Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hawks 84, Cavs 95 or Where when the jump shots don't fall, the Hawks have no Plan B.

The Hawks lost real, real ugly to the Cavs. I mean, they only lost by 11, but they literally did not score one point in the 4th quarter until there were under four minutes left. Not one damn point. I'm not going to do a Good Bad and Ugly. I'm not even all that upset about this game, but for my article in Score this week I made the case (as much of a case as you can make in 350 words) that the offense should run through Al. I'm going to post it below and everything you see in bold is directly related to what happened in the 4th quarter tonight. Oh yeah, Marvin defended LeBron better than any of us could have reasonably expected. Kudos to him.

Al Horford is being horribly underused in the Hawks offense. Is he “undersized”? Sure, but whatever he lacks in size he more than makes up for with athleticism, quickness and determination. He is not a perfect post player, but he is the Hawks most efficient post player. He’s shooting almost 60% from the field and that’s mostly due to his hard work on the offensive glass. In other words, a lot of his points come from rebounding his teammate’s misses. One can’t help but wonder what might happen if the Hawks consistently ran plays for him. Horford is being treated like a dirty work player and he deserves better than that. Quite frankly, the offense should run through him. Jump shots will not always fall, however they will always be available. The one thing the Hawks have is a group of guards who know how to get their shots off whether they’re being defended by one player or three players. They could get easier shots if they establish a consistent post game. Horford works extremely hard in the post and there are many nights when the guys who are guarding him have no chance of stopping him. The only people who stop Horford from being dominant are his teammates. Having a legitimate post threat would make the game so much easier for the shooters. Imagine Horford being double teamed and passing the ball to a wide open Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford or Mike Bibby or Marvin Williams or Mo Evans. If the Hawks want to be a serious contender they’ve got to figure out a way to score points when the jump shots aren’t falling. It’s early in the season, but we’ve seen this team go through some awful shooting slumps. The second half of the Orlando game and the second quarter of the Dallas game were the worst. Their only defense against that is to throw the ball down low and get high percentage shots. Make things a little easier on yourselves in the New Year, and let the “Boss” lead the team.

Al had a rough night tonight, but my feelings are the same. He is their best shot at getting an easy bucket and they consistently fail to use him. If the guards are going to dribble until they're open or semi open, then at least dribble towards the damn basket. You cannot dribble for 18 seconds and still be 27 feet away from the goal when you decide to shoot. You just can't.







For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hawks 104, Nuggets 124 or Where JR Smith was insanely hot and the Hawks didn't bother to try to cool him off.

Over the course of an 82 game season, your favorite team is going to lose some games. We all acknowledge and accept that, however some losses are just worse than others. The loss to the Nuggets tonight was a bad loss. I know the Hawks were playing a back to back and I know they were still without Joe Smith and I know the air is thin or nonexistent in Denver and I know they probably wanted a little payback for that ass whippin they took in Atlanta, but this was still a bad loss and here's why......

The Good: JR Smith He was insane tonight. Were he not playing against the Hawks I most certainly would have marveled at the wide open threes he drained one after the other. I also would have marveled at the slightly contested threes he drained one after the other, but since he was doing it to the Hawks the only thing I could focus on was their attempts at defending him. (I'll get to that later) JR was 15-25 from the floor including 10 made 3 pointers. He ended the night with 41 points. Honorable Mention: Al Horford. He finished with 18 points on 7-9 shots and he had 11 rebounds.

The Bad:
The Hawks continued insistence on ignoring Al Horford on offense. Look, Al is not perfect in the post, but he is the best post option the Hawks have, yet they're reluctant if not down right unwilling to use him. Yes, he's undersized, but he makes up for it with quickness and determination. I can't think of too many games where Al just got used and abused without trying as hard as he could to defend whomever he was defending. The boy works hard, yet they treat him like he's a dirty work player. They act like he's there to do nothing more than rebound their misses and the misses of the opposition. Al is better than that and someone on the team is going to have to eventually figure that out. In the last two losses Al established himself in the 3rd quarter only to have the 4th qtr come along and then his guards revert back to ignoring him. Something's got to change. Jump-shots will always be there, especially when you've got guards who dribble for 17 seconds to create jump-shots for themselves.

The Ugly:
The lack of defensive adjustments on JR Smith. JR is streaky and when he's hot he's hot, but that does not excuse our coach's unwillingness to do something to make it hard on him. They didn't do anything to take the ball out of his hands. NOTHING. It was obvious very early on that one person was not going to be able to stop JR, so one would reasonably assume the coach and or one of his minions might suggest getting the ball out of his hands. One would be wrong. Just look at what the Nuggets did to Joe. They smothered him to a point that he couldn't dribble his way out of it to get off a jump shot. He had 9 assists for no other reason than the Nuggets gave him no choice but to pass the ball. We all know Joe usually has no problem shooting over 1-4 people, but the Nuggets took that option away tonight. They had a game plan and they executed it. The Hawks had a game plan too I assume, but JR screwed it up and they didn't do anything to adjust. Over the past few weeks I've read a handful of articles from people wondering why Coach Woodson hasn't been extended. As a Hawks fan who watches pretty much all of the games (most of the home games in person) I know why he hasn't been extended. Unfortunately most of the people writing the columns questioning his lack of a contract don't really watch Hawks games so they don't know why. Well in a nutshell, he still needs to prove he can coach em up in close games and he hasn't done that consistently. The blowout wins are great, but they don't tell you shit about a coach. You need to see what he does when the pressure is on. Coach Woodson continues to fail in some areas that quite frankly he shouldn't be failing in at this point in his life. Chances are if you read this blog you already know what those areas are. If this is your first time reading it, you'll have to come back for a post dedicated exclusively to the shortcomings of our great coach. This post isn't about that, and it's gotten way too long as it is.


For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Quick Conversation with Jamal Crawford (as seen in Score)

Since coming to the Hawks this summer Jamal Crawford has wasted no time ingratiating himself to the city of Atlanta. His bags are barely unpacked yet he's already had two charity events. Tis the season for giving and he is giving a lot to this city on and off the court. I caught up with him for a few minutes at his annual Giving Tree event. You can check out the interview HERE

To find out how you can help via Jamal Crawford, check out jamalcrawford.org


For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Coming to you from my mobile phone! Great win for the Hawks. Joe The Basketball Player showed up tonight. Thanks. Also, I'm glad the NBA has old ass refs. They clearly missed the whole Al Horford back court thing. Whatever, we'll take it. This win doesn't excuse the loss to the Knicks. I'm still pissed about that. Go Hawks!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Might as well try this mobile blogging thing. Just wanted say that I don't know who this Hawks team is. Are they the team who went to the Garden and beat Boston or are they the team who lost to the Knicks at Philips Arena. Its not fair for them to try to be both. Pick one! Either suck badly all the time, or play like contenders all the time!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grow A Pair

Prior to the season starting, I was the only person I know who wasn't convinced that "contract year Joe Johnson" was a good thing for the Atlanta Hawks. In my season preview I wrote the following:


Everyone is so sure that Joe Johnson playing for a contract can only mean good things for the Hawks. I don't really see it that way. Quite frankly, I'm worried.
Joe already tries to do way too much. This season Joe will try to do even more. He's got to prove that he's worth more than $60 million over 4 years, which is debatable.
The one player in recent history who did not defer to Joe Johnson is no longer here. Flip, (yes I'm talking about Flip Murray) signed with the Bobcats since the Hawks let him go in favor of Jamal Crawford. He was streaky and on any given night he scared the hell out of me, but he was at least proactive about getting his shot. This team needed that because the rest of the guys are far too content with just standing around watching Joe dribble 17 seconds off the shot clock only to end up with a contested jumper. Not that all of Joe's shots are of that nature, but as I pointed out last season, Joe takes bad shots often enough that its noticeable. There was a time when a Joe Johnson contested fade away jumper was a better option than a wide open jumper by anyone else. That is no longer the case because Joe's teammates are better, he just needs to trust them. Will he sacrifice his stats for the good of the team this season? Not in a contract year.....Joe has never been described as a "selfish player", but I'm willing to bet he will display a lot of "selfish player" tendencies this season. I guess we'll have to wait and see what position that leaves the team in when it's all said and done.

