas and Jerious Norwood will help NFL fans in the city rejoice.

I just have one caution for those desirous to enter the city and partake in this excitement: drive into town. That way, it won't take your luggage an hour to get off the rack at the airport.