Atlanta Hawks' Mike Woodson: How One Game Changes Your Perception

Ryne E. HancockCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

ATLANTA - MAY 2:  Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Woodson argues with referee Greg Willard #57 during Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks beat the Bucks 95-74.  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 Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

I’m a firm believer in giving people chances.

When Ty Willingham was feeling the heat at Notre Dame, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I felt that once he got players who fit his system maybe the Irish would be back in contention.

Unfortunately, Willingham would be canned after three years in South Bend.

Similarly, I felt that former CBU women’s basketball coach Scott Groniger deserved another year after the Lady Bucs beat No. 7 Arkansas Tech in February.

However, down the stretch, that opinion changed.

The opinion I had about Groniger and Willingham, was the same one I had about Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson.

Until Tuesday night.

In Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, I saw a Hawks team that looked listless, dead, and any other word that could describe a garbage performance.

The Hawks couldn’t defend Dwight Howard nor make shots and what was once a four-point deficit in the first quarter for the Hawks grew into, at the end a 43-point blowout.

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The lasting image from that game, in my opinion, was the look on Mike Woodson’s face; it was the same look that former Michigan State and Louisville football coach John L. Smith gave against Notre Dame in 2006.

An I-don’t-give-a-damn look.

It has been 49 years since Atlanta reached the conference finals.

Sadly, that drought is going to be extended another year.

And it could also spell the end for Woodson.

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