I felt like this was worth revisiting because well, Joe is struggling. According to Hoopinionblog "Johnson has taken 66 shots in the last four games. He's made 23 of those shots overall, and just 5 of 19 three-pointers. That's an eFG% of 38.6. He's also turned the ball over nine times while earning just 10 assists in 157 minutes while getting to the line for a grand total of five free throw attempts."

Look, I have not the time nor the desire to go game by game to point out the shortcomings of one Joe Johnson. Just know that even in some of their impressive wins, he's shooting a lot. In their losses, he's shooting a lot. Is he shooting 30 times per game? No, but he's shooting around 18 times per which isn't that bad, but he's only making like 5 shots. That's where the problem arises. Joe has the ability to shoot the team out of the game and everyone seems just fine with it. It's like they've all decided hey, if Joe isn't playing well, then we don't deserve to win anyway. Okay maybe it's not that extreme, but it seems to me that outside of the Philly game, they are content to let Joe shoot, and shoot and shoot even when he's not making shots. No one has the balls to tell him to stop, or at least take the damn ball out of his hands. Early in the season I thought it was odd that Jamal was sort of playing keep away from Joe, now I totally understand why he didn't pass him the ball. Joe has always tried to do too much, and there was a time where that was cool, that time has passed. There have been several games where Joe didn't have it going, but his teammates did and yet they all seemed to be content having to win the game in spite of his bad shot attempts. It's one thing to have to win games in spite of bad coaching, but it's going to be very hard to win games in spite of poor decision making by your "best player".

Someone on this team has to reign Joe in. We all know its not going to be Mike Woodson. He's the same guy who draws up plays for the struggling Johnson out of timeouts, and he wonders why he wasn't extended in the off-season. It's not going to be Joe, because while he's great at pointing out flaws, he rarely acknowledges where he contributes to the struggles of the team. Shooting and shooting and shooting when you aren't hitting shots won't help your team win games. I haven't heard him mention this in any post game quotes. Maybe we should get the ball in the hands of the guy who's actually making shots. He's not said anything like that either.

My point is that it is not okay for Joe to shoot the Hawks out of games. Someone has to stop him, yet no one seems to know how. The logical answer would be for the coach to bench his ass, but since that's not going to happen, the other 4 starters damn well better figure out a way.

Will he play well again? Of course, but in the meantime he needs to find ways to help the team win without shooting.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Friday, November 27, 2009

Magic 93, Hawks 76 or Where you know your guards suck defensively when Anthony Johnson scores 15 fourth quarter points.

Well that was a bad way to end Thanksgiving. The Hawks played well in the first half. They had a little pep in their step and they actually looked like a team that wanted to show the basketball world that they could hang with the big boys. They decided otherwise in the second half. The ball stopped moving as well as the 4 other players without the ball. Jeff Teague got traded, at least I assume he did because he didn't get play in the second half even though the other guards couldn't make a shot. It's like Orlando went on their second half run and the Hawks just conceded the game.

The Good: Anthony Johnson. He was out there running around like a 20 year old offensively and defensively. He had 15 fourth quarter points! I mean if someone had said to you "Johnson will have 15 fourth quarter points" you would have assumed they meant Joe Johnson. You would have been wrong. Honorable Mention: Dwight Howard. 22 points and 17 rebounds is more than just good, but he's Dwight Howard so you kind of expect that.

The Bad: Atlanta Hawks perimeter defense. Look, I can deal with a loss to the Magic because of Dwight dominating and Vince actually trying, but to let Anthony Johnson blow by you for 3 uncontested layups is almost unforgivable. Nothing against Anthony Johnson, but seriously. Honorable Mention: Jeff Teague playing under 5 minutes when he really couldn't have sucked any worse than the other Hawks guards.

The Ugly: The Hawks second half. It was brutal. They only scored 25 points. Nuff said.




For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hawks 105, Rockets 103 or Where 44 fourth quarter seconds of Josh Smith is all you need to win a game.

I don't really want to do a Good, Bad and Ugly, I just want to say Josh Smith was in an absolutely pissy mood tonight. Yes Dick Bavetta and the crew have had better days, but his displeasure with the officiating landed him a warm seat beside Mike Woodson and the gang. He was on the verge of losing it, so much so that Mike Woodson sat him for all but 44 seconds of the fourth quarter. He really didn't have a choice. It was either sit him, or let him get a technical and a possible ejection. Somehow Josh found himself on the court in a tie game with 5 seconds to go and he immediately righted all of his wrongs with one put-back dunk. Josh Smith alone was Good, Bad and Ugly, just not in that order.

Next up, New Orleans Hornets.




For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hawks 105, Heat 90 or Where the Hawks are 10-2!

The Hawks are 10-2, and its a legit 10-2, not like a 10-2 against the cellar dwellers of the NBA. Yeah the Knicks are one of those 10 wins, but its still legit.

The Good: Josh Smith. Joe had 30 points, but this team goes as Josh goes, especially in the Highlight Factory. He finished 16 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. When he's soaring all over the arena it gets the crowd into it and there's pretty much nothing the opponent can do. Aside from LeBron I defy you to name a Forward in the East playing better than Josh. He's doing it all. If I played fantasy basketball I'd want him on my team. Honorable Mention: Team defense on Dwyane Wade aka Nature Boy. I don't think he got a clean look at the basket all night. The Hawks strategy to build a wall around him and disregard his teammates will not work versus the other superstars in the league because their teammates do not suck quite as bad as Dwyane's. Oh well, that's a Miami problem.

The Bad: The Hawks third quarter. They came out flat and the Heat managed to turn a 17 point deficit into a 5 point deficit seemingly in the blink of an eye. Obviously the Hawks were able to overcome the new found energy of the Heat, but they need to find a way to start the third quarter strong. Bad third quarters remind me of yesteryear.

The Ugly: Heat players not named Michael Beasley. He finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and he was pretty much the lone bright spot for the Heat. He's drawing comparisons to a young Josh Smith which is very accurate. He's extremely athletic, but very raw. He should be a hell of a player when he matures, but that won't likely happen this season.



For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hawks 99, Blazers 95 or Where the Hawks had no business winning that game, but did so anyway

First of all (there will be no second of all, I just wanted to start this post with first of all) the Hawks had NO BUSINESS winning this game. None, Zip, Zero, Nada! However you choose to describe it, they should not have won. They played horribly for three and a half quarters. In reality Portland didn't play that great either, but someone was going to have to win the game.

The Good: Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. I really couldn't choose between the two. Joe The Basketball Player was a man in the fourth quarter and overtime. He had that "THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL WE'RE LOSING THIS GAME" look in his eyes when it mattered most. He finished the game with 35 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists. Josh Smith was crashing the boards like a man possessed. He had 20 points and 16 rebonds. Joe The Baksetball Player does not get to have his night if Josh doesn't rebound and defend like he did. Honorable Mention: Al Horford. He finished the game with 15 points, and 10 rebounds.

The Bad: The Hawks through 3.5 quarters. They were just bad. They couldn't hit a shot, and they couldn't or wouldn't stop Portland from hitting a shot. It was just bad. There was no energy or enthusiasm within miles of Philips arena.

The Ugly: The late arriving/non existent Atlanta crowd. Look, I know Atlanta Hawks games are just a place to be seen for a lot of you, but would it be asking too much for you to get there before the third quarter begins, or at all? Going into this game the Hawks were sitting atop the East and the Blazers hadn't lost a game since the Hawks beat them about 6 games ago. I know it's Monday and all, but there's no reason for that arena to be that empty. There are $10 tickets, buy one and get your ass downtown. The players need your energy and it's not a home court advantage if you can hear a pin drop in the arena. Josh Smith feeds off the crowd, y'all know this! They are one of the best teams in the league and you all damn well need to acknowledge that and come to the games.




For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hawks 97, Celtics 86 or Where the Hawks just flat out wanted it more

The Hawks won in the Garden (the one in Boston) for the first time in forever and a day. They used their youth and athleticism to out-hustle, out-rebound and hell out-everything the Celtics. The Hawks were just better tonight. Are they the better team? Well, that remains to be seen.


The Good: Atlanta Hawks rebounding: When you out-rebound the Celtics by 18 on their floor that's better than good. That's damn near great. To put things into perspective, Joe Johnson had one less rebound than Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace combined and two less than Kendrick Perkins. All of the 50/50 balls went to the Hawks. To say they wanted this game more is an understatement. Honorable mention: Al Horford and Jamal Crawford.

