Monday, October 25, 2010

Atlanta Hawks 2010-2011 Season Preview

A few weeks ago, probably around the time training camp started I declared my blogging hiatus over. I lied. I haven't blogged since. I honestly decided not to blog about the Hawks, but knowing me I'll change my mind. Just in case I do, I wanted to have some definitive prediction to look back on at the end of the season.

I don't know what this team will do. Best case scenario they'll finish with around 50 wins and a fourth or fifth seed in the playoffs, where they'll likely still advance no further than the second round. I can't overlook the fact that a lot went right for them last season. No one missed any real time due to injuries, so they were basically at full strength every time they took the court. A few players are already banged up and the season hasn't even started.

Aside from that, they have to contend with, a new coach, a new offense, the likelihood that the reigning Sixth Man of the Year won't be here after the All-Star break, the fact that Teague can't finish and won't shoot, perimeter defense or lack thereof, the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, Jason Collins and etc......

I'm not going to act as if I have no expectations for this team because I do. The goal is to show progress. They need to finish better than they did last season. And I'm not talking about losing second round games by only 20 points. They need to literally be on the verge of the ECF. Management assessed this team over the summer and decided they wanted to hold serve with these guys. I take that to mean they think they can win with this group. Do I genuinely believe that? No, but I can only judge them based on the moves they did or did not make. Go Hawks.

Season prediction 50-32

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, and Hawstr8talk

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Training Camp

Training camp starts tomorrow, consider my blogging hiatus officially over.

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

Monday, May 10, 2010

Season Preview Review.

The Hawks still have at least one game left, but let's not kid ourselves, this season is over. Let's take a look at my Atlanta Hawks season preview from 6 moths ago. It was limited to Joe Johnson and Mike Woodson. I was right in spots about Joe. He's still basically the same player he was last season and while he did display selfish tendencies a lot this season, I can't say he did it at a higher rate than before. Mike Woodson is still Mike Woodson and my assessment of him was spot on in my opinion.

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.

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

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"I'm not here to coach effort"-Mike Woodson

That statement tells you a lot about the Atlanta Hawks head coach, and why they are where they are as a team.
I already assumed he didn't feel like that was part of his job, but it's glad to finally hear him say it.
I can understand why a coach would feel like being in the second round of the playoffs should be motivation enough for any player. I feel that way too, unfortunately it does not work like that. Some players need to be motivated, especially if they feel like there are certain teammates who aren't trying very hard. That can lead to, "well if he's not trying, then I'm not going to try either". It's petty, but it happens on every level of sports. It's definitely a problem one needs to address themselves, but sometimes they need a little push. This is where coaching comes in. No one is asking you to plead and beg with them to try to get them to play harder. That probably wouldn't work anyway. However there are some things you could do to try get maximum effort out of them. If you see a guy visibly dogging it on the court, bench his ass! There should be a list of things that the players know will not be tolerated. The list should include, but not be limited to: not boxing out due to laziness, being careless with the ball, taking ill advised shots, endlessly complaining to the refs, not getting back on defense and etc. It would not be going out on a limb to assume that if playing time were directly connected to effort, guys might try harder.
Even if they didn't, it would at least send the message to the guys who are actually trying, that you aren't going to let their teammates who are half assing it, contribute to the loss of a game. The problem with this Hawks team is that they know there are no repercussions for bad play. It could be because the head coach doesn't have the balls to discipline them, or because the options to replace them during a game are not very good. Either way, they know their playing time is all but written in indelible ink. When you have an offensive and defensive game plan that is as flawed as the one the Hawks employ, you can ill afford to add laziness to the equation when playing a great team. There's no shame in losing to a better team, however there is shame in losing to any team due to not trying. We would be okay with these losses if you all went down swinging like the Spurs, Jazz, Thunder, Mavericks, Bulls and Bobcats. But, there has been no fight in this team and that is unforgivable.

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

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hawks 71, Magic 114 or Where I Wasn't Really Expecting An Ass Whipping Of That Magnitude

