Those of you who know me know that I am an extremely fair-weather fan of Atlanta professional sports. Here is an excruciatingly glaring example of why:
Atlanta has an NBA franchise, called the Hawks. That franchise, however, is known by those of us who know better as the Crocks, because they are a complete and total crock. Always have been. Always will be.
Several years ago, the Crocks brought in a new coach and a whole bunch of young players. They were the picture of complete and utter ineptitude as they slogged their way through several losing seasons, but they managed to get better every year, going from 13 wins to 26 to 30 to 37 to 46 to 53 this year. Two years ago they barely made it into the playoffs and yet managed to take the imperial Celtics to seven games. Last year they won their opening-round playoff series against the Miami Heat in seven games before being swept by Cleveland in Round 2 (several key injuries contributed to that).
This year? Even while the Crocks were winning 53 games in the regular season, no one around here really bought in. Seems people had the sense that despite all outward appearances, the Crocks were still the Crocks.
Guess what? They were right.
You see, the Crocks drew the Milwaukee Bucks as their first-round playoff opponent, with the winner advancing to face Orlando in Round 2. The Milwaukee Bucks, though a dangerous opponent, are nowhere near as talented as the Crocks. And they lost their star player right before the playoffs, so the Crocks were expected to win this series in five games or less.
Well, the Crocks took Game 1 and Game 2 in most convincing fashion. Then they went to Milwaukee and got completely and utterly punked in games 3 and 4. Wednesday, here in Atlanta, the Crocks blew a 9-point lead with about three minutes left in the game and lost 92-87.
Add it all up: The Crocks have now lost three straight to a substandard opponent whom they were expected by many to sweep. Now, they are on the verge of being eliminated by this substandard opponent (whom I must add, is missing their star player). In order to avert this awful fate, they must win tonight on the road, something they have done only once in the past three years that they have been a playoff-caliber team. Which means they must find a way to come off Wednesday night’s monumental choke and pull a miracle on their opponent’s court. Smart money says this ain’t gonna happen.
Mike Woodson, the present Crocks coach, will probably be fired in a few days. And then the Crocks ownership will probably blow up the present roster and rebuild everything from scratch. Which means: God knows how many years it will be until we see the Crocks in the playoffs again.
Yep…the Crocks are still the Crocks. There’s a reason why I am such a fair-weather fan of the local professional sports franchises here in the ATL.
UPDATE: Last I heard, the Crocks were up 48-36 in the third quarter. But that was about an hour ago.
UPDATE: Looks like the Crocks actually managed to pull it out. Who knew?