The Bad: Paul Pierce and his "sprained knee". If you live in Boston or root for the Celtics, chances are you love Paul Pierce. However if you live outside of Boston and don't root for the Celtics you probably hate Paul Pierce. I don't live in Boston, nor do I root for the Celtics. Honorable mention: Kendrick Perkin's scowl. It's not scary and he should just stop it.

The Ugly: Celtics 3 point shooting. They went 1-15 beyond the arc. Rasheed hit a 3 early in the game and that was it. They were more than willing to keep shooting them and that worked out great for the Hawks. In fairness to the Celtics, the Hawks weren't great beyond the arc either. Honorable mention: Atlanta Hawks 10 first half turnovers.

Up next, Chris Paulless Hornets.


For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hawks 114, Knicks 101 or Where Al Horford makes me smile.

The Good: Al Horford. The Boss totally lived up to his nickname tonight, particularly in the second half. He finished the game with 25 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. He really ignited the Hawks in the third quarter. Its like he finally decided he was better than the Knicks low post players and he went to work. Honorable mention: Josh Smith. He actually deserves more than an honorable mention because he was every bit as good as Al. He finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 2 steals.

The Bad: Joe Johnson's first half. Joe literally has the capability to shoot the Hawks into a game or shoot them out of one. Either way, he's shooting. He's been able to overcome his slow starts in a couple of games this season, but Joe would be better served to pass the ball to players who can actually make a damn shot as opposed to shooting over 2 to 4 defenders. Luckily he was able to rebound in the second half. He finished with 19 points.

The Ugly:
Letting the Knicks shoot over 60% at one point (second quarter) during the game. That's just unacceptable. I mean, yeah, Larry Hughes was on fire early and of course no one could have foreseen that, but the Knicks were getting wide open shots and uncontested layups at an alarming rate in the first half. To be such a defensive minded coach, Mike Woodson's team sure doesn't defend with any regularity. They defend in spurts, which is a recipe for disaster in the long run.


Up next, the Boston Celtics.

For more thorough analysis, visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk and Humanhighlightblog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hawks 97, Blazers 91 or Where Jamal Crawford was so good I didn't even notice Jeff Teague's DNP (Coach's Decision)

Hawks fans, your girl is down and almost out. I either have a really bad chest and head cold, the flu, Pneumonia or something else that drains all of your energy, takes your voice and prevents you from sleeping because you can't breathe or stop coughing. I am sick.

I did however muster up enough energy to watch the Hawks/Blazers game last night and I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't fold after the Blazers gut punched them. I'm getting dizzy, so on with the G B U (there will be no links in this post)

The Good: Jamal Crawford: When Joe Johnson was threatening to shoot them out of the first half, he was shooting them into it. 27 points, 7 assists and no turnovers. When Jamal is good, he's great. Honorable mention: Second half Joe Johnson.

The Bad: The First Quarter. The Blazers came out swinging and the Hawks were back pedalling.

The Ugly: Joe Johnson's First Half. He was 1-8 with 2 points. Honorable mention: Jeff Teague DNP

For more thorough analysis visit: Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk and Humanhighlightblog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hawks 110, Lakers 118 or Where Mike Woodson cares not about the flow of the game

I'm not going to recap this game because it would be disingenuous of me considering I was flipping back and forth between it and the World Series. (The Yankees are my favorite team) I did watch the first quarter and most of the second quarter and it reaffirmed one fatal flaw of Mr. Woodson, he does not make substitutions based on the flow of the game. He only makes substitutions for 2 reasons, foul trouble and the predetermined substitution patterns he had planned prior to the tip-off. There was absolutely no reason I can think of for him to sit Joe Johnson after the way he opened up the game. He had 18 points in the first quarter, so forgive me if I'm a little salty that he finished with 27 for the game. As Drew points out, he was on pace for 90 before Woody inexplicably sat him.

I'd love an explanation for why he felt the need to cool off his own player, but I know we'll never get one, because no one ever asks the questions that people want answered. Obviously that is not the only reason the Hawks lost. It's probably not even one of the top ten reasons, but when you sit your most productive player when he's playing at an insanely high level it certainly doesn't help matters. I just wanted to Vent about that.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk and Humanhiglightblog

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hawks 100, Wizards 89 or Where if Arenas turns the ball over 7 times, opponents win easily

Shout out to the NBA schedule makers for giving the Hawks two very winnable games before sending them out West to play the Lakers, Blazers, and Kings.
Thank goodness the Hawks held up their end of the bargain and took care of business. The Wizards are not at full strength, but no one outside of D.C. is going to shed any tears for them. Let's take a look at the G,B and U from tonight's game.

The Good: Josh Smith. He was all over the Highlight Factory tonight despite picking up 3 fouls early on. The fact that he was allowed to pick up #3 in the first half shows some growth by Mike Woodson. Kudos. Back to Josh, he had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and his 900th and 901st career blocks tonight. He's the youngest player in NBA history to reach 900 blocks. Honorable mention: Jamal Crawford (16 points) Al Horford (10 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks)

The Bad: Caron Butler's knee: He left the game in the second quarter with a bruised left knee and he didn't return. Sucks for the Wizards, but Hawks fans will take it. Honorable mention: Deshawn Stephenson's face.

The Ugly: Gilbert Arenas' 7 turnovers. I wouldn't say he was careless so much as he was clumsy. The Wizards will not win games when their best player is struggling with the little things like taking care of the ball. Although he accounted for half of the team's 14 turnovers, he did end up with 23 points and he was on fire a little bit in the 4th quarter. Honorable mention: Mike Miller's ponytail. I mean, it's just a pony tail, but it's two toned and besides that, he's not the most masculine looking dude you're ever going to see so the kids are probably confused. It's just a bad look at this point and it's not going to get any better. Either cut it, dye it all one color, or join the Mystics.

Up next, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Visit these other sites for more thorough Hawks analysis: Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk, Human Highlight Blog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hawks 120, Pacers 109 or Where defense is acceptable, but not mandatory.

Tonight was the first game for the Atlanta Hawks as well as the first official blog date night for myself and Larry from Hawkstr8talk. Larry was good company and I learned that he is a pretty popular dude around Philips Arena. I actually kinda already knew that, but whatever. It was good to watch the game with a fellow die hard Hawks fan/fellow blogger. He was not around for the Kiss Cam due to long lines at the bar so we missed our chance for 5 seconds of fame. Oh well, maybe we'll get em next time.
When we took our halftime stroll we ran into Hoopinion's very own Bret. He was on press row sitting beside the only man who understands PER, John Hollinger.

As for the game, the Hawks won a hard fought game against the Pacers who at one point were literally shooting over 70%. In the Hawks defense, (which is the only defense offered tonight that's worth mentioning)they did contest some of those shots. The Pacers were just on fire early. Were it not for the turnovers they could have won this game.

Pretty much every other Hawks blogger has some sort of format they follow for their game recaps. I suppose I should have one too. I'm going to keep it simple and go with, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The Good: Al Horford. The Boss had 24 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 1 steal. This is the Al Horford I fantasize about. Give him the damn ball and let him realize my dream for him to become the next Tim Duncan. That's right, I aim high. Honorable mention, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. (His first NBA points came on a dunk)

The Bad: TJ Ford. He was 1-9 from the field and he only had 3 points. There were other players who struggled, but he was the worst of the bunch considering he played over 23 minutes. Honorable mention, Solomon Jones who tried to use every foul he had in the first half.

The Ugly: The Hawks Defense. Indiana shot 63% from the field in the first half. That's unacceptable especially since Mike Woodson is supposed to be a defensive minded coach. Again, some of the shots were contested, but a large majority of them were good clean looks. Get it together.

Up next, Gilbert Arenas and the Washington Wizards.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hawks 2009-2010 Season Preview


So, the season is upon us and I've literally been on a blogging hiatus for over a month. I would offer you some excuses about how I've been busy or blah, blah, blah, but the reality of the situation is I need a damn off-season too! And, I'm slightly lazy. It's cool though because the other Hawks bloggers held it down, especially Drew over at Peachtreehoops. He was up on all of the Hawks news, very impressive.

Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk and The Human Highlight Blog have all done wonderful season previews. They've covered every aspect of the team from the starters to the bench to the coach. If you follow my blog you know there's just no way in hell I'm going to do any of that.