I'm not going to waste a lot of time on a recap. Nope. The team gave a half assed effort,(except for Josh) so I'm going to do my best to imitate them and give a half assed recap. There's really not a whole lot to say. The Hawks got their asses whipped. There's no other way to describe it.
Luckily, Mike Woodson was there in the post game press conference to remind us that they just missed shots they'd normally make. Obviously, since no one hit their average, it's safe to say they didn't play well offensively, but sorry coach it's a bit deeper than just missing shots. And, all those missed shots don't explain the giving up of 114 points. Either take the press conference seriously, or skip it.
Mike Woodson has missed yet another opportunity for a teaching moment. What he should have said in the press conference was something along the lines of "all of you players suck, I'm embarrassed to be your coach, and take your suit off because we have practice in 15 minutes". Tonight was the night he needed to make an example out of someone, and he had at least 4 players he could have chosen from, starting with the franchise player, who had a hand in helping the Magic break the game open, but I digress.
Aside from getting their asses kicked by 40+ points, they also failed to show up and face the media. They sent Za Za. Really????? Joe Johnson makes four times as much money as Za Za and plays about four times as many minutes, yet he couldn't come face the media. There's no accountability by anyone on the team which is one of the many reasons they can lose to the Magic by 40 points in a conference semifinal game. Neither Joe, Josh, Al, Mike, or Jamal had the balls to stand up and account for this ass whipping. If they aren't mentally tough enough to take a handful of questions that they can easily bullshit their way through, they probably aren't mentally tough enough to win this series.
Go Hawks.

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

Hawks/Magic Preview: Courtesy Of A Conversation With My Mother

Mom: What are you doing later?
Me: Watching the Hawks game.
Mom: Who do they play?
Me: Orlando.
Mom: Oh, did the Hawks beat them this year?
Me: Well, they lost 3 of 4, but......
Mom: (hysterical laughter) Oh wow 3 of 4?? So they can't beat them?
Me: Actually Mom, you have to put those losses into perspective. Two of the losses came on back to back games right after they played Boston and one of them was on Thanksgiving night.
Mom: What does that have to do with anything?
Me: Well back to back's are hard and they didn't get to Orlando until very late that night before.
Mom: Well what about the Thanksgiving game?
Me: They were probably full off Thanksgiving dinner.
Mom: Oh wow (hysterical laughter) that's no excuse. Oh my gosh, you're so silly.
Me: (hysterical laughter) But Moooooom, turkey makes you tired! It doesn't matter, the regular season doesn't mean anything anyway.
Mom:(hysterical laughter) Well good, lucky Hawks. They could probably win a couple of games if they had a different coach.
Me: (sigh) Well............

That's a conversation my Mom and I had today at lunch. I wish I was joking about that Thanksgiving game, but I kinda wasn't. This match-up feels more like a 1 vs an 8 than it does a 2 vs a 3, but whatever.

If you read this blog then you know I don't give a damn about facts. "I will not be swayed by facts" is a part of my profile description. I know the odds are against the Hawks and for good reasons. I don't care about any of that. I'm riding with my boys. I think they can win this series. Charlotte had a great game plan, they just didn't have the horses to execute it. They got Howard in foul trouble, but they didn't have enough offense to capitalize off of it. The Hawks aren't the Golden State Warriors, but they do have people who are capable of scoring the basketball. If they can manage to get Howard in foul trouble, they can steal a game or four.
Obviously the Magic have some other really good players including Vince Carter whose mission in life as I understand it, is to make Hawks fans sad. But, the only place they're overwhelmingly better besides at Center is probably the PG position. The Hawks best bet at winning this series is to take Dwight out of the equation. The guards ( who are not all that fond of contact) have to attack him. If Charlotte could get him in foul trouble for 4 straight games, the Hawks should be able to do so too.
Other than that, the Hawks just have to play team basketball, something they've been known to stray away from for large stretches of the ga......all the time. It would also help if one of the guards had a good game. Joe has been a non factor in this series for the most part. Even in the games that he scored a respectable amount of points, it took him a disrespectful amount of fg attempts. He needs to be really good (like, I want someone to pay me $90 million this summer good) but not at the expense of the rest of the team. No iso-Joe! As a matter of fact, no iso anyone. Move the damn ball! Make the Magic defense work.

That's how the Hawks will win this series in 6 games.

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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

We've Been Humbled

Isn't this what we asked for?

