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Atlanta Hawks Need a “Heart Transplant”

Jaime IrvineCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

ATLANTA - MAY 09:  Maurice Evans #1 of the Atlanta Hawks dunks against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 9, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Saturday, I was hurrying home to watch Game Three of the Atlanta-Cleveland series. I was listening to the pre-game on ESPN, when  Jim Durham asked Dr. Jack Ramsey what he thought Atlanta needed to do. Dr. Jack said, "first of all, they need a heart transplant." He went on to say that they had not been competitive enough and had to play harder.

Dr. Jack has never been one to mince words that is why I have so much respect for him. There’s no BS to him. I had not seen a lot of the first two games. I know Dr. Jack had, so if he said something like that, which is mighty strong, it must have been true.

So as I’m watching the game, I cannot get the “heart transplant” remark out of my head. I keep watching Atlanta, wondering if they would quit. They got down by 11 in the third, and again “heart transplant” comes to mind.

Then bam, what happens?  Atlanta came storming back, to take a one point lead. The Crowd is roaring, players all pumped up. No quitting here. Then LeBron takes over playing beyond spectacular, literally taking the heart out of Atlanta.  You could see Atlanta’s body language drop with every great  play LeBron made.

They got completely out of sync, and Cleveland destroyed them. One of the things that was most disturbing was Atlanta’s reluctance to step up in rotations as Lebron would drive. Lebron would drive and the seas would part in a way that would have made Moses proud, and I’m not talking about Malone.

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Yesterday, I watched the Fourth Game in the Lakers-Rockets series. Losing Yao was such a blow and I was curious how the Rockets would react. Well, everybody stepped up and the Rockets competed their asses off. Anybody who likes basketball had to enjoy that effort. Even the most ardent Laker fan had to respect the effort they gave.

No ”heart transplant” needed here, and you have to respect the fact that the Lakers didn’t quit either. I was quite surprised when Kobe came back into the game at the middle of the fourth, down by over 20 points. The Lakers kept playing and made the final score respectable.

One last thing, ever since Yao has come into the league I have heard nothing but good things about him, especially from the people who either play with him or coach him?  Everyone seems to like this guy—a class act.  

I loved the way he reacted during the interview while he was on the bench during the game.You could tell it was the last thing he wanted to do. He was trying to be polite and he was polite, but he did not want to miss one of his team’s plays. I feel badly for Yao and the Rockets. Tough, tough break, no pun intended.

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