Given the up-and-down performances of the Hawks in this postseason, I realize the last thing anybody wants to do is start making assumptions. But history suggests tonight’s Game 5 against Washington is more than a little significant.
The series is tied at 2-2. In NBA playoff history, the team that won Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead has gone on to win a best-of-seven series 147 out of 180 times (81.7 percent). Those numbers include the last time the Hawks were in this situation: They were tied 2-2 with Brooklyn in the first round, then won Game 5 at home and eliminated the Nets in Game 6.
Do I think the Hawks will win? Yes — but I have no idea why. There’s my scientific breakdown.
But maybe they learned something in Monday night’s win at Washington, easily their best performance of the series. The Hawks have played better when they feel desperate. They had better feel desperate tonight because they don’t want to be facing an elimination game going back to D.C. For more on that, click here:
Now, about injuries:
• DeMarre Carroll, who complained of a possible hip pointer following Game 4 when he smacked into Washington’s Nene Hilario on a possibly illegal pick, will start. When asked about his hip following the morning shoot-around, Carroll said this: “What hip?”
Sort of reminds me of this scene from “Young Frankenstein” when Igor (Gene ) was asked about his hump by Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder):
• Washington says point guard John Wall, who has been out since suffering multiple non-displaced fractures in his left hand in Game 1 (10 days ago, is a game-time decision. That’s often code for, “We know but we’re not telling you.” (I’ll update this following coach Randy Wittman’s pre-game news conference.)
Wall has been doing light dribbling with his left hand. When asked whether he had taken any contact on the hand, Wall was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “I be smacking it around myself.”
UPDATE: Wall is starting. He looked good taking several jump shots in warmups without a wrap on his left hand.
Feel free to follow with your thoughts on Game 6 below.
•Recent ramblings — MyAJC: Desperation shouldn’t be Hawks’ prime motivator — MyAJC: Brady, Patriots got what they deserved — AJC: Another lesson for Brady, Patriots: Don’t cheat, don’t lie — MyAJC: Jalen Collins determined to make Falcons’ pick look good — AJC: Wall’s injury shifts odds in Hawks’ favor for game, series — MyAJC: Braves’ McDowell trying to repair some damaged egos — AJC: Brady’s agent suggests ‘sting operation’ by NFL, Colts. Really? — AJC: Pats, Brady clearly cheated and Bob Kraft is in denial — MyAJC: Hawks survive but they didn’t make it easy — AJC: Short takes: Wall’s status uncertain, late defense keys win — MyAJC: Here we go again: Hawks let one slip away — AJC: Short takes: Hawks go cold, blow double-digit lead in Game 1 — MyAJC: Teague is Hawks’ key to going deep in playoffs — AJC: No shortage of stars but Hawks’ clincher started with Teague — MyAJC: Finally, the good Hawks show up for series clincher — AJC: On Falcons’ draft, trading up, Bruce Irvin and Gurley question — MyAJC: Dan Quinn determined to fix pass rush after past Falcons’ whiffs — MyAJC: Hawks’ regular-season afterglow is long gone — MyAJC: Hawks being visited by ghosts of playoffs past