We all wanted the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. No one wanted to play Charlotte because historically they play the Hawks really well and they're coached by one of the best to ever do it.
We didn't want to play Miami, because they were on fire at the end of the season and honestly, last year's series was painful to watch, even for Hawks fans. No one wanted to see that again.
We all wanted the Andrew Bogutless Bucks. Well we got them, and now the Hawks are on the verge of elimination.
One could point to any number of reasons that the Hawks are one game away from going fishing. Coaching, effort, bad shots, defense..... all of these are valid reasons, but the real reason they're one game away from elimination is arrogance.
Let's have an honest moment real quick.
The Hawks won 53 games during the regular season and finished third in the eastern conference. The Bucks won 47 games and finished sixth in the conference after losing their best player. This series was set up for the Hawks to win. They were a better team than Milwaukee even when Andrew Bogut was healthy. You knew it, I knew it, the team knew it. The problem is we all strutted into this series thinking that would be enough. The Bucks are without their best player (or players depending on your view of Michael Redd's impact on the team for the few games he was healthy) Meanwhile, no team was more fortunate on the injury front than the Atlanta Hawks. They didn't have to deal with anything other than the usual wear and tear of an 82 game season.
Okay this is taking too long. To hell with all this setting the scene crap. The Hawks took the Bucks lightly. They said otherwise before the series started, but deep down inside they did. They wanted to play Milwaukee for the same reason we wanted them to play Milwaukee. We saw them as a wounded team. Hell, I didn't think this series would take more than 5 games, and that was before the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead. After they did that, I didn't see any reason why this series should have gone more than 4 games. That's the level of arrogance I had, and whether or not the Hawks win or lose this series has nothing to do with me. If I was that confident, you know where their confidence level had to be. After Game 3 Brandon Jennings said "I felt like they were a little bit cocky," Jennings said Sunday. "They came in like, 'OK, it's Milwaukee, we're up 2-0.' I mean, that's just how I felt. I felt like they thought they were just going to come in and just blow us out. I think with the crowd, and the way we came out, it just changed everything."
He was right. You know it and I know it. Even after the Bucks thoroughly whipped their asses, we/they were still arrogant. As usual, the main reason given for the defeat was effort. This team as a whole thinks effort is the only reason they ever lose games. If they don't acknowledge the adjustments that Scott Skiles made against them, how can they adjust to those adjustments? They can't and you see it playing out. That's arrogance on the part of the head coach.
The bottom line is we were all arrogant, and in reality we had no right to be. We've seen the fourth quarter collapses on too many occasions this season as detailed by hoopinion. We knew this wasn't a good road team. We knew the playoffs were all about adjustments and the head coach of this team is either incapable of, or unwilling to make them. We knew this team had issues with committing to the things they do well. Knowing all of these things, we still thought the Hawks would win this series easily. Arrogance was their undoing. It led to the bad coaching, the bad defense, the bad shot selection and the lack of effort. They thought they could just show up and the series would play out how it was supposed to. Well, they're one game away from elimination, so perhaps we should all replace our arrogance with a little humility.

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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hawks 104, Bucks 111 or Where It's Okay To Lose On The Road When Your Head Coach Doesn't Really Expect You To Win Anyway

I'm not even sure where to start. I could start with the defense, but that would take analysis that I'm not even qualified to present. You'll have to go check out for that. All I know is, the Bucks ran maybe 3 plays, and the Hawks had no idea how to stop any of them. I'm pretty sure their strategy turned into "let's just hope they miss". Bibby "guarding" Delfino and Za Za "guarding" Jennings was the manifestation of said strategy. Needless to say, it was a flawed strategy, but you have to at least admire the fact that the Hawks were committed to something tonight.
This brings us to the head coach. , I couldn't get everything he said in the post game press conference, but let me sum it up for you as best as I can. He doesn't really expect them to win on the road. Did he flat out say that? No, but he kept reiterating that they played all season for home court advantage for this reason. I had a feeling they were using that as a crutch, I just hoped that feeling was wrong because they're the #3 seed, and the Bucks are without their best player, and the Hawks have 2 All Stars, and the Hawks won 7 more games than the Bucks, and the Hawks have more recent playoff experience, and the Hawks head coach is coaching for a job, and so forth and so on. Either way, I was right.
There was a stretch in the 4th qtr when the Hawks had cut the Bucks lead to 6 and then decided to let Mo Evans take over on offense. He took 4 of the Hawks 6 shots from the 7:12 mark to the 3:54 mark. He missed all 4 shots. I'm not even sure who to blame for that, but the head coach viewed this sequence positively. The only problem he had was that Mo missed the shots. One would think he should have a problem that Mo was taking the shots at all, but whatever.
Coach Woodson ended his presser with this gem:
We've been in this position before. We were able to push Miami to 7 and win it in 7. It's not like this team isn't ready to accept the challenge. I feel good about the position we're in, we've just gotta go home and handle our business like we have all year.