I honestly don't know what to expect from this team.

Everyone is so sure that Joe Johnson playing for a contract can only mean good things for the Hawks. I don't really see it that way. Quite frankly, I'm worried.
Joe already tries to do way too much. This season Joe will try to do even more. He's got to prove that he's worth more than $60 million over 4 years, which is debatable.
The one player in recent history who did not defer to Joe Johnson is no longer here. Flip, (yes I'm talking about Flip Murray) signed with the Bobcats since the Hawks let him go in favor of Jamal Crawford. He was streaky and on any given night he scared the hell out of me, but he was at least proactive about getting his shot. This team needed that because the rest of the guys are far too content with just standing around watching Joe dribble 17 seconds off the shot clock only to end up with a contested jumper. Not that all of Joe's shots are of that nature, but as I pointed out last season, Joe takes bad shots often enough that its noticeable. There was a time when a Joe Johnson contested fade away jumper was a better option than a wide open jumper by anyone else. That is no longer the case because Joe's teammates are better, he just needs to trust them. Will he sacrifice his stats for the good of the team this season? Not in a contract year.......
Joe has never been described as a "selfish player", but I'm willing to bet he will display a lot of "selfish player" tendencies this season. I guess we'll have to wait and see what position that leaves the team in when it's all said and done.

This is also a make or break season for Mike Woodson. He's gotta prove that he's capable of producing more than one winning season. Is this a championship contending team? I'm leaning towards no, hoping for yes, but leaning towards no. Having acknowledged the fact that playing in June is an -unrealistic- lofty goal, Mike Woodson will not be excused if this team gets swept in the second round again. At least I hope he won't. I admire the Spirit for honoring his contract and etc., but honestly, they already know what kind of coach Woody is. If Rick Sund can acknowledge the ceiling for all of the players, then he should also acknowledge the ceiling for Woody. He's reached it and he is not going to get any better, mainly because he's not going to do anything differently.
Every off-season he makes declarations about getting this player more minutes, or that player more touches and once the season begins he makes no noticeable effort to do any of the things he tells Sekou he's going to do. At some point they just have to accept who he is and make a decision as to whether or not that's good enough for them.
This preview is limited to Joe and Mike because they are the two most important people involved with this team this season. Joe is the Hawks best player and Woody is the man pulling the strings. Their effectiveness is directly related to the team's success.
It's not that Mike, Josh, Al, Za Za, Jamal, Jeff and Marvin aren't important, but they aren't as important as the guy who dominates the ball or the man whose offense allows him to do so.
I normally don't predict a win total and I'm not going to start now.

* Bonus*
I will routinely be having Blog dates with Larry from hawkstr8talk.com this season. He has accused me of being unreliable with my blog, but rest assured I will post about any Blog date games!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Say It Ain't So Joe


So last night Joe Johnson decided to try his luck with ustream. This horrified me in ways I can't even describe. We've all witnessed first hand the kind of things you can learn about a basketball player when he sits in front of a camera all day and some of it ain't pretty.
At first its all fun and games, but before you know it he's sitting there yelling at the haters on the computer; then the next thing you know he's eating Vaseline.
Let me intervene before Joe has some sort of life changing episode.

Joe The Basketball Player, you are not that interesting and that is the most interesting thing about you.
Yeah we Bloggers may make fun of you from time to time for being overall emotionless, but that's who you are. Don't try to change now.
So what if we can count the number of times you've smiled during the game without using all of our fingers and toes. Its what we've come to expect. Don't change now.
I don't know who peer pressured you into doing the live stream, but don't let this turn into a really bad episode of The After School Program.
I'm begging you, please quit while you're ahead.
I honestly don't want to know what you do off the court. I rather enjoy the completely professional business relationship we've had over the last 4 years. I know we're in the information age and there's unlimited access, but there doesn't have to be, really. One of the most endearing things about you is that all of the stories surrounding you are basketball related. We don't know what you do with your free time and for the most part we don't really care. Trying to make us care is the worst thing you could do.
You know how the game is played. If you let them (media, fans) in once then all of a sudden they feel like it's their God given right to know everything about you. Do you really want the paparazzi rifling through your trash?
Okay, so you're not Brittany Spears and they probably wouldn't bother, but you get my point.
Joe The Basketball Player does not need to act like an attention starved whore. Leave that to Stephon Marbury.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Answer To A Boring Off-Season


I will keep this relatively short and sweet.

I want the Atlanta Hawks to sign Allen Iverson.

He needs a team. He has a home in Atlanta. An Iverson Hawks jersey would be bananas!! He'd help with ticket sales. And last but not least.... He's still better than every other guard on the Hawks roster. He just is.

People would have you believe that last year was a sign of him slowing down and not having "it" anymore. I couldn't disagree more. That Pistons team never even gave it a chance to work out with AI. Rip, Tae and Rasheed were so devastated when Chauncey got traded they didn't even bother to try afterwards. There was a whole lot of standing around and pouting and it was never going to work because the remaining Pistons were just as vigilant as Chauncey in their efforts to show Dumars he shouldn't have traded him. They never embraced AI so it was doomed from the beginning.
AI is not completely blameless. He didn't respond well to coming off the bench. Yes he could have handled it better, but I certainly understand why he felt the way he felt. Well I understand it as best as someone who hasn't talked to him can understand it.
Anyway, if the Hawks can sign AI for around the MLE then they should do it. Why not? We all know there's no way in hell Woody is going to play Teague so they can bring AI in and since he has this thing about coming off the bench, they can let him start and bring Bibby off the bench.
They need to do this. Allen Iverson has overcome throughout his entire career and now he's in a situation where much like when he was a rookie everyone is doubting him. He can be very dangerous and at the very least it would be interesting to watch. Pretty much everything involving the Atlanta Hawks this off-season has been less than exciting. I'm actually bored with the fact that we are bringing back the same team. The same team to be coached by a man who doesn't have a guaranteed contract after this season.
It's just disheartening that other teams are genuinely making moves that they think will make them better, meanwhile the Hawks are making lateral moves. I have nothing against Mike or Za Za or Marvin, but we needed to do more and we didn't. They've now proven to me beyond a shadow of doubt that they are not trying to win a championship or even compete for one. They want to be just good enough. That should not be good enough for fans. It's not good enough for me.
Do I think Allen Iverson is The Answer? No I don't. As a fan I'd have every hope that he would be, but as a realist I know he probably isn't. I want Iverson here because of all the reasons I listed way back in the beginning of this relatively short post. If those reasons aren't good enough, the last thing I can offer you is, he's Allen f*cking Iverson. That's reason enough for me.
Tell me why you're for or against it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What am I supposed to wipe my feet on now?


Every single time I walk up to my condo door I become reinfuriated. (don't know or care if that's a real word)
About a week and a half ago someone had the audacity to steal my Atlanta Hawks welcome mat. When I came home that night I immediately noticed it was missing because it's always the first thing I notice when I walk through the breeze way.
Any other person would probably have gotten over this egregious act of wrong doing, but as you all know I am not normal.
The very next day I posted a sign near the mailboxes that read:

TO WHOM THIS MAY CONCERN:

SOMEONE STOLE MY ATLANTA HAWKS WELCOME MAT AND I WANT IT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I DON’T KNOW WHAT KIND OF RIFF RAFF SOMEONE HAS BEEN LETTING INTO THIS COMPLEX, BUT I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW WOULD RETURN MY MAT EXACTLY WHERE YOU FOUND IT!
SINCERELY,
APT. 214

Needless to say I have not gotten any responses, although I did hear a young lady telling one of her friends about it as she walked through the breezeway. Whatever.

