Hawks search for answers after blowout loss



ORLANDO, Fla. --- Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson woke up Wednesday and watched a movie.

It was a horror film with a predictable plot, a super villain and plenty of heart-wrenching moments. Hawks were ripped apart in nearly every scene before the painful-to-watch finish.

Yep, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic followed their usual script against Atlanta on Tuesday, although the latest thrashing was even more chilling.

Orlando's 43-point victory in the Eastern Conference semifinal opener left the Hawks with little explanation Wednesday, describing the loss with words like "panic" and "discombobulated" and "embarrassing."

Atlanta has to slow Howard and the Magic down in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on tonight, or the Hawks could be headed toward another quick second-round stint.

"We get down and it's like we kind of bury our heads and continue to go the other way," Woodson said. "I still want to say it's a team still learning how to win. It's not easy winning on the road, and surely it can't be that lopsided."

It was.

The Magic led by as many as 46 points in the fourth, even with Howard and the rest of the starters on the bench. It was the largest margin of defeat in the playoffs since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1968, and the second-largest playoff victory in the Magic's history.

"When they went on a little run, we tend to panic a little bit and we started forcing things offensively," Atlanta's Joe Johnson said. "You just really have to throw this game out the window."

Hawks guard Jamal Crawford said there's not that much disparity between the teams, despite Tuesday's score.

"Especially in a playoff atmosphere, they're not forty-something points better than us," he said.