Okay. A) They were the favorites in that series. They weren't doing the pushing, They were being pushed, that is not a position he should point to as a reason for hope. B-Z) No one gives a shit about last year's series!
He also said he needs to watch the tapes so he can see the defensive miscues. Really? He couldn't see where his strategy of switching on everything defensively was a huge mistake from his courtside seat? I saw it from my couch, as did most every other person in America. The only difference between him and us is that he had the ability to do something about it and he did not. Seriously, if from where he was sitting he couldn't determine that Za Za should not be asked to guard Brandon Jennings, then he should not be the head coach an NBA team.
In the interest of preserving time, let me skip ahead to why Mike Woodson was not extended last summer. Hawks 104, Bucks 111 If you want to know why Rick Sund is asking him to show and prove, just go watch this game in it's entirety. (that link will not take you to the game in its entirety, it's just a recap) You'll notice I haven't really said much about the players. Obviously, they have to play the game and they have to make the plays. However, everything about this game was an indictment on the head coach and his offensive and defensive strategy. On offense there is no strategy. "It will take care of itself" as the head coach likes to say. On defense the strategy is so flawed a rookie is exploiting it with ease. I'm not letting the players off the hook, just pointing out that they're doing what is expected of them. If they plan on winning this series then they're going to have to take it upon themselves to stray from the game plan when it's clearly not working. This game wasn't lost because of adjustments that the Bucks made, it was lost because of adjustments that Mike Woodson didn't make.

Go Hawks.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtree
hoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hawks 107, Bucks 89 or Where Atlanta Had A Literal Fear Of Deer

The Bucks gave the Hawks a good old fashioned ass whipping. I was really hoping the Hawks would go in there and smash them, but deep down I knew this team is not made like that. They don't really have a "go for the jugular" mentality. I didn't expect them to lose by so many, but I guess that was just my naivety showing because they absolutely suck on the road in the playoffs. I expect them to bounce back and win Game 4 and I'll be genuinely surprised if they don't. The Bucks are still the same Andrew Bogutless bunch. The only difference was they were on fire early and they played like a team who was really excited to be hosting a playoff game at home. They looked an awful lot like the Hawks of a couple of years ago.
The Bucks played really well and they absolutely deserved to win this game. Their coaches made the necessary adjustments to disrupt all of the things that worked for Atlanta in the first two games and they deserve a lot of credit. Your move Woody.

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

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hawks 96, Bucks 86 or Where Josh Smith Makes Amazing Happen In An Effortless Way

The Hawks are better than the Bucks. They just are. I know they are without their best player in Andrew Bogut, but that's a Milwaukee problem.

The Good: Josh Smith. He finished the game with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. He made it look so easy. I'm pretty sure he didn't break a sweat for most of the game. He was also really funny in the post game press conference. He was at the podium with Joe, but no one was asking Joe anything, so Josh says "Y'all gone ask Joe any questions? He's over here too." Just continuing his unselfish behavior. Honorable Mention: Al Horford had a double double (yawn), and Joe John$on had 27 point$, 4 rebound$, 6 a$$i$t$ and 2 blocked $hot$.

The Bad: Jamal Crawford. He was really off tonight. He missed layups, pull up jumpers and everything in between. Luckily for the Hawks they didn't really need him to be great, or even good. Honorable Mention: Mike Bibby, for no other reason than he didn't go 8-9 from the field. He actually wasn't bad at all. 10 points, 7 assists.

The Ugly: Brandon Jennings. He was the complete opposite of what he was in Game 1, so in other words, he was awful. 9 points on 3-15 shooting and he got his shot blocked roughly 653 times. He looked like a rookie tonight.

The series now shifts to Milwaukee where the Bucks will presumably play better. There's still no reason this should go more than 5 games. I actually don't see any real reason why the Bucks should be making a team trip back to Atlanta this season unless they'd planned a day at the Georgia Aquarium and just didn't get around to it. Is this Hawks team mentally tough enough to go in there and smash them? I don't know. All I really know is the Hawks have won 2 games against the Bucks while barely exerting any energy. Okay, maybe they just made it look easy. One thing is for certain, this series is Atlanta's to lose.

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

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hawks 102, Bucks 92 or Where Running Over A Deer Caught In The Headlights Doesn't Always Mean Damage To Your Car.

The Hawks disposed of the Bucks 102-92. Sure there are some things I could vent about, but it's the playoffs so you have to take the wins however you can get them.
The young Bucks looked like deer in headlights, particularly in the first half. Actually, only in the first half. The second half they left their jitters in the locker room and gave the Hawks a little scare.

The Hawks played well enough to win, which is pretty much all I expect at this point. They only exert enough energy to get the win and not an ounce more. That's fine sometimes, but it's a recipe for disaster in the long run. The Hawks team that showed up in the first half is a team that could very well sweep the Bucks. The Hawks team that showed up in the second half is the team that will need 6 games to beat the Bucks. I'm inclined to think the second half Hawks team is the team we'll be seeing for most of this series. I'd love to be wrong about this, but deep down I don't think I am. Actually at the end of the day, the second half Hawks team is probably good enough to sweep the Bucks.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how Jamal Crawford performed in his playoff debut. He finished with 17 points on 4-11 shooting. His first playoff hoop was a floater after a filthy crossover that consisted of about 10 unnecessary dribbles. He wouldn't have it any other way, neither would I. He was also 3-5 from behind the arc. Basically, he did what he's been doing all season.