Back to why I just can't let it go. I bought that mat over 2 years ago at the Team Gear store in Philips Arena. It didn't cost an obscene amount of money, probably around $20. I'm not even sure if they still have it and it shouldn't matter if they do because I already bought one. I can't stress that enough. I already bought one!!!! I say that because a couple of people told me "just buy another one". My response was and will continue to be that I shouldn't have to buy another one because I bought that one. It was mine. No matter what you think about the Hawks or some silly little insignificant object such as a welcome mat, the fact remains that it was mine, I bought it and some asshole stole it.
That welcome mat (yes that one specifically) pretty much represented a lot of my personality. When people would come visit all I would say is "it's the first breeze way and you'll know which one is mine". That may not seem like a big deal to you, but this isn't about you so whatever. No one ever knocked on the wrong door or was even slightly confused about which condo was mine. Those who know me (which is pretty much a prerequisite if you're coming to my house) knew exactly how to find me. Now, I have to start giving specific directions and or a door number. So not the kind of life I'm trying to lead.
Is that welcome mat the only piece of Hawks paraphernalia I own? Of course not. I have game worn jersey's and a Hawks throw and several autographed items, but that's beside the point. That welcome mat was just so me. I'm not the type of girl to have some boring ass straw welcome mat with a plant on it or something as equally blah as that. It's just not who I am. I'm the girl whose friends know when the Hawks are playing on a Friday night she's not leaving the house until the game is over. I'm the girl who is actually genuinely concerned about the fact that Mike Woodson will be coaching next season without a contract. I'm the girl who flew to Miami and watched the Hawks get a good old fashioned ass whipping in Game 3 of the playoffs last year on my own dime at the spur of the moment. I'm the girl who has an autographed basketball from the 13 win team and I treat it like it's autographed by the 92 Chicago Bulls. I'm the girl who had an Atlanta Hawks welcome mat. The fact that I have to say had as opposed to have still doesn't sit well with me. Oh well, I guess........

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Questions Than Answers




Now that the draft is over as is the tenure of one Mr. Acie Law IV in Atlanta, it's time to look at the team and assess what kind of off season they've had thus far.

1. They did not extend nor did they fire Mike Woodson. Rick Sund and the gang are content with letting Woody coach this season with no contract. They see it as honoring his contract and giving him a chance to prove his worth. I see it as a disaster waiting to happen. MAKE A DECISION! It is not a good idea to go into this season letting Mike Woodson coach a team that he has already proven he cannot get maximum effort out of night after night without a contract. There are certain players on the team who shall remain nameless (everyone not named Joe Johnson) who have limited respect for Woody. Do we really want to see what their reaction is when there's no guarantee he'll be back next season? Actually, for comical purposes I do want to see it.

2. They traded Acie Law and Craig Claxton's expiring contract for Jamal Crawford. I have absolutely nothing against Jamal Crawford. I can't stress that enough. He's fun to watch and you just know he's going to have a 50 point game or two throughout the season. However, he's a streaky volume shooter who is not a point guard and he's a reluctant defender. If the plan is to have him play point guard and have Joe play shooting guard then I see the Hawks reverting back to the days when they were winning around 30 games. We tried the whole two guard playing point guard thing the first two years with Joe Johnson. It wasn't a good idea then it's not a good idea now. Crawford is supposedly insurance just in case they can't re-sign Mike Bibby, but it's not really an even exchange. Crawford is more interested in shooting than passing. It's just who he is. He's a higher priced Flip Murray. The only way for this to work would be for the Hawks to re-sign Bibby and let Crawford replace Flip. Yes he's going to be a very highly paid bench player, but that's the only way this has even the slightest chance at being successful.

3. Al Horford may never get to shoot again. The way they are going about constructing this team Al's points are going to have to come off of put backs. Oh, so nothing will change.

4. The Hawks drafted another combo guard in Jeff Teague. I don't know much about Teague. I'm not even going to pretend that I do, but from everything I've read he's just like Ben Gordon (not a bad thing). Again, this does not address the team's point guard needs. The chances of Teague getting any real playing time are slim to none anyway. See Law, Acie for examples on how Woody treats young players. If Woody wouldn't develop players when he had a couple of years left on his contract he's certainly not going to start when his job is actually on the line. In this case I can't blame him because if my job were on the line I probably wouldn't put my fate in the hands of a first year intern.

There are still a ton of questions to be answered about this team. They still have to figure out what to do with Marvin, Za Za, Flip and to a lesser degree Josh Childress. I don't know what this team will look like when training camp opens up, but right now consider me uninspired.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Awful Post Season Officiating: As Seen In Score Atlanta


The officiating in the NBA Playoffs has been dreadful. It’s actually been worse than dreadful. Dreadful would be offended to know that NBA officiating was compared to it. Seriously, it’s one of the main topics of conversation among both hard core and casual basketball fans alike. We can literally tell how good or bad of a night it’s going to be once they announce who is officiating the game. Here’s a small list of names you DON’T want to see officiating your favorite team’s playoff contest (especially if your team is playing Lebron James). Joey Crawford, Mark Wunderlich, Danny Crawford, Tony Brothers, Steve Javie, Dick Bavetta , and Violet Palmer just to name a few. Stan Van Gundy wants people who have columns to write about the officiating because we won’t be fined $25,000. I’m only too happy to oblige. There’s always been favoritism towards the superstars in the league, but they’ve taken it to a whole new level of ridiculousness this postseason. The coaches and players can’t say too much because they’ll be fined which is absolutely insane. Someone should be able to say the officials were particularly terrible without being disciplined. The league has made it so the officials are free from criticism. They never have to stand up and be held accountable for their awful performances. They get to make one egregious call after another with no repercussions. It must be nice to have a job that you can blatantly suck at and not be fired for it. We should all be so lucky. You would think at this point in the playoffs only the best of the best would be allowed to work, but apparently they’re just going with the usual suspects. I don’t know what kind of grading scale they use to assess the officials performances, but it needs to be reevaluated because if these guys they’ve been trotting out are the best of the best then the league is in serious trouble. The officials have become bigger than the game and no league can survive that, not even the NBA

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hawks Need A Line Leader




We all remember Elementary school. Anytime we left the classroom for anything we had to line up. Whether we were going to lunch, or outside for P.E. or some sort of program in the auditorium or whatever. We had to form a line. Most of my teachers liked to line us up either alphabetically or according to which row we were seated in. No matter the reasoning the teacher always picked a Line Leader. That person got to be the first one in the line and he/she got to lead the other 20 + students wherever they were headed at the time.
The Line Leader was something everyone wanted to be. No one ever said "nah Mrs. Patterson, I think I'd rather be in the middle or the back of the line". Nope, everyone wanted to be first. Everyone. From the smartest kid, to the loudest kid, to the dumbest kid, everyone wanted to be the Line Leader. It was privilege and an honor. I don't know why, but it was. Not just anyone was qualified to be the Line Leader. The teacher was very unlikely to pick a child who consistently misbehaved, or blatantly underachieved in the classroom. She was more likely going to choose one of the smarter children or one of the better behaved children. On occasion she'd throw the class clown a bone if he'd managed to be somewhat tolerable that day, but generally speaking you had to be cut from a certain cloth to be the Line Leader.

This Hawks team is lacking a Line Leader.

Yeah it would probably be cool to walk down the hall with Josh leading the way, but he's easily distracted at times and he may very well lead us out to P.E. when it's clearly lunch time.
Bibby would be okay, but sometimes he walks too slow and classes who are behind us would be able to catch up and pass us.
It all comes back to Joe. It has to be Joe. If ever there were a child who might have preferred being in the middle of the line as opposed to the front, it would be Joe. It's not that I think he doesn't want to be in the front, its just I think he doesn't care either way. Joe has to understand that you can't lead from the middle. You have to lead from the front.
As far as this Hawks team is concerned Joe is the quietest and smartest player on the team. Its his responsibility to make sure they get to the damn lunchroom.

I know this post probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but whatever, it was the first thing that popped in my mind when I thought about the goings on with this team.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hawks Advance Thanks To Joe The Basketball Player


Finally!!!!!

