The Hawks head into Game 4 down 3-0. On paper, the hole is insurmountable. Teams are 0-116 when trailing 3-0, and the Hawks are decimated with injuries. However, Game 3 showed us one thing about this Hawks team, they are going to keep fighting until the final whistle. In Game 3, Jeff Teague led the way becoming just the second Hawk all season to score 30 points in a single game. Teague has to be aggressive again in Game 4, but a lot more needs to happen for the Hawks to avoid being swept.
Coach Budenholzer should allocate the minutes about the same way he did in Game 3. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack combined for 60 minutes and pitched in 21 points. Their play kept the Hawks in the game after Al Horford’s unfortunate ejection. Both of these guys should continue to get minutes and get shots. The Hawks have really struggled to score all playoffs, and Mack and Scott can shoot the rock. A hot night from either of these players could carry the Hawks to a victory. Al Horford will not be facing any additional discipline after his ejection in Game 3. In order to win on the road in an elimination game, the Hawks desperately need Horford’s energy and heart. Horford is the heart and soul of Hawks basketball. He is one of the few guys on the team that is used to big moments. Expect Horford to come out with a lot of fire after being controversially ejected in Game 3. Another controversial aspect of this series has been the way the Hawks have gone about guarding Lebron James. James has been spectacular this series, but it has been his teammates that have pushed the Cavs pass the Hawks every night. The constant double teaming of James have left open shots for three-point shooters. While I agree with the occasional double teams off screens and pick and rolls, it obviously does not work all the time. The Hawks need to let Carroll play Lebron one on one, and make Lebron score 50 by himself to beat them because letting Shumpert, Smith and Jones shoot a lot of open threes is a recipe for disaster.
The Hawks need to get back to their roots in Game 4. Ball movement, team defense, and trust will keep them from getting swept. One thing we do know is the Hawks will play with a lot of heart and will not go down without a fight. The task at hand might be impossible, but all of Atlanta should tune in for this game, because if it is the last game, you will be disappointed in missing one of the greatest Hawks teams in history play together as a unit.