Brandon Jennings was really good in his first playoff appearance. There was nothing the Hawks could do with him for much of the game. Joe Johnson was the only defender who was able to somewhat contain him. (well he contained him twice, or maybe three times) He finished with 34 points on 14-25 shooting. Not bad for a rookie.

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lakers + Kobe+ Inflated Ticket Prices = Lots of Lakers Fans

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat writer for the AJC wants to know if there will be more Hawks fans or Lakers fans at Philips Arena tonight.
I say it's going to be a push. Mike Woodson and Hawks players are irked (rightfully so) that so many Lakers fans come out every year, but they shouldn't let themselves get too worked up about it for 3 reasons:

1) It's the Lakers. They are the standard for what a great franchise is in the NBA. Blame it on the 80's. There's no need to spend a whole lot of time on this reason. It really needs no explanation.

2) It's Kobe Bryant. Outside of Cleveland because they have their own once in a lifetime talent, Kobe gets cheers everywhere. This is a man who literally had fans in the Boston Garden chanting MVP for him a few seasons ago. If there are that many Lakers fans in Boston, then you know there's nowhere you can go and not be among them.

3) It costs more to get into Philips Arena when the Lakers are in town. You can go see teams like the Pistons or Raptors for as little as $10, but the cheapest ticket to get inside when the Lakers are in town is about $35. If you're a Hawks fan, you are probably thinking you shouldn't have to pay more to see your favorite team just because Kobe is in town? I don't blame you if you pass on the opportunity. That means there are more tickets for the people who aren't really Hawks fans and the organization knows they are willing to pay more. Hell, they may not even know they're paying more since they only come out when the Lakers are town. If the Hawks are your favorite team, you come to Philips Arena even when they're playing the worst teams in the NBA, so you don't really care about missing the Lakers game. You can watch it on tv and save yourself some money in the process.

Basically, the Lakers are already a popular franchise, add to that the fact that they have the most popular basketball player on the planet, and it costs you more money to walk through the same doors you walk through when they're/he's not in town, and you have all of the necessary ingredients to ensure there will be several Lakers fans in Philips Arena.

I wouldn't worry too much about it though. If the Hawks are winning late, the fans will convert. I've witnessed it time and time again.

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hawks 119, Spurs 114 or Where Al Horford went Toe to Toe with Tim Duncan and came out on top

This game absolutely deserves a recap and if it weren't already midnight, I'd totally give it one that does it justice. So I'll just spit out some random thoughts about the game
  • Al Horford lived up to his nickname "Boss" for real tonight. He had 22 points, and 18 rebounds against arguably the greatest PF ever, who had 29 points and 13 rebounds.
  • That one handed dunk on Tim Duncan by Al Horford.......just youtube it.
  • They need to find more shots for Marvin.
  • Marvin needs to be more selfish.
  • Joe The Basketball Player showed up, he was more of a facilitator though.
  • Jamal Crawford is worth every penny they're paying him. They may actually owe him a little money.
  • Manu Ginobili is irritatingly good.
  • Every time Matt Bonner shoots a wide open three, I think it's going in. That's a me problem.
  • Greg Popovich gets to say things to officials that Mike Woodson can only dream about saying.
  • Hawks clinched a playoff berth.
  • If Jeff Teague wants to start a support group, I'll join.

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hawks 103, Mavericks 111 or Where I'm not going to recap this game, I just have a question

I was not supposed to watch this game. I had no intentions of watching this game, until I found myself in the Hard Rock Casino not gambling while others were, so I decided to watch this game. Not the whole game, but from midway through the second quarter I was fixated on it. Anyway, let's fast forward to the part where Jason Kidd shoved Mike Woodson. Woody, was on the court, but saw Kidd coming his way and immediately jumped back. From the replays I've seen it looked to me like he got back in time, therefore Kidd extending his arm to make contact with him should have resulted in an out of bounds call at least, a technical at worst. Unfortunately it did not happen that way. They T'd Woody up. Okay fine, what's done is done. My question is simply this, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD MIKE WOODSON AGREE WITH THEM?
He should not be on record saying Kidd made a "heck of a play" and all the other nonsense he spewed after the game. He should be screaming at the top of his lungs that he made it off the court before Kidd came over and shoved him. Why is he going the opposite way? Whose side is he on? I've seen the replay, and it's not like there was overwhelming evidence against that theory. I'm blown away that he is going along with this Jason Kidd is a genius bullshit. Seriously, even if it turns out that there's indisputable evidence that you didn't make it off in time, you don't go into the post game press conference tipping your hat to him. You bitch and moan and act like Kidd just assaulted you like you were his wife. (yes, that was a cheap shot, but I'm mad)
I would love to tell you, I'll recap this game later, but you all know that's not going to happen. I'm not even supposed to be watching basketball this weekend. All I can say is I'm extremely disappointed in how our head coach is handling this whole situation. If you're arrogant enough to think you can be a head coach of a professional team at least be arrogant enough to think you did nothing wrong even though evidence might prove otherwise later.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hawks 76, Heat 94 or Where Jamal and his agent should be drawing up those contract extension papers right now.