This series with the Miami Heat was painful to watch 3 out of 7 times for Hawks fans, 4 out of 7 times for Heat fans and 7 out of 7 times for people without a rooting interest. Whomever was leading after the first quarter won every game. Other than the fact that I knew the Hawks would win Game 7 because they are better than the Heat, that little fact was the nail in the coffin in Game 7. The Hawks trailed 14-18 in the waning minutes of the quarter so I text my brother (who happened to be at the game) and I told him we have to be leading after 1 in order to win this game. There's no way around it. The Hawks then scored the next 6 points to end the quarter and the rest is history.
Leading up to Game 7 all we heard/read about was how "anything can happen in a Game 7 and you should always bet on the team who has the best player" or something to that affect. No one even bothered to consider that Joe Johnson might be able to be the best player on the floor in that game. Joe had not had a great series heading into Game 7 so I guess it was easy for people to assume that he'd be nothing more than a footnote in the Dwyane Wade Game 7 highlight reel. Those people were mistaken. On May 3rd as far as that Game 7 was concerned, the team who had the best player was the Atlanta Hawks.
Joe The Basketball Player put in work yesterday afternoon after getting off to a slow start. There are at least two "Where Amazing Happens" commercial moments that include Joe draining a 40 foot 3 pointer in Dwyane Wade's grill. One of which he CLEARLY got fouled by Wade. (vent) How is it that James Jones can get numerous foul calls while attempting 3 pointers and Joe Johnson can't get one call on one of the two glaringly obvious times he was fouled while shooting a 3??? I mean seriously!
It all goes back to the lack of respect Joe gets. It's all good though. He didn't need the extra points.
Joe The Basketball Player absolutely had his way with Dwyane Wade. Regardless of what you've read or heard, Wade was NOT guarding Joe Johnson this entire series. It irritated the hell out of me to hear people say "and Wade guards the other team's best player" Well if Mo Evans is the Hawks best player then yes, Wade did accomplish that. Yesterday was legitimately the only game where Wade consistently went one on one with Joe and his ass got worked! I was literally yelling "take him Joe, he can't guard you". Guess what, I was right. He couldn't guard him. Joe was efficient and just downright rude to Dwyane Wade yesterday. When he pulled up from right in front of the Hawks emblem I knew his confidence was at an all time high. I knew Joe the Basketball Player was among us. Kudos to you Joe.
We now move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are a very good team and no one expects the Hawks to be competitive. No one except me. There are various Hawks fans who will tell you they are happy with making it here and they won't mind being swept by the Cavs and blah blah blah. Don't throw me in with that bunch. I am not that fan.
I am not just happy to be here, nor am I among those who is expecting the worst. I fully expect MY team to go out and win this series. That's the type of fan I am. I've already envisioned the Hawks winning this series in 6 games. Honestly, I have it all worked out in my mind. How is this supposed to happen? I'm glad you asked. (I know you asked)
We'll win one of these two games in Cleveland, come back to Philips and win both of our games, go back to Cleveland and lose, then come back to Philips and end the series. See how simple that is???
That's my approach to this series. I am not happy with a second round berth. Call me greedy or delusional or both, but that's the type of fan I am.
I make no apologies for it.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Game 6 Recap/Game 7 Preview

Game 6 was all Heat all night. The Hawks were awful. There are many reasons as Drew and Bret and Jason outline factually and concisely.

Game 7 should be a Hawks win. I don't care if the Heat have the best player on the floor. The Hawks are a better team than the Miami Heat. They were better than Miami all season and that hasn't changed in 6 short games. They damn well better win tomorrow.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Game 5 Recap: Bittersweet Victory

Three Things:

1. Hawks won an ugly 3 hour free throw contest. Look I understand the need for the refs to keep the game under control in order to make sure no one gets injured. There were a few hard fouls in the early stages and they needed to reign everyone in, but my goodness there needs to be some balance. It seems the officiating in these playoffs is an either everything or nothing concept. They either call everything or they let the players murder each other. There's no in between. After a couple of stare downs that ultimately led to nothing, they decided to call everything. If I never see another game officiated by Tony Brothers, Dick Bavetta and Violet Palmer again it will be too soon.

2. Al being hurt is a problem. My heart broke when I saw him writhing around on the floor in pain. See unlike The Nature Boy, if Al lies on the floor for extended minutes it isn't an attempt to gain attention. After the initial replay I thought it was his knee. Clearly that would have been unfortunate. It turns out it was his ankle, which is still bad, but not as bad as a knee. They started treatment on it immediately after he entered the locker room so basically we have to play a game of wait and see. Za Za has been fantastic off the bench and that's where he needs to stay. I hope you're sitting down for this next part. If Al can't go, we need to start Solo. Before you ask, yes I'm serious and no I haven't had anything to drink this morning. We need Za Za's energy off the bench. Sometimes he comes in and his efforts immediately change the tone of the game. It's the same reason we need Flip off the bench. He's a spark as is Za Za. Hopefully Solo can provide a few good minutes here and there and Za Za can come in and do the dirty work like he always does. This is how it has to be. P.S. When Josh helped Al to the free throw line from the bench my heart melted.

3. Josh Smith's dunk attempt......... Let me start out by saying I almost died laughing when he tried it. Seriously I almost fell out of my seat. It was unbelievable. The only thing I said to the guy sitting beside me was "Josh is a damn fool" while laughing hysterically. We were both amazed and I got several text messages from people sharing my disbelief. It was pure comedy that he would even attempt to do something like that in the middle of a game. The fact that it was a playoff game only made it that much more hilarious. Of course the Heat players are all offended. They think he tried to embarrass them. They are clearly a self absorbed group of people. Josh's dunk attempt was not about trying to show up the Heat. It was purely about trying to incite the crowd at The Highlight Factory. Those who regularly watch or attend Hawks games understand his relationship with the crowd. Yes the team needs him to rebound, score and block shots, but more than anything they need him to do something amazing to get the crowd amped up. That's where the motivation for that dunk attempt came from. I twittered Woody needed to bench him, not because he shouldn't have done it, but because I didn't want him to get hurt considering I knew the Heat's feelings would be hurt.

* Bonus thing: Dwyane Wade is the biggest drama queen in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, he should be in movies, not just commercials. That's why he is referred to as Nature Boy. His acting is very much on par with that of Ric flair. Ridiculous. And the media needs to stop feeding into that bull****. I don't want to hear about back spasms anymore. He didn't wince one time last night about his back. And, if we're being honest, the only time it seemed to bother him in Game 4 was when he missed a shot or he was looking for a foul call and the refs didn't oblige. I'm so over Dwyane Wade and the theatrics. Quit with the B*tcha**ness!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Game 4 Preview: Joe The Basketball Player, Step Up


I really hate to do this, but here's a quote from Joe Johnson prior to the playoffs starting.

"You get that type of respect for how you perform during the postseason," Joe Johnson said. "During the regular season, you get your name out there, you get known. But the postseason is where legends are made."

Well Joe, it's time for you to have THAT game. You know the one I repeatedly beg you to have in many a posts on this very blog?
That, "there's no way in HELL we are losing this game on my watch tonight".
I know you are going up against one of the players who has perfected that type of game, but still.
If it's in you, you have to bring it out tonight.
This is the season.
Be Joe The Basketball Player tonight.

