With the Atlanta Hawks winning a third game over the Orlando Magic, it's safe to say they are for real. If the Hawks come out on top of the Magic, it should be no surprise.
For quite some time, especially after their dismantling by the Magic in last year's playoff series, the Hawks have been taking lots of flack. The fans of Atlanta as well as their hometown sports journalists have been throwing the Hawks under the bus. It seems as though it was time to prove the hometown doubters wrong.
One player in specific had been taking the blunt force of the negative comments, Joe Johnson. Rightfully so, he was the recipient of one of the max deals given out during the much anticipated free agency of last season. His biggest downfall was his performance after he got the deal. He hasn't really been able to score over 20 points the entire 2010- 2011 season. He has been called a star getting payed superstar money all season by numerous Atlanta sports journalists.
One thing that stands out, if he does score more than 20, specifically in this playoff series, they win the game. His performance on the court is synonymous to winning if the Hawks want to push forward. They may not win it all, but they will need this confidence if Johnson is their highest payed player. If he's being payed max money, he should play like it.
In the Atlanta Hawks three wins, Joe Johnson has had 25, 21, and 20 points, not to mention his clutch free throws in game 4 to seal the 88-85 victory.
This series has been very fun to watch and there is still more to come. Hopefully Joe Johnson can keep the effort going. They will need it in order to push on to the next round because the Orlando Magic are never out of a game.