If you want to read some of the more depressing basketball-related quotes in your life, check out this very well-done Associated Press profile of the Atlanta Hawks. It will have you wondering if this team needs both hugs and drugs as it limps its way to the playoffs.
Though Atlanta is still eight games above .500, the group has lost 14 of 21 games as we come down the stretch, including three massive home blowout losses at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. This, according to the AP, is some unprecedented stuff:
As a result, Atlanta has been blown out at home more often than any team with a winning record in NBA history. The Hawks have suffered five home losses by 20 or more points, including three by more than 30 points. Each ranks as the top total in NBA history for teams with winning records, according to STATS, LLC.
The team is in a freefall mostly because it isn't shooting as well as it used to. Joe Johnson still has his moments but he isn't the sort of offensive force to build around, and while newly added Kirk Hinrich is making nearly half of his 3-pointers as a Hawk, everyone else seems to be falling short.
Worse? Everyone else seems to be falling into a bit of a funk. On record.
The Hawks have no "sense of pride, a sense of urgency. … We should play for one another, but yet still we don't." And that "countless" players-only meetings meant to stir the echoes have "meant nothing."
"We just have to be mentally stronger."
Coach Larry Drew?
His team is "a little fragile right now," and the Hawks "have got to heal, more so mentally than physically."
"When you don't help each other, it gets contagious. We just didn't show any kind of resistance."
"Nobody on this team even asked after I put up that flyer offering free kittens. One of them is a calico, too. So cute."
"I'm still blaming Lenny Wilkens."
"I'm pretty sure Zaza Pachulia is stealing from my locker. At the very least, he's gaslighting me. I'm really creeped out."
"I'm totally stealing from Eldridge Recasner."
OK, the last few were more or less made up (figure those out yourself), but you get the picture. The Hawks are a rudderless ship that doesn't know how to react when NBA teams go on their inevitable 12-2 runs. It's been the case for years, as the Hawks have often led the NBA in good-team blowouts, and it's not likely to stop anytime soon.