Shadow of Atlanta sports failures hangs over Hawks vs. Knicks

ATLANTA — The Hawks try to buck historical past. They’ll take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 of their first-round matchup with the Knicks, and appear to have all of the momentum on the planet. Funny factor about Atlanta and momentum, although. It doesn’t all the time work out.

(And no, I gained’t be imply and point out 28-3 … Oh. Wait. I simply did …)

Yes. The historic gag in opposition to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI may need been probably the most epic of all of Atlanta’s sporting disappointments however … nicely, it doesn’t sit alone on a shelf. The Braves as soon as made 14 straight playoff appearances, and gained one World Series. Last 12 months the Braves had the Dodgers buried, down 3-1 within the NLCS … couldn’t end that deal, both.

The Hawks have had loads of video games as a higher-ranked seed. Atlanta had, and misplaced, two NHL groups, which may be simply as nicely when you think about the Flames (now in Calgary) and Thrashers (now in Winnipeg) had been 2-19 all-time in playoff video games.

Lots of Atlanta followers are additionally huge followers of the University of Georgia Bulldogs. Ask them their fondest reminiscences of the 2018 College Football Playoff. (Hint: there aren’t any. Georgia led 13-0 on the half. The Bulldogs misplaced 26-23 in extra time when freshman Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hit wideout DeVonta Smith on a 41-yard TD go — on second-and-25, no much less.)

Since the Braves made Atlanta a giant league metropolis in April 1966 (the Falcons adopted in September, the Hawks got here in 1968, the Flames in 1972 and the Thrashers in 1999) they’ve gone 1-for-182 — as in 182 seasons in MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL, with one title — and that in a strike-shortened, 144-game 1995 baseball season.

New York has contributed loads to the distress.

Matt Ryan walks off the sphere after shedding the Super Bowl and Marcus Camby dunks throughout a Knicks sweep of the Hawks in 1999.
UPI, N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Before this Knicks-Hawks collection, New York and Atlanta squared off 10 occasions in postseasons. Atlanta gained simply twice. One was the NLCS in 1999 (although the Mets did make a spirited run at turning into the primary staff to return again from an 0-3 best-of-seven deficit earlier than each John Franco and Armando Benitez blew saves in Game 6, and Kenny Rogers couldn’t throw a strike to Andruw Jones). The different was the 2015 Hawks (winners of 60 video games and high seed within the East), who slipped by the eighth-seeded Nets (38-44) in six video games.

(And admit it: Unless your identify is both Evan Roberts, Ian Eagle or Lionel Hollins, you’ve precisely zero recollection of THAT collection.)

Beyond that? Well, from the Southern perspective, it ain’t fairly.

The Braves had been the stepping stones for the ’69 Mets, who swept the NLCS 3-0 and outscored them 27-15. They had been the stepping stones (and extra) for the Dynasty Boys Yankees, who routed them 4 straight (after recognizing them a 2-0 lead) within the 1996 World Series, together with an epic comeback from down 6-0 in Game 4. Three years later, contemporary after escaping the Mets, the Braves had been mowed down by the Yankees in a four-game whitewash, outscored 21-9 — the Yankees getting the most effective of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz alongside the way in which.

Basketball? Well, earlier than this season, the Knicks had their means with Atlanta, crushing the Pistol Pete-led ’71 Hawks, 4-1, within the Eastern semifinals and doing likewise to the ’99 Hawks, led by Steve Smith, sweeping them 4-0 on their technique to the NBA Finals.

Football? The one breathe-easy sport in each of the Giants’ most up-to-date Super Bowl triumphs got here within the 2011 wild-card sport, when Big Blue destroyed the Falcons, 24-2, within the first playoff sport at MetLife Stadium (no surprise Jets followers had been so desirous to take a crack on the ’98 Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, if solely they may’ve survived the Broncos within the AFC title sport).

Hockey? The Rangers made fast 3-1 work of the Flames in a first-round collection in 1980, and in reality the 5-2 win that closed out Game 4 was the final Flames sport ever performed in Atlanta earlier than they had been offered and shipped to Calgary. And in 2007, the Rangers gained the one 4 playoff video games the Thrashers ever performed earlier than they had been transferred to Winnipeg 4 years later.

(Atlanta has been variety to Canada; two-sevenths of all Canadian NHL groups started their lives within the Gate City!)

Maybe the Hawks can escape that shadow. If they’ll, extra energy to them.

Vac’s Whacks

I’m unsure which is extra shocking to me at this level: when Gerrit Cole doesn’t get a swing and a miss in opposition to his finest fastball, or when Kevin Durant misses, from wherever on a basketball ground.

The Post is a household, and when one of our personal is hurting all of us damage. Billy Connors, cousin of ace Post copy editor Rob, is a instructor and coach (softball, ladies soccer) at Weehawken High. He is recovering from an enormous stroke and is dealing with some staggering medical payments. If you may be serious about helping, please go to

Jets coach Robert Saleh

This is nice: Strat-O-Matic won’t solely donate 10 % of internet gross sales on June 2 — the eightieth anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s loss of life from ALS — however may also, beginning Monday, launch three simulations by its analysis staff: an extension of Gehrig’s profession previous 1939 (when he was compelled to retire); a house run derby between Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; and a contest that includes all-time stars who additionally wore Gehrig’s famed No. 4.

What variety of useful transportation can Coach Saleh count on as soon as he truly wins a soccer sport? Helicopter service to Yankees video games? A non-public jitney to Saratoga?

Whack Back at Vac

Stephanie Gaitley: Here is my hoops tackle Mare from “Mare of Easttown”: The Rams would have recruited her in a second. You can’t go mistaken with a brilliant powerful guard from Philly! Geno can go all over to get his gamers. Mare would have match proper into our tradition!

Vac: And there you go, the scouting report straight from the Fordham girls’s basketball coach with the .644 profitable proportion in 10 years at Rose Hill.

Manus Clancy: Would we be giving Francisco Lindor an excessive amount of credit score if we referred to as him a poor man’s Jason Bay?

Vac: Can a person qualify as a poor-man’s something at $341 million?

Francisco Lindor makes a diving catch for the Mets.
Robert Sabo

@brianhummel76: Knicks want a Batman. Julius Randle is a Robin. An excellent Robin, however he can’t carry a staff on his again. Hoping for a bounce-back in Game 4.

@MikeVacc: What was already probably the most intriguing query on Leon Rose’s to-do record — what to do about Randle — will get increasingly intriguing by the day.

Richard Siegelman: Babe Ruth’s highest batting common ever was .393, whereas his lowest ERA was 1.75. Great stats, however they pale compared to Jacob deGrom’s present .471 and 0.80!

Vac: Only in baseball can a man who seems to be like deGrom and who regarded just like the Bambino be in contrast … and it makes excellent sense!

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