The Hawks insist they are learning.
Sure, they may be giving their fans heart trouble, but they are learning valuable lessons.
The NBA playoffs are different than the regular season. As good as the Hawks were en route to 60 regular-season wins and a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the postseason offers a new set of challenges.
The Hawks needed six games to eliminate the Nets in the first round. They find themselves tied 2-2 against the Wizards in the second round going into Game 5 Wednesday. Each team owns a win on the opponent's court.
“Obviously, the playoffs are different,” Kyle Korver said before Game 5. “There are a lot of emotions, intensity and you’ve got to be able to keep your poise and stay focused on the game plan. As a team, the majority of teams you see win championships have some scars too. They’ve got to go through some of the experiences. A lot of the guys you see win, have gone through it a few times.”
Korver referenced a Game 7 loss to the Pacers in last season’s playoffs.
Al Horford said the postseason is about playing harder, smarter and more consistent for as long as possible.
“As a basketball player you always learn but I definitely think that I am learning more and more (in these playoffs),” Al Horford said. “It’s a different position. In the past, we’ve usually been the lower seed. Now, we are the top seed. I feel like you have to learn. A lot of times you try to attack that team and make things happen. This year, I feel like teams view us that way. They are attacking us. It’s a different mindset.”