Perhaps they were just playing an old-fashioned game of possum for those final six games of the regular season.
We'll never really know for sure.
But it's hard to argue that tactic now that the Hawks own a 1-0 lead over the Orlando Magic in their first-round playoff series with Game 2 on tap Tuesday night in Orlando.
That 3-1 edge over their Southeast Division rivals during the regular season was summarily dismissed by the Magic before the Hawks' blowout win in Game 1 Saturday night.
It won't be so easy to explain away now, though. Not after the Hawks steamrolled the Magic on their home floor. The Hawks showed little regard for the wicked effort Dwight Howard delivered; he bludgeoned the Hawks for 46 points and 19 rebounds.
"We knew that coming into this game it was going to be a tough job for our bigs to try and defend Dwight down low," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "I knew he would come out aggressive. I knew he would come out in attack mode and he had a heck of a first half."
But the Hawks had a heck of a game plan. They let Howard do what he wanted, refusing to double team him, and clamped down on everyone else. It worked in Game 1.
Whether or not it works in Game 2 or not remains to be seen. But if nothing else, there's a blueprint. And the Hawks know it inside and out.
HAWKS 103, MAGIC 93: Home-court advantage is the Hawks' to hold on to now. They crashed the Magic's playoff party in Game 1 of their first-round series, snagging the momentum in this 4-5 matchup with a stunning effort after losing six straight games to finish the regular season. The team that couldn't shoot straight to end the regular season was nowhere to be found Saturday night. The Hawks had their way with the Magic and all five starters shot better than 50 percent from the floor. "If all five of their guys are going to shoot 50 percent or better and score what they scored, we're not going to beat them," said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "Our guys have to know that and that's the way it is. If we can't get them under control a little bit at the other end, we've got no chance to win."
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