Everyone who follows the NBA can tell you how bad the Atlanta Hawks defense has been this season. They give up 111.7 points per game, and their defensive rating is 27th in the NBA.
What's surprising is that Hawks center Clint Capela was seemingly expecting the team's defense to be bad. In an interview with Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, Capela gave an honest assessment of the team's mentality.
"Obviously, we had a lot of guys hurt and had COVID, but even our approach the entire season, we were already thinking we were going to the playoffs."
Capela continued, "Our approach wasn't about the next game. It was, 'Oh, we won this. We won that.' That's the problem with teams that are not used to this. I'm not so shocked."
The third-best rebounder in the league didn't stop there. "I feel like the team we are, we're more offensive-minded. There aren't a lot of guys who take pride on defense, so it's hard," Capela said. "I'm mostly a defensive-minded guy, but it's a team thing. Your team has to be defensive-minded. It can't be just him or him or him. Everyone. So, it is what it is."
Hawks fans are obviously disappointed. Everyone was expecting another deep playoff push, but right now, the team is fighting for the final play-in spot. The Hawks could still turn things around, but it starts with playing solid defense on a consistent basis.
Tonight the Hawks host the Cavaliers in State Farm Arena. As always, we will be live-tweeting it and back here later for your post-game recap. Stay locked into Sports Illustrated's AllHawks.com for breaking news, highlights, and analysis.
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