Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Milwaukee at Atlanta, series tied 2-2

Momentum is a curious thing. And it's often confused with an absence of long-term memory.

Because as I sit down to write this, every part of me is telling me to tell you about how the Bucks and their defense can keep the Hawks at bay, how they've turned it around, how they're going to compete despite the absence of (here it is, again) Andrew Bogut.

And I'm probably way, way off here. Because all I can remember right now is the Hawks playing sub-standard basketball up in Milwaukee in Games 3 and 4. I'm not accurately recalling how great the Hawks are, offensively, just by instinct. Just because Games 3 and 4 were the last things I saw. And I have to fight that, even if the Hawks lay down tonight.

This is not a long way of me telling you that the Hawks will play better merely because they're at home. This is me telling you that they'll pull back, and score closer to their averages, eventually. That it's hard to beat a team, any team, three times in a row. And because teams have a way of acting like themselves after a while.

That last bit is important. It's the reason why the Hawks lost Games 3 and 4, why they won the first two, and why they'll probably win tonight unless something goes drastically wrong. They didn't go soft, up in Milwaukee. They went Hawk. This is what this team is. Sadly.

***

Utah at Denver; Utah leads series, 3-1

The knucklehead element behind the Denver Nuggets, you know, I think we may have taken it a little too far.

I might not have the most prominent voice, but I was certainly the most consistent offender in this department. I was railing back in March that the Nuggets were using George Karl's sickness as a bit of a crutch, and I still believe this to be the case. And I still believe that the Nuggets don't have the loss of their leader on their mind when they make a split-second on-court decision, with what to do with the ball, how to rotate, whatever.

But it's clear that this team is hurting without Karl, and that they might be hurting, as well. It's not easy to go through something like this, seeing someone you care about stricken down. And though the Nuggets are being revealed as petulant and inattentive - and, yes, selfish - it might be more than just a lack of a rudder. They could be hurting. Cry me a river, I know, but maybe we should slow down a bit.

They also have a chance to get back into this series, tonight. To hang in there and give us the classic we'd hoped for. This game might not be fun to watch - as MC Welk pointed out in today's Chat, Bennett Salvatore leads the crew, so this thing could rack up 100,000 free throws by the third quarter - but it could be a prelude to something special.

This is, indeed, a long way of saying that both games are destined to be the predictable Game 5 blowouts, as the Disciples of Clyde podcast mentioned today.

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