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Article:Hawks magic number : 1

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There could be dancing in the streets of Atlanta. No, the price of a ticket on Delta Airlines hasn't gone down to a dollar. Michael Vick getting out of prison early? Nope. The Braves winning another World Series? That may happen this year. No, this time, it's the roommates or(nestmates) of the Atlanta Thrashers, the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks, who haven't been to the playoffs since the Bill Clinton administration, are one game closer to that goal. Even though they lost to Boston at Philips Arena Saturday night by 10, the team who are chasing them like Wile Coyote chasing the Road Runner, Indiana, also lost.

The Hawks last trip to the playoffs saw them win a close series with the Detroit Pistons, taking the set 3-2 before they were swept by New York in 4. Their record that year? 31-19, the last time they saw .500. Since then, they have never come close to that mark. They will not make the .500 mark again this season but they could make the playoffs, only to face the Boston Celtics, the same Celtics they lost to Saturday.

Now if familiarity breeds contempt, then you best slap the cuffs on these guys. It will be (assuming that this does come to pass) a good series and probably one of the better series in the playoffs. What Atlanta needs to do in the next meeting is first cut down the turnovers (14 against Boston) and be better stewards of the basketball. Secondly, they have to find a way to contain, not stop per se, (Kevin) Garnett, (Ray) Allen and (Paul) Pierce. Difficult? Yes. Impossible? Not really. Thirdly, keep Josh Smith in the game. Don't let him get stupid fouls.

When you get right down to it, Atlanta has to play smart basketball to win. It can be done. They may not win the series but they could be like an exorcist and scare the hell out of Boston. As Cpt. Jean-Luc Picard would say, "Make it so."


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