Game 3 aka A Disaster

Sigh.
I have a million thoughts running through my head about my experience in Miami. This is going to be a good old fashioned vent. If you're looking for a well thought out cohesive post you should go ahead and move on now.
Let's start with American Airlines Arena. It's really really nice upon entry. The bathrooms are big and clean and there's just a lot of walking space it seems. Unfortunately they only have an up escalator so you have to take regular stairs to get back down which isn't a big deal, but it is slightly confusing.
I don't know if it was just the side I came in on, but no one and I mean absolutely no one checked to see if I had a ticket before they let me in the arena. They frisked me and checked my purse, but didn't bother to make sure I had a ticket to attend the event. Strange.
I finally decided to go to my seat about 30 minutes prior to the tip. The usher was nice enough to ask me what section I was in and then promptly directed me left when I should have gone right. I would not find this out until after they played the National Anthem. Whatever. While I was sitting there the announcer was going through the crowd urging the fans to put on the "Black is Back" t-shirt that they gave them at the door. The cameras panned the crowd and when they'd land on someone who wasn't in black he'd ask them nicely to put the shirt on.
Eventually the camera worked it's was around to me in section 113 (shoulda been in section 112) and he said Miss can you please put on the black shirt. I had on a white t shirt with a little Hawks emblem on it that wasn't apparent upon first glance, but once the fans noticed it and saw my big blue Hawks flag they booed me. Ha! That was the highlight of the game for me and the Hawks, but I wouldn't find that out until later.
A couple of people I know from Atlanta and from Miami came to my section to say hello. Again, no one bothered to make sure they should even be there. I honestly think I could have made my way courtside unimpeded. I mean, I knew they were laid back in Miami, but damn.
Anyway, the season ticket holder whose seat I was occupying showed up and informed me that I in fact was in the wrong section. Whatever.
I made my way to my seat and luckily for me I was in between two rather nice middle aged men. They didn't even give me a hard time for being a Hawks fan. The game started and you all know it was a complete ass whipping so I really need not get too much into that at this point. I will say that Heat fans feel just as strongly as D Wade does that he get a foul call everytime someone breathes on him. That was slightly annoying.
I've always wanted to see what it feels like to be in an arena surrounded by fans who have a legitimate superstar. I felt it Saturday. The arena was insane. D Wade could have murdered a man (the dunk on Horford doesn't count) and they would rally behind him anyway. It was loud and louder and I know our guys were shook. I could see it in their eyes, and their play coincidentally.
Their overall game operations were really really good. They had lots of energy and they seem to appreciate all of their fans, not just the ones who can afford the $100 tickets. The cameras were consistently panning the upper levels. I don't even think the cameras in Philips Arena go past the 100's.
The Miami Heat dancers are provocative. Provocative may not be a strong enough word to describe them. Hawkstr8talk, would have given them major kudos. The A-Town dancers need to step it up.
Their mascot sucks, but the fans loved him. I can only assume that's because he's all they know. Trust me, Harry is better than him by a country mile.
I guess I should share a few thoughts about the game. It was awful
When Al started the game with an airball I knew it was going to be a long night.
When they stuck to the game plan of not doubling Wade I knew it was going to be a longer night.
When Joe got his shot blocked 13 times in the early stages of the game I knew it was going to be an even longer night.
When Mike Bibby threw a lob to Za Za Pachulia I wanted to put on the black is back shirt.
The most disturbing thing about the game was that I had to watch it sober, but I'll be damned if I pay $17 for a cocktail.
The fact that Mike Woodson is being out coached by a rookie head coach tells you everything you need to know about how good of a coach he may or may not be.
Everytime Joe touched the ball he had the man who was guarding him and then the man closest to the man that was guarding Joe would leave whomever he was initially guarding to double Joe. If Erick Spoelstra bothers to double Joe why won't Mike Woodson bother to double Dwyane Damn Wade??? Seriously get the ball out of his hands. I can take getting beat by the Heat role players if the Hawks keep Wade in check, but I can't stomach getting beat by both.
I can't tell you how many texts I got stating Woody needs to make an adjustment or he needs to rethink this "defensive strategy". I could only respond with that's not something he does.
When it's time to renegotiate Woody's contract Rick Sund need only pull out the tape of Game 3 and make him watch it in it's entirety. Then he should make Woody look him in the eyes and explain why he deserves to be a head coach of an NBA team. Then Rick Sund should immediately stop listening.
Next time I'm in Miami I am not going to Dwyane Wade's house. He doesn't know how to treat company.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Writing Was On The Scoreboard (figuratively and literally)


I knew very early on last night would not end well for Atlanta. Spirit the Hawk is not really an indicator as to how well the game will go, but if my memory serves me correctly when Spirit refuses to take his normal route the Hawks lose. There have been a couple of games where he just decided to not fly down at all. Coincidentally one of those games was the season before last against Miami. The Hawks went on to lose that game.

Spirit came down last night but he decided to take a few laps around the arena before eventually landing on the scoreboard stopping play of the game because Jermaine O'neal was afraid of him. What a wuss.
There were a lot of things that frustrated me last night, but none more so than the wide open 3 point attempts the Miami Heat players kept getting. At some point I assumed someone would recognize that it's not a good idea to leave the reigning 3 point shootout champion open. I assumed incorrectly.
Wade was on fiah at different points in the game. Not a whole lot you can do about that.
Even with all those things going on the Hawks managed to cut the lead to 5 points in the fourth quarter before completely collapsing and only scoring two more points thereafter.
Joe has not been good in this series. At some point I assume that will change.
Oh well, I actually think losing Game 2 makes us better suited to win Game 3. I certainly hope that's the case since I will be in Miami watching that game. If the Hawks win it will certainly make me feel a lot better about all the money I'm spending just to watch a basketball game.
Go Hawks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Good Old Fashioned Ass Whippin


Two things from that Ass Whippin the Hawks put on the Heat last night:

1) Josh Smith is AWESOME. It's as if he wanted to remind everyone that Philips Arena is referred to as The Highlight Factory simply because of him. I'm not sure he made a shot other than a dunk. I honestly don't know. It seems like every time I looked up he was soaring above the rim. AWESOME. If Josh so chooses to, he could make this an absolutely humiliating series for young Michael Beasley. I'm hoping Josh so chooses too, but he'll need help. Keep lobbing the ball towards the rim Mike and Joe. Thanks in advance.

2) Defense wins games. Honestly the second qtr almost brought a tear to my eye. It was a clinic. I thought I was watching summer camp drills as opposed to an NBA playoff game. They harassed Wade all night long! He was visibly frustrated, but they didn't relent. Joe did a better job on him than we could have reasonably hoped for. AWESOME. Fun Fact (stolen from Micah via Twitter, but obvious if you can add or subtract) the Hawks could have only scored 6 points after half time and still won the game. AWESOME.

* I forgot how important Marvin Williams is to the team until he came in and set the tone last night in the first quarter. His jumper was falling and he had a monstrous dunk. AWESOME.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hawks/Heat Preview


Hawks Win. (I LOOOOVE THIS PICTURE)

I don't really have it in me to give you stats (something I don't like to rely on anyway) or bullet points ( I'll leave those to Drew) I don't do graphs ( Bret has that covered) Quick wit (Jason handles that) Riffing on the Hawks (Larry is king) Insanely funny sometimes profanity laced tirades (Look no further than Joe) Facts and insight into the team (Micah is the best) Basically all I have to offer is my opinion that the Hawks will win this series in about 6 games.

Monday, April 13, 2009

REST THE STARTERS, AND ZA ZA

I want Joe, Josh, Al, Mike and Za Za sitting comfortably on the bench in something like this for the next two games. Thanks in advance Coach Woodson.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Josh Smith's Value: The Great Unknown


The other day I wrote: "I would rather play the Sixers because I honestly think the prospect of a LeBron vs Wade second round would be too enticing for the league to pass up."

I've changed my mind. The Hawks don't match up well against the Sixers at all. I'm kind of vexed by the fact that the Hawks can't or won't keep up with the Sixers. It's not like the Hawks are the Phoenix Suns and are full of geriatric players who are slightly past their prime. Atlanta's legs can't be that much older than Philly's yet the Hawks always look a step slow when they play them.

I'm going to put out a little challenge to Hoopinion (I'm too lazy to do it myself and honestly I wouldn't know where to start)
We need to figure out exactly what kind of numbers Josh Smith needs to have in order for the team to be successful. He had 33 points last night and the Hawks lost by 13. He's is one of the players on the team whose production is rarely an indicator of whether or not the Hawks won or lost. I just can't figure out exactly what his value to the team is. Do we need him in that 15-20 point range? Does it matter? When the Hawks lose it certainly seems like his point production is important, but not on a night like last night. Although in his defense, he was the only thing resembling offense in the first half. I guess the only conclusion we can realistically come to is if Josh Smith is the best player on the team, they won't win many games........ I don't know. I'll wait for stats.

Speaking of stats, how is it that Josh was a -17 last night???????? Seriously if someone doesn't explain +/- to me soon my head will explode and I will no longer accept it as a measuring stick for a player's performance. Not that I accept it now.........
But, when Josh has 33 points and he only misses 2 shots, he's 3-3 from behind the arc, and he hits all of his free throws, blocks two shots, steals the ball twice and he's -17 it makes me scratch head.
I really need someone to explain it to me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sixers or Heat


Who do you think the Hawks match-up better against?

