It took barely a week, but the industrious Hawks have done it. They’ve thrown away a 1-0 series lead and an 11-point advantage in a Game 2 for which the best Celtic was suspended, and they’re back where they feel most accustomed — being given no chance to do anything except embarrass themselves further.
Surely more folks would grant them a chance if they gave any indication they’d know what to do with one, but these are, for better and worse, the Hawks. In Boston they managed an improbable double, even by their crazy-quilt standards: They played a strong Game 3 without Josh Smith and Al Horford and a terrible Game 4 with both on the floor.
Smith scored 15 points in his return from a knee sprain and Horford 12 in his first game since Jan. 11 — and still the Hawks trailed by 23 points after 24 minutes and by 37 after 28. It was as if this were 2008 and these postseason neophytes had no idea how to handle a playoff test on the road, except that it’s 2012 and the Hawks shouldn’t be mistaken for neophytes any longer. (They’ve won a series each of the past three seasons.) But sometimes they revert.