One of the best things about basketball is that it is not baseball. I enjoy both sports equally, but basketball has always had an edge in the not-employing-humorless-dickwads department, which means you rarely ever see NBA players or coaches talking about “class” or “playing the right way.” The Atlanta Hawks are trying to ruin this good thing.
As you know, the Cavaliers rained 25 threes on the Hawks last night, setting the NBA record for most made three-pointers in a game. After the game, a few Hawks players took issue with the fact that the Cavs kept bombing away from deep, seemingly chasing the record. From Cleveland.com:
“It’s a certain way of being a professional,” the Hawks’ Paul Millsap said to cleveland.com. “I’m not mad about it, but just being professionals man. If that’s how you want to approach it, that’s how you approach it. I think our team and our organization has class and I don’t think we would have continued to do that, but other organizations do other things so what can you do about it?”
Al Horford added that his team “wouldn’t do anything like that,” and Kent Bazemore warned that karma may come back to bite the Cavaliers. Cleveland.com reports that all three players insisted that they weren’t actually mad, just a little irritated, which is the surest sign that they are very, very mad.
And they should be mad—at themselves. Getting blown out in a playoff game while surrendering an NBA record is embarrassing and sucky, but the Hawks have nothing to be angry at the Cavs about. The Cavs shot the third-most three-pointers in the league this season, so it’s not absurd for them to keep doing so at the tail end of a blowout. There’s no such thing as a clock-killing offense in the NBA; teams just have to keep running their sets and taking the shots that come to them until the game ends.
Even if the Cavaliers were shamelessly gunning for the record—they shot 11 threes in the fourth quarter despite being up 33 points when it started—who cares? Records are awesome, and the fourth quarter of a blowout is exactly the time to go all out for one. If the Hawks were embarrassed by that, it isn’t anybody’s problem but their own.