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 this season. He has accused me of being unreliable with my blog, but rest assured I will post about any Blog date games!