Following Orlando’s hasty first round exit at the hands of Atlanta, the Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi asks, “where do they (the Magic) go now that they have become lost on this highway to nothingness?”  He’s well qualified to ask such questions given his own role in ousting the heavy favorites ; “It was me, after all, who provided the Hawks their fuel and fire heading into Game 6.”  There seem to be a few guys in the Hawks locker room who concur, as the Journal-Constitution’s Michael Cunningham explains :

The Hawks had printouts of a column by the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi (above) in their lockers the day after they lost Game 5 101-76 at Orlando. Bianchi wrote that the Hawks are “Team Dummy” and that “they will always do stupid things and take stupid shots.”

Some passages in the copies of the story given to Hawks players were underlined, including:

“The Magic are going to win this series and the Birdbrains are going to fold up and collapse like a $5 lawn chair. You know it, I know it and, deep down in the lonely recesses of their fragile minds, the Birdbrains know it, too.”

Hawks forward Josh Smith was offended by the column.

“You’ve got reporters calling people idiots and dummies,” Smith said Thursday. “I don’t understand how people can challenge somebody’s intelligence when you are talking about basketball. Some people take it too far.”

Hawks coach Larry Drew said it wasn’t his idea to pass out the article to the team but added, “Certainly we can use bulletin-board material”.