I don't ask for much from my favorite team. Do I hope for much? Sure, but I don't ask for unreasonable things from them. One of the only things I consistently ask of them is that they don't lose to teams that they should not lose to. Well, they did exactly that tonight against the Miami Heat.
Myself and a handful of other Hawks bloggers were given the opportunity to chat with Rick Sund prior to tonight's game. I won't get into too much about the chat because there was only one revelation he made that was relevant to this game. He said Jamal Crawford would not play because of a shoulder injury.
When he said that, two things went through my mind. The first thing was a feeling of "aw shucks" because I knew there would likely be no four point plays. The second thing that went through my mind was that the Hawks would probably not pull away from the Heat until the fourth quarter. The thought that they might actually lose the game never crossed my mind, because I assumed the Hawks knew they were better than the Heat. I assumed incorrectly.

Now we've come to the portion of the recap where I read way too much into one loss.

This loss tells me one thing for certain about the Hawks franchise player, he's not really a franchise player. When a team is faced with injuries to role players, their superstar has to do something extra. That's the position Joe was in tonight, but he didn't do anything extra. He started the game 4-4, then proceeded to go 3-17 the rest of the way. That is unacceptable on every level. I have always been of the thinking that Joe Johnson does not deserve a max contract. This game just reinforced my beliefs. First of all, he can't get to the free throw line. Did he have a couple of drives where there was contact? Sure, but he also shot eight 3 pointers. He didn't exactly force the refs to make a call in his favor. What it boils down to is if Joe's jump shot isn't falling he can't score. We already knew that, but this game highlighted it.
There is no second of all.
LeBron James lost damn near every guard on his team to injuries, yet the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a 12 game win streak. He is doing something extra. I do not need to be reminded that Joe is not as good of a player as LeBron. However I do need to remind you that Joe wants to be paid like LeBron. If you want franchise player money, then you need to have franchise player performances when your team needs you most. You need to not lose to the stinking Miami Heat! You bitch and moan about the crowd not showing up for the games, then 17,000 people come out and you lose to a team who had lost something like seven of their last ten games. I wouldn't blame the fans if they never came back. Here's a fun fact: Three of the Heat starters combined to go 5-22 and the Hawks lost by 18......
Josh put up good numbers. Al got his usual double double with his usual limited touches. Hell, Bibby even scored 12 points. It all comes back to the franchise player. He didn't do that something extra to make up for Jamal being out. Is it fair that the bulk of the responsibility for the outcome of this game falls on Joe? Well, as the highest paid player on the team, hell yes. His contract implies he is the best player, so he needed to do something extra to make up for the absence of Jamal. He didn't, so the Hawks go into the All Star break on a low note.
Go Hawks.

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

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hawks 91, Bulls 81 Where Josh Smith's awesomeness was awesomer than I can even explain.

Josh Smith was fanfreakingtastic! He came to play tonight. I can't even find the words right now so I'll just leave you with his stat line.

18 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals and 1 huge middle finger to the Eastern Conference coaches.

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hawks 103, Clippers 97 or Where the Hawks knew they were better than the Clippers, but they didn't want to show their hand until the 4th qtr

The Hawks won a game they were supposed to win. Yawn... I'm probably the worst of bloggers because I rarely recap games the Hawks win when I deem the opponent inferior. However if the Hawks lose a game to an inferior opponent, I'll give you a thousand words easy. I need to work on that, because at the end of the day these are all NBA teams and I should treat all wins and losses equally. Sounds good, but I probably won't change.

The Good: Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Again, I couldn't choose between the two. Joe had the quietest 34 points you'll ever see. I honestly did not know he'd scored that many until I checked the box score. I just assumed he was somewhere around his average. He forced the action and actually got to the free throw line like a superstar tonight. We need to see more of this. Jamal was just Jamal. He came off the bench and did what they pay him to do. He scored 22 points and also tied Reggie Miller with most 4 point plays in league history. That record will belong solely to him by the end of this month. I'm willing to bet on that. Honorable Mention: Hawks starters not named Mike Bibby. Josh, Al, and Marvin each had a double double. Can't ask for much more than that.

