I used to joke that the best thing about the Atlanta Hawks was Sir Foster, their organist. But this postseason, it’s actually the organization’s success on the court. Thursday night the Hawks took a surprisingly commanding 2-1 series lead over the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 overall seed with a 98-85 Game 3 win.

I won’t hold my breath on the fanbase, though.

But thanks to Jeff Teague and Co. (the “Co.” also refers to the Indiana Pacers, but we’ll get to that in a second), the Hawks are not only a contender in this year’s playoffs, they’re the main beneficiaries of a punchline where the joke seems to be on the Pacers.
Larry Bird’s cringing, teammates are fighting, the Hawks’ crowds chants of “OVER-RATED (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)” are louder than ever, and I’m not sure anyone knows what to make of a once proud, rare Eastern Conference bright spot.

larry bird

Don’t think that the Atlanta Hawks did this on their own (although they deserve credit for capitalizing). The Indiana Pacers have imploded, and it doesn’t matter who you choose to blame, you’re probably right. The face, by the way, comes courtesy of Roy Hibbert letting a routine Evan Turner pass slip through his fingers like spaghetti. Hibbert’s game has fallen apart, which is funny because he told his teammates their late season skid was because they were “selfish.” Turner hasn’t panned out, and getting into pregame fight with Lance Stevenson at the onset of the series didn’t exactly help.

I can’t wait for the “30 for 30” on this 10 years from now so I can figure out just who slept with their teammate’s mom (which has obviously happened before), killed someone, or held some other dark secret to explain this bizarre turn.