Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hawks gear up for another predictable conclusion

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 9:16 PM

As the Lebron- and Shaq-less Cleveland Cavaliers venture into Philips Arena tonight for the regular season finale, fans in attendance shouldn't be expecting to see much of a show inside the Highlight Factory.

With a projected starting lineup of Jawad Williams, J.J. Hickson, Antawn Jamison, Sebastian Telfair and Jamario Moon, Cavs' head coach Mike Brown has made it clear that he won't be hopping aboard the Lebron-train until playoff time.

Cleveland has locked up the No. 1 overall seed and certainly wouldn't want to lose "The Witnessed One" to a Brandon Roy an injury before the start of the NBA's third trimester—more commonly referred to as the postseason.

The Hawks are guaranteed of being the Eastern Conference No. 3-seed in this year's NBA Playoffs, but that isn't the only thing that's certain for a Hawks club that posted its best record—52-29—since the 1996-97 season.

Perhaps the most predictable of the four major professional sports leagues, the NBA rarely provides comparable Cinderella stories like the Tampa Bay Rays' run to the 2008 World Series or the Arizona Cardinals' appearance in Super Bowl XLIII.

Since 2000, only one team seeded lower than third even reached the NBA Finals—the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks in 2006—with just three of those teams not seeded in the top two spots winning it all.

I know what you're saying: Haven't No. 3 seeds won the Title before?

Sure they have—the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons fill that bill.

Even last season provided some sense of parity and hope for the Hawks chances in 2010.

While the Orlando Magic reached the Finals last year as a No. 3-seed, they enter the 2010 playoffs in the No.2 slot and will likely be the hurdle the Hawks must overcome if they wish to reach their first Conference Finals series in team history.

That's right—in 40-plus years of existence, the Atlanta Hawks have yet to reach the Conference Finals.

So why argue with a near-half century of ineptitude and the perpetuation of the least dramatic postseason in all of sports?

I sure won't and neither should you.

2010 Forecast: Hawks lose in the Conference Semis for the fourteenth time in franchise history. How's that for predictability?

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