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

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


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


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.