My thoughts on this don't even concern the match ups. I'm more concerned with how the NBA thrives.
I would rather play the Sixers because I honestly think the prospect of a LeBron vs Wade second round would be too enticing for the league to pass up. I'm not saying they "fix" games. I'm just saying we all know the kind of preferential treatment superstars tend to get and Wade is one of the more preferred in the league. I remember watching him skip to the free throw line 20 something times in the Finals against the Mavs. If they'll officiate him like that when the whole world is watching, then you know they'll give him a bogus call or two when only one coast is watching.
Having said all of that, I honestly think the Hawks are the 4th best team in the East and they should beat whomever they play in the first round (with home court advantage)
What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The NBA: Where Tony Parker is Unimpressed by the Hawks Home Court Win Streak


Random thoughts about last nights loss:

1. You could look at Tony Parker's 42 point 10 assist night and easily come to the conclusion that Mike Bibby did a horrible job defending him, but you shouldn't look at it that way. Let's be honest, no one expected Bibby to contain Parker (if you did then you clearly don't watch Hawks games) we only hoped he'd do an admirable job. He didn't, but that's fine because like I said no one expected him to do so anyway. It's not all Bibby fault. The Hawks front line did little to hinder Parker's layup drills.
2. We/Everyone raves about Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash as great point guards and they are very good, but Tony Parker's name should be mentioned among if not before them. Parker is really good when he has Duncan and Ginobili alongside him. Parker is borderline great when he's missing one of them. He may not average double digit assists (although 7 assists is nothing to hang your head about) but I defy you to name a point guard who can get to the rim and finish as well as Parker. The thing that sets him apart the most from his peers is he has several championship rings and a Finals MVP. I'm sure he'd rather win another championship than win the adulation of the media, so people can go ahead and continue ignoring him.
3. Joe needs a killer instinct. He sorta has one sometimes, but not really. He has to realize when certain players just can't guard him. Each "offensive set" took him about 9 seconds too long to come to the conclusion that he could take Ime Udoke off the dribble pretty much at will. He needs to recognize these things sooner. That being said, he missed a ton of shots that he probably wouldn't miss any other night. He still finished with 30 points on 13-23 shooting. Somehow he had a +/- of -10. See why I don't pay attention to +/-? I don't understand it.
4. When I thought about this match up as Al Horford's chance to go up against the player I hope he turns into one day, I wasn't talking about Drew Gooden........ Al's 2-9 shooting does nothing to help my case that the offense should run through him. But, much like Joe he missed shots he'd normally make so I won't fret.
5. One of the security ladies noticed Tim Duncan wasn't playing so she wondered why the Spurs were winning. I explained to her that it's because their coach is far superior to our/most coaches. He actually had what we'll just call a "game plan" and he went about getting his team to execute it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hawks/Wolves Preview: Courtesy of my Mom

This is a real conversation I had with my Mom this morning.

C.C.:What are you doing?

Mom: Just working. What about you?

C.C.: Just working.

Mom: Do y'all have a game this evening?

C.C.: Yeah we play the Timberwolves.

Mom: Oh, it's a Thrashers game.

C.C.: No, it's a Hawks game.

Mom: Well where do they play? I've never heard of them.

C.C.: They play in Minnesota.

Mom: They can afford an NBA team?

C.C.: Apparently.

Mom: Should the Hawks win?

C.C.: They darn well better. They have to play the Spurs, Celtics and Lakers this week. They can't lose this one.

Mom: Yeah they shouldn't lose to a team I've never heard of. Who plays for them?

C.C.: Kevin Garnett used to play for them.

Mom: Oh I know who that is. They must have only mentioned him and never the team he played for. Who else played for them?

C.C.: No one worth mentioning obviously.

Mom: Yeah well I guess the Hawks shouldn't lose to a bunch of nobodies.

C.C. : Let's hope.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hawks/Mavericks Recap Twitter Style

Screen names totally made up, except for mine....

Cocoqt81@CoachRCarlisle you cannot clap your hands violently at the officials.

CoachRCarlisle@DofficialStafford you'll be hearing from our team owner, also the view from the locker room isn't as bad as it sounds.

CoachRCarlisle@Cocoqt81 at least I didn't have to watch our 3 point shooting live....

Joethebasketballplaya@MBibbyKing4lyfe I start off slow and finish strong, u should try it.

BossAl@Lbrowndisciplewoody in case you haven't noticed, the offense should kinda run through me. I'm legit.

Lbrowndisciplewoody@BossAl just rebound and play defense, the offense will take care of itself.

JSmoove@TheotherJET If I see u in the streets..........

TheotherJET@JSmoove chill out man, I wasn't tryna hurt u..now ur just whining like that pansy Matt Harpring....... and our owner.

Cocoqt81@TheotherJET you're now dead to me, not that I ever cared for you all that much anyway

MBibbyKing4lyfe@JKidd4tripdub wanna go get our summer color together? Oh and thanx for being one of the few point guards who don't make me look so bad defensively...you know, since you can't shoot.

InstantoffenseMurray@Cocoqt81 did you happen to notice I was +24 tonight?? Are u still scared of me?

InstantoffenseMurray@MBibbyKing4lyfe keep playin the way u been playin and I'll be startin in the playoffs

Mwesthustles@Acielawless LOL I played more minutes than u......

Acielawless@Mwesthustles :(

Mwesthustles@Lbrowndisciplewoody I was +6, see I told you good things happen when I'm on the floor.. Did you notice JSmoove was -1?

JSmoove@BossAl Our stat line is almost the same. How am I -1 but ur +9? This doesn't make sense.

Joethebasketballplaya@JSmoove when you take jumpers and miss them it brings your +/- down.....just something to keep in mind.

Joethebasketballplaya@BossAl I'll be damned if the offense runs through u, just keep rebounding my misses...

I could literally do this all day, but I will not.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The NBA: Where Joe Johnson continues to be unimpresssed by All-Star guards not named Joe Johnson

Joe The Basketball Player has been awesome lately. Yesterday he was so good I found myself yelling "Take him Joe, he can't guard you" at everyone on Portland's team who attempted to guard him. In fairness to Portland, the game was played at 10:00 their time so they were probably a teeny bit tired. Oh well, them's the breaks.

Back to Joe..


He's got that Bruce Leroy, Last Dragon kinda Glow.







I just had to re-post this picture. It's just an awesome shot that I found on Yahoo after the Utah game. It's fitting because Joe has been glowing over the past week. He's done it all. Drives to the basket, killer crossovers followed by step back 15 footers, 3 pointers (yesterday not so much) and he still has the time to rack up a handful of assists. So unselfish. When going over the list of players I thought needed to step up in Marvin's absence Joe was like 4th on that list which doesn't really make sense considering he's the best player on the team. I guess I should kinda expect the best player on the team to do best player on the team things when their team needs it. For weeks I've been waiting on Joe to have one of those "there's no way in hell we're losing THIS game tonight" games. He's had four of them in a row. Thanks for your cooperation Joe.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hawks Unimpressed By Opponents Win Streaks


Five Quick thoughts about the Hawks taking down the Jazz:


1. Joe The Basketball Player is back. Joe is the most appreciated slightly unappreciated Hawks player. He scores 31 points and I'm like eh...... One of the most charming things about Joe's game is how effortless he makes it look. It's also one of the things that makes us pay more attention to the other haves and have nots on the team. It's not like we don't notice when Joe is struggling. We need only look at win/loss totals over the past 2 months or so to really appreciate how much this team's success is directly connected to him.


2. Someone may want to tap Mike Bibby on the shoulder and remind him he is playing for a contract. Not necessarily a contract with the Hawks, but a contract nonetheless. He's struggling. Like for real struggling. We all want Acie Law to get more playing time, but not because we are getting next to nothing from Bibby. We'd just like him to be a part of the rotation because most successful teams have a backup point guard as part of the rotation.....


3. Marvin's injury is a blessing in disguise. Don't get it twisted, I never want to see a player injured (unless it's a Celtic) but this injury (like a few others in the past four years) forces Woody to use other players. Most coaches know they need to not only play 6 guys, but sometimes this fact eludes Woody. When I saw Mario West in the game in the first half you could have knocked me over with a feather. I'm not saying he deserves to play 20 minutes, but games when the Hawks have little to no energy he should definitely be an option because he plays hard. How about the dunk last night? So adorable.


4. The Hawks really are about entertaining the fans, that's why they don't blow anybody out. The Jazz are a good team, but the Hawks came out in the second half and played nothing like they did in the first half. I mean what actually goes on in the locker room to make them come out so lethargic? I'm convinced they just want to make sure the fans are interested in the waning minutes of the 4th qtr.


5. The Hawks absolutely must secure that 4th seed. They NEED home court advantage in the first round. It's a must. Dwyane Wade is doing everything in his power to get the Heat there. I actually think it's a good thing that Miami is right behind them. They know they have to play hard. There's no room for error anymore. I'm extremely confident they will get the fourth seed. I'm extremely terrified of the concept of them playing Wade in the first round. We all know the officials love him. ;) If/when he has a 20 free throw game against the Hawks in the playoffs, my head might explode. I'm already in the process of padding the walls in my condo..... That's weeks away though.