DeShawn Stevenson is the only Hawks player with a championship ring. Photo by Bruce Bennett/NBAE/Getty Images

Let's Talk Playoffs

By Jon Cooper

When Atlanta went north of the border and walloped Toronto 107-88 on March 27, it clinched a sixth straight playoff berth. That's one away from the Atlanta record (1993 through '99) and five off the franchise record, which began in St. Louis in 1963 and ended in Atlanta in 1974.

The Hawks know they can expect the kind of high-intensity basketball and vociferous, sold-out crowds at Philips Arena that make playoff time a special time of year.

Hawks.com talked with several Hawks who have been through postseason before to find out what makes playoffs special to them.

AL HORFORD

Al will be 6-for-6 in Playoff appearances with the Hawks, as the team's nine-year drought ended and its current postseason run began his rookie season of 2008.
What is your favorite Playoff memory?

"I've been part of a couple of special series but I think my favorite one because, obviously, we won it and it was a good series, was the Orlando series (2011, first round, in which Atlanta won all three games at Philips Arena by a total of 10 points). When we beat them after being beaten down the year before pretty bad and that team always being kind of the team that was like a thorn in our sides. To be able to come out and beat them here in six, that was a pretty special series."

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"It's always good being at home and getting that support. You're on the road, it's just a mindset of being able to win is pretty special, but in the playoffs it's even harder. But both feelings are great."

JOSH SMITH

"J-Smoove" has been an integral part of the Hawks' streak of six consecutive playoff appearances. Of course he also paid his dues, as he was a rookie on the team that went 13-69 in 2004-05.

What is your favorite playoff memory?

"Nobody can forget the first time we made the playoffs and that Boston series (The Hawks fell 4-3 in a complete home court series). That was probably the loudest I've ever heard Philips."

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"I like road wins because they're so hard to come by in the postseason. The crowd is definitely all against you, and it's definitely hostile in the postseason. Being able to silence a crowd from a big shot or a big defensive stop is always gratifying."

JEFF TEAGUE

In his fourth NBA season, Teague got on board for the third straight postseason of the Hawks' run and has never missed the playoffs. He's started the last 12 games, taking over the starting job in Game One of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals against Chicago.

Favorite playoff memory?

"Game One, my second year and we beat the Bulls at their home (103-95). We stole that game. Nobody really gave us a chance to beat Chicago because they had our number the whole year. We came out and got game one."

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"Probably hit a shot on the road. There's nothing like silencing a gym. When you can do that it's always a great feeling. But it goes either way because when you get the crowd pumped up here it's amazing to see those white towels rallying up and guys rooting for you. But that road, man, to silence a whole gym, that's beautiful."

KYLE KORVER

Korver is completing his 10th season in the League and will compete in his seventh postseason, with Atlanta being his fourth different team. He's also played with Philadelphia (2005), Utah ('08, '09, '10), and Chicago ('11, '12), reaching the Eastern Conference Finals with the Bulls in 2011. Along the way that year the Bulls beat Atlanta in six games in the Eastern Conference Semis, with Korver shooting .381 from three in the series (9-for-21).

What is your favorite playoff Memory?

"I haven't won a championship yet, so I don't think I really go to a great memory. When you play in a playoff game it's a different energy. You can feel it inside, you can feel it around you and it's really fun. It's just a fun time of year. The stakes are a little bit higher, so that's kind of what I think about. Honestly, I get little bit excited thinking about it. You start feeling like, 'Ohhh. Here we go. It's playoffs.'"

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"I've always liked playing on the road a lot. They're two totally different things. You've got the home crowd rocking. Playing in front of your home fans and them going crazy, that's one of the best things in sports. There are not many things that can emulate energy. There are concerts and things like that, but sporting events, when you're the home team and the crowd's rocking, there's not much like it in the world. But it's also fun for it to be loud and then all of a sudden it's just silence. So they're both fun."

DEVIN HARRIS

Harris is an nine-year NBA veteran who has played in four different playoffs, three times with Dallas (2005-07) and once with Utah (2012), making a run to the NBA Finals with the Mavericks in '06.

What is your favorite Playoff memory?

"Obviously making the Finals. I was such a young player, my second year in the League. We were up, 2-0, unfortunately, we couldn't finish it off. But, the San Antonio series that year was really huge for me." (The Mavericks topped the Spurs, 119-111 in Game Seven in San Antonio to advance to the Western Conference Finals).

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"Probably deflation of an away crowd. Obviously, everybody's going to be excited at home. You're cheering all game long. But there's nothing like quieting a crowd on the road."

DESHAWN STEVENSON

"D-Steve" is a 13-year NBA veteran, who has concluded six seasons with Playoff appearances — two years each with Utah (2001, '03), Washington ('07, '08) and Dallas ('10, '11). His last postseason appearance resulted in an NBA Championship with the Mavericks, topping the Heat and its Big Three in Game Six in Miami.

What is your favorite Playoff memory?

"Winning the Championship. I just remember teammates and things that we fought for and we worked hard for in practice and everything. Whenever you win a championship with certain people, you just have so much you keep in your mind. We knew what we were worth and what we worked hard for. Just to prove everybody wrong was a big thing."

What's more fun: doing something to pump up the home crowd or to silence a visiting crowd?

"Probably at home. The home crowd, I've seen a lot of stuff in the NBA with that. Just being with the home crowd and hitting that shot."

Jon Cooper is a freelance writer based in Atlanta.

Second photo by Kevin C. Cox/NBAE/Getty Images