The Bad: The Hawks defense for 3 and 1/3 quarters. The Hawks are better than the Clippers. They know they are better than the Clippers and they took the floor expecting to win without exerting a ton of energy. Their nonchalant attitude allowed the Clippers to build two separate double digit leads. Obviously the Hawks were able to overcome those, but there's no reason to get into a dogfight with the Clippers when a good old fashioned ass whipping will do.

The Ugly: The realization that Mike Bibby is a shell of his former self. I'm not even going to elaborate on this. It's just painful to watch.

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hawks 100, Celtics 91 or Where they'll never admit it, but the C's do not want to see the Hawks in the playoffs

The Atlanta Hawks swept the season series against the Boston Celtics for the first time since the 90's. I could look up exactly which year, but I'll leave that to Hoopion or Humanhighlight blog. Ya'll know I don't do that here.
I dislike the Celtics for many reasons. They could sign my favorite player ever and I'd be conditioned to dislike him too for no other reason than the fact that he'd be a Celtic. If you play for them, you are the enemy. Period. I don't have time to only hate half the team. It's just easier if I include all of them which is what I choose to do. I hated them when I was younger because I loved Zeke and Dumars. I didn't know much, but I knew you couldn't like the Pistons and the Celtics. I was also a huge Human Highlight Film fan and I knew there was no love lost between the Hawks and the Celtics either. No matter which players I rooted for growing up, I had to hate the Celtics. It was necessary. Fast forward to today and I still hate the Celtics. If we're being honest, I hate all Boston teams, but that's another subject for another day. This particular group of Celtics is so easy to dislike. Seriously, there are any number of irritating things to choose from concerning their key guys. KG barking and cussing, Paul Pierce flopping and flailing, Kendrick Perkins scowling and scowling. They're insufferable and oh so easy to root against. The Hawks got the best of them this regular season and although they won't admit it, they don't want to see the Hawks in the playoffs.

The Good: Jamal Crawford a.k.a. Easy Bake Oven and Joe The Basketball Player. I really couldn't choose just one. (although if you put a gun to my head, I'd go with Jamal) Jamal was awesome in the first half. I can't confirm this, but I'm pretty sure he broke Paul Pierce's ankles. He dropped him off a couple of times tonight on his way to a highlight worthy layup. (unfortunately none of the layups made the highlight reels) Joe The Basketball Player showed up in the 4th qtr. I was not happy about the fact that he stopped all ball movement, but he hit his shots so I really can't wild out about it tonight. I still don't think that's they route we need to take offensively, but it worked tonight so I'll shut up. Honorable Mention: Za Za Pachullia. He came in along with Crawford and ignited the Hawks second quarter run. Gotta love Za Za!

The Bad: Boston Celtics not named Paul Pierce. Pierce was great tonight. I'm not going to wax poetic about him because quite frankly it would make me queasy. Just know that he was efficient and effective. He did all those Pierce like things that make people who don't root for Boston hate him. You know, elbow jumpers, getting to the foul line and etc.....

The Ugly: Third Quarter Officiating. Look, I know the officials need to control the game, but they went from controlling the game in the first half to micromanaging it in the third quarter. Were it not for free throws, the Celtics easily lose this game by at least fifteen. They shot twenty free throws in the 3rd quarter! twenty free throws is a lot for an entire game let alone one damn quarter. I'm not even going to talk much about the flagrant foul that Josh Smith picked up because he wrapped his arms around Kendrick Perkins, I'll just say I expect the league to rescind it and send Josh a detailed apology written in calligraphy on the finest stationery.

Up next is the Orlando Magic. An interesting thing is at stake in this game. If the Hawks win Mike Woodson gets to coach the All Star game. We need this to happen in the worst way so I hope the Hawks get way up for this game and finally beat Dwight and the gang.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hawks 90, Spurs 105 or Where the Hawks were gracious enough to help the Spurs end their losing streak.

