The 2005-06 Good Call Hawks wildly exceeded expectations to finish the season with a 45-33 record to make the playoffs. Further, they were able to knock off the Cavs in the first round only to lose to the Pistons in the second round. The question is whether the 2006-07 team can build on that success.
Once again, the depth chart is as follows:
PG - Chris Paul, Chris Duhon, JJ Barea
SG - Joe Johnson, Monta Ellis
SF - Andre Igoudala, Matt Barnes, Trevor Ariza
PF - Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Leon Powe
C - Chris Wilcox, Zaza Pachulia, Chuck Hayes
Al Harrington, last year's starting PF was traded to make way for Josh Smith. Further, Chris Wilcox was brought in to be the starting C, and Matt Barnes was brought in for wing depth. With fine tuning of the roster, the Good Call Hawks improve again to a record of 52-30 record, good for the 2 seed and the SE division crown. By comparison, the real Hawks went 30-52 and against missed the playoffs.
Due to the Hawks entering into the playoff seeding, the Nets slide down to the 7 seed and face the Good Call Hawks in the first round. Both teams split their first two home games for a 2-2 tie heading back to Atlanta, but the Hawks take the last two games to win the series 4-2. The Hawks take Game 6 on the road by a score of 106-102. As was the forte for the Hawks during the regular season, they received a balanced scoring effort with 5 players in double figures, led by Chris Wilcox's 21-11 double-double.
In the second round, the Hawks again play LeBron's Cavaliers. Due to the Hawks' superior record, the Cavs were bumped down to the 3 seed in the East, so the Hawks have home court advantage in this series. Like the first round, the teams each split their first two home games for a 2-2 heading into game 5. However, in a repeat of the first round, the Good Call Hawks go on to win the next to games to take the series 4-2. In game 6 won 109-100 led by Joe Johnson's 23 points on 9/14 shooting. Further the Cavs had 20 turnovers, 11 more than the Hawks, 13 of which were from Hawks steals.
The eastern conference finals is a rematch from the second round last year with the 1 seed Pistons meeting the 2 seed Hawks. The Hawks were obviously revved up for the rematch because they get a 4 game sweep to send the Hawks to the NBA finals for the first time since they moved to Atlanta. The vaunted Pistons defense was no match for the balanced scoring from the Good Call Hawks, who scored 112, 109, 102, and 92 points respectively. In Game 4 before a raucous Atlanta crowd, the Hawks jumped out to a 30-16 lead in the first quarter that the Pistons were never able to overcome.
Finally faced the Spurs in the finals. Game 1 win - 114-95 with six players in double figures. Game 2 win 114-100 with 11 players at least 5 points. Game 3 loss - 97-88. 20 TOs from hawks and Duncan goes for 20-20-6 ast. Game 4 loss 97-95 behind another 20 point game from Duncan. Game 5 loss with Duncan going for 38 while Joe and Chris combine for 5-25. Game 6 win 106-104 with 6 Hawks in double digits. Game 7 loss 106-94. Tied after 3 quarters but the experienced Spurs took over down the stretch.