This would be good time for Hawks to feel desperate (update: Wall starting)

John Wall has been doing light dribbling with his left hand the last two days but says hes uncertain about playing tonight. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Wizards initially posted a lineup with four starters, then they added John Wall.

The Wizards initially posted a lineup with four starters, then they added John Wall.

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

Reader Comments 0

35 comments
JSSN
JSSN

Take where you can get 'em! Now come out motivated in DC!

HotDawg
HotDawg

Pleasant surprise. 

I turned it off in disgust, when wash had 9 point lead late and Hawks couldn't hit layups or open jumps.

Nice to shut trash talking washinton up with shot at the end.

Don't choke Hawks.

SuperCelebrity
SuperCelebrity

@Shooter McGavin Tell me how that guy has been wide open at the end of the last two games after shooting that game winner Saturday?

PeterNapa
PeterNapa

25 turnovers...man. Hard to win.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Hawks need to take advantage of the momentum swing and crowd.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

It's over. Coach Bud got outcoached tonight.

farberboy
farberboy

i don't mean to be fatalistic, but I think this is over.  No energy at all.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Need some firepower. Might as well give Mack or Scott a try.

Rhetoric
Rhetoric

Give Korver the rest of the night off. He does not have it tonight.

farberboy
farberboy

How many turnovers have the Hawks had tonite?

JSSN
JSSN

Another of those maddening 18 point quarters.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

I simply can't stand the self centered, never do noting wrong, cheap foul Washington, but where do they come from. Exactly Washington what more can  you do you expect.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Schultz doesn't say much on his own "live" blog.

KillerMike
KillerMike

Forget "hack-a-DeAndre" or "hack-a-Howard"...time to employ a targeted "hack-a-Wall".

JSSN
JSSN

What, no updates from 'Olivia: Internet Doctor?'

rockinreel
rockinreel

I'm optimistic because the last few games, Bud has been getting success from the bench.  Once the opposing team gets used to guarding a starting player, having to successfully guard a different good bench player doesn't happen suddenly.  


Teams seem to score easily inside or Perot but not on Muscala.  Switching them often seems to help.  Bud has been giving more playing time to Muscala.  Sub'ing with Bazemore keeps teams on their heels.  In other words, the Hawks seem to be in better physical shape down the stretch.


The Wizards inside game was predicted to be the Hawks bane, but their suprisingly accurate three pointers are what gets them back in the game.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

I agree with you Mr. Schultz. I think they'll win tonight and I don't know why either other than the fact that it looks like coach Bud finally figured out that the starting five can't get the job done without help from the bench.

Addy
Addy

"I be smacking it around myself" 

What school system teaches such garbage?

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Honestly, I haven't enjoyed a single one of the post-season games yet.


it is not possible to relax while they are playing.  15 points up? Meaningless.  21 points up? Big deal.


So i have to stay tense and fatalistic to literally the very last shot of each game.


When does the fun start? 

HotDawg
HotDawg

@SouthernHope5

tune in the last 5 minutes. waste of time and energy watching the other 43.

Problem is not getting bored with 30 minutes of timeouts to get through the last 5 minutes of game.

atlfanman
atlfanman

Defense, substitution pattern and turnovers will be the keys for victory for the Hawks.

Wilbo
Wilbo

After they crawled back out of the abyss, I doubt the Hawks will blow this game. 


I think winning this game means advancing. Losing means they are the lousy pieces of chitski I have always said all Atlanta pro teams are....


And I hate like hell admitting it, but this team has already done better this postseason than I thought they could....