As I type the Hawks are getting absolutely slaughtered by the San Antonio Spurs. They've given up 52 points halfway through the 2nd quarter. Aren't the Hawks supposed to be a defensive team? They suck at it tonight! The guards deserve a paragraph or three about their awful defensive efforts, and they might get one or three later. Joe is only playing one end of the floor and you don't have to think too hard to figure out which end that is. The forwards are all bound to be in foul trouble through no fault of their own. They have to defend the likes of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili after they blow past the likes of Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford and Mike Bibby. Joe did manage to pick up a frustration foul after feeling he'd been denied a foul on the other end, so there's that. The Spurs are shooting 54.5% with just under 3 minutes to go. You could say they're on fire, but the truth is, most of their shots are barely contested and right at the rim, and the jump shots are uncontested as well. They should be able to make wide open jump shots, they are professionals after all. Joe is going to have great numbers at the end of this night, but the Hawks will probably lose by 20, so you can make of that what you will. It's halftime and the Spurs already have 66 points. I'll finish this at the end of this game.


Well, the second half went a little better, but that's not saying much because the Hawks still lost by 15. At one point they'd pulled to within 9, but then proceeded to have some of the most awful possessions and turnovers one might witness in a game. The only reason they were able to get that close was because Tony Parker stepped on Al Horford's foot. He might be out for a while unfortunately, but oh well, that's a San Antonio problem.

Throughout all of the sucking (and there was plenty of it) Josh Smith played hard and he should be commended for doing so. Joe and Jamal scored a lot of points, but their defense in the first half, and hell the second half too, pretty much insured those points weren't going to matter. Timmy had 21 points and 27 rebounds. He didn't even have to jump for half of them. He literally seems that much taller than even the tallest Atlanta Hawk. Oh well.

I guess I should be happy that the Hawks won two of the three games in Texas, but I'm extremely disappointed in the way they started the game. I understand the Spurs had lost 3 in a row at home and desperately needed a win, but still..... I thought the Hawks were a better team than San Antonio coming into this game, so that shouldn't have mattered. I was positive they would come out and kick them while they were down, but instead they came out willing to help the Spurs get back to their winning ways.

Boston and Orlando are on the menu for Friday and Saturday. Obviously I'd like the Hawks to win both of these games, but suppose they can only win one, I would prefer they win the Orlando game. They've already won the season series against the Celtics, sweeping them would just be icing on the cake. I can live without icing if they can find a way to beat Orlando. January was a tough month for the Hawks, but they will come out of it okay no matter what the outcomes of these next two games are. That being said, win them anyway.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hawks 93, Celtics 85 or Where Jamal Crawford Has Earned A New Nickname

The Hawks are 2-0 against the Celtics this season. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that the Hawks can do no worse than split the season series. Good times! Jamal Crawford was awful good tonight. I do mean that literally. He took some bad shots, but that's okay because he made some of them. He was so good I had to think of a nickname for him when he has nights like this. I use Joe The Basketball Player when appropriate, and I shall now refer to Jamal Crawford as The Easy Bake Oven. As a matter of fact, that nickname can describe Jamal whether he's playing well or not just because of the inconsistency of the Easy Bake Oven. You'd have to be a girl or have had sisters who owned one to understand, but it just feels right. The Easy Bake Oven was awesome!!!!!!!!! Sometimes.......... Once you understood that the heat distribution was going to be uneven, meaning the middle of your brownie would likely not be as done as the outside, you loved it! It didn't always work well, but you still wanted a new one for Christmas every year. The Easy Bake Oven was the gift of gifts for little girls. You had the ability to bake brownies at the age of 8 with little adult supervision. That's pure awesomeness!
Jamal Crawford reminds me of my Easy Bake Oven. He's not going to be great every night, but I can live with that because I know there will be some great nights. Just like the distribution of heat in the oven, Jamal's hot streaks are unpredictable, but when he's on, he's on. He's the best sixth man in the league and he's on my favorite team which makes him awesome. The Easy Bake Oven only had a limited number of uses so you had to get the most out of it while you could. Jamal is no different. We don't know how long he'll be in Atlanta, but I know we're going to get the most out of him while we can.

Jamal Crawford or EBO.

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hawks 108, Knicks 112 or Where I didn't watch the game, and that's a good thing.

I did not watch any of the Hawks vs Knicks game tonight. Not one minute. I was having dinner at a friend's house and I checked my phone a couple of times to see the score. The last time I checked the Hawks had a double digit lead. I assumed all was right in the world and they'd go on to win the game. I got into my car and switched to 790 sometime before 10 and I listened to the last couple of plays of regulation shocked that the game was tied, then I listened to overtime all the way up until the Knicks took a 6 point lead courtesy of Nate Robinson.

Since I didn't watch the game, I assume Nate was dropping the majority of his points over double teams and he was just amazing and NOTHING would have saved the Hawks. I assume this because I know there's just no way in hell a coach who is coaching for a contract extension would let a man who's barely 5ft 7in tall destroy his team without trying to get the ball out of his hand or without throwing multiple defenders at him. I assume this because it's the only thing that makes sense.

I'm not even going to