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Mark Bradley columns

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So far, Braves have been better than expected
Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the sixth inning to the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field on April 30. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

2:13 p.m. Monday, May 25, 2015

The Braves awoke on Memorial Day at 22-21, which was no small thing. They reached the six-month season’s first checkpoint with the National League’s seventh-best record and stood two games out of the second wild-card spot. Relative to what most of us figured they’d be, these first 43 games went ...
A sunny Hawks season slams into reality
Hawks guard Jeff Teague bites on his shirt in the final minutes of a 94-82 loss to the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

3:03 p.m. Saturday, May 23, 2015

What’s most disappointing — almost disgusting, really — is that the Hawks finally reached the Eastern Conference finals, an achievement that should have hushed some of their detractors, but in the span of two wretched games they’ve checked every derogatory box. I didn’t think this would happen, but here it ...
Grim tidings: Down 0-2, the Hawks look outclassed
Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov (20) Atlanta Hawks’ Kyle Korver (26) and Al Horford (15) vie for a rebound during the first half in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

Updated: 11:03 p.m. Friday, May 22, 2015

It was only Wednesday that we were celebrating the long-deferred arrival of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals. As Friday became Saturday, we were coming to grips with a much colder reality. There might not be another NBA game staged at Philips Arena until November. The Hawks, a team with four ...
For the Hawks, a happy night turned sad
Atlanta Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll lies on the court as Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) speaks after Carroll was injured against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA basketball playoffs, Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

11:10 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, 2015

As night fell on our city, we Atlantans could be forgiven for pinching ourselves. We’ve seen some big doings here — five World Series, four Final Fours, two Super Bowls, one Olympiad — but this was new. The NBA’s Eastern Conference finals had come to the A-T-L, and the only ...
Who’s more miserable - Atlanta or Cleveland?
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) dunks the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the first half of Game 2 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

4:44 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2015

We Atlantans cringe when Forbes names us the most miserable sports city in these United States, and mounting a rebuttal isn’t worth the effort. Who cares to flip through the Rolodex of Regret — from Brooks Conrad to Eugene Robinson with Levingston and Leyritz and Lonnie in between — when ...
The downtrodden Falcons are poised for a rebound
First-round draft pick Vic Beasley smiles as Falcons coach Dan Quinn joins him for a picture. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

3:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, 2015

From Rise Up to rock bottom: Such was the descent of the Falcons, who in January 2013 were 10 yards from the Super Bowl only to lose 22 of 32 games thereafter.Just like that, a model organization became a band of bumblers. Owner Arthur Blank — identified as “Uncle Arthur” ...
Driven by desperation, Hawks square the series
Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks gather in the tunnel before taking the court to play the Wizards in their Eastern Conference Semifinals game 4 on Monday, May 11, 2015, at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.     Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

9:45 p.m. Monday, May 11, 2015

The No. 1 seed that DeMarre Carroll said Sunday hadn’t been acting like a No. 1 seed issued a reminder Monday night: The Hawks are alive and, if not fully well, they’re a darn sight perkier than when the day dawned.The Hawks won 106-101 at the Verizon Center to square ...
The Hawks - out of character and on the brink
Streamers fall for the Wizards as the Hawks’ Kent Bazemore walks off the court after a 103-101 loss in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Verizon Center on Saturday. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

4:59 p.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015

Al Horford said effort wasn’t a problem. Paul Millsap said it absolutely was. DeMarre Carroll said that, owing to John Wall’s absence, the Hawks “took our foot off the gas and thought we just had to show up.” Thus was the bizarre Game 3 lost, but what’s happening with this ...
The Hawks lose a game but win back some pride
Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) shoots between Wizards guard Ramon Sessions (7) and center Marcin Gortat (4) Saturday in Washington. The Wizards won 103-101. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

8:13 p.m. Saturday, May 9, 2015

A proud old pro banked home a 20-footer to give the No. 5 seed a series lead on a day when its best player didn’t play. A bunch of young pros might well have given the No. 1 seed a desperately needed jolt of pride.In excruciating fashion, the Hawks lost ...
For the Hawks, it’s now Eastern finals or bust
John Wall of the Washington Wizards grabs his wrist after missing a basket and landing on the floor against the Hawks during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

1:24 p.m. Friday, May 8, 2015

There can be no excuses now. A franchise that has never graced the Eastern Conference finals — when the team was new to Atlanta, it played in the Western Division finals twice, losing to the Lakers both times — has the clearest path imaginable. Washington has seen its best player ...
Does the NFL have the guts to suspend Tom Brady?
In this Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady speaks at a news conference about the NFL investigation into deflated footballs, in Foxborough, Mass. An NFL investigation has found that New England Patriots employees likely deflated footballs and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the rules violations. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

5:26 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The NFL got tough with the New Orleans Saints when it was found they levied bounties on opposing quarterbacks, but the league didn’t like the Saints, who spent their Super Bowl week high-hatting the highest-hatted league in the world. The NFL sought to get tough, albeit in belated fashion, with ...
If it’s a talent show, the Hawks won’t win
Hawks players Paul Millsap (from left), Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague walk off the court as time expires in a 104-98 loss to the Wizards in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

12:57 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2015

If you’re the Hawks, you hope Game 1 was a function of a quick turnaround after a Round 1 series that shouldn’t have been allowed to last six games. You hope that getting outscored 23-15 in the fourth quarter — the 15 being the major issue — can be traced ...
The Round 2 pick — Hawks in six
Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver reacts after hitting a 3-point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter of Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Updated: 1:07 p.m. Saturday, May 2, 2015

Should the Hawks play for the NBA title, they should send a fruit basket to the Brooklyn Nets. The No. 8 seed did the Hawks a great favor: It made them have to play well to win. The regular season’s final six weeks put no premium on either. The Hawks ...
Vic Beasley: The right pick at the right time

10:05 p.m. Thursday, April 30, 2015

Vic Beasley might have been a reach, but when a team goes the better part of a generation barely pestering opposing quarterbacks, it’s a reasoned reach. If the Falcons are ever to field a decent defense, they had to find a pass-rusher. With the eighth pick of Round 1, they ...
The jump-shooting Hawks win a massive Game 5
Brook Lopez (right) and Joe Johnson of the Nets defend a shot against Mike Scott of the Hawks during Game 4 of their series Monday night. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

6:37 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Some of their critics — and this No. 1 seed has many critics, with the number growing exponentially over a lost long weekend in Brooklyn — have characterized the Hawks as just a jump-shooting team. In a moment of major doubt, the jump-shooting team won with jump shots Wednesday. Fitting, ...
The touted Nationals gaze up at the Braves
The Washington Nationals celebrated their 2014 National League East title at Turner Field last September. (David Tulis/AP Photo)

Updated: 12:34 a.m. Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Washington Nationals celebrated winning the 2014 National League East at Turner Field, the place where everyone comes to spill champagne. For 2 3/4 seasons, the Nats and Braves had forged something of a rivalry, but an offseason that saw the former lavish $210 million on Max Scherzer and the ...
A matter for debate: Should Falcons draft Gurley?
Georgia tailback Todd Gurley leaps over Tennessee Volunteers defensive back Brian Randolph at Sanford Stadium on Sept. 27, 2014. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

12:00 a.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015

The NFL has devalued running backs. None were taken in Round 1 of the 2013 or 2014 drafts. Contrast this to that time in the late 1970s into the ’80s — ESPN had just started to televise the draft — when four times in five years a back was the ...
The Hawks lead 2-0 but haven’t dazzled anyone

10:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, 2015

When the East’s No. 1 seed is playing a team based in New York and Game 2 is being carried nationally by NBA TV, it’s clear nobody expects much from the series. And nobody did. Maybe that’s changing, though. The Hawks lead 2-0 in Round 1 after their second halting ...
Ressler to the rescue? Is the nightmare over?
Co-founder of Ares Management LLC Antony Ressler and actress Jami Gertz arrive at the USC Shoah Foundation Institute Ambassadors for Humanity Gala held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on June 6, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images)

Updated: 6:06 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, 2015

These being the Hawks, there’s always some strange precedent. A man from Los Angeles sought to buy them in 2011, and a lavish briefing was held at Philips Arena to introduce Alex Meruelo as the new owner of Atlanta’s NBA franchise. We learned the basics of Meruelo’s background: He started ...
About the Hawks, we separate true from false
Trainer Wally Blase checks Hawks center Al Horford’s hand after he dislocated his pinkie during Sunday’s Game 1. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

11:58 a.m. Monday, April 20, 2015

Steve Holman, venerable voice of the Hawks, also comes equipped with functioning ears. On Sunday morning, he was listening to a national radio show and heard a former NBA player aver that Cleveland and Chicago are destined to meet in the Eastern Conference finals. “They can’t!” Holman rightly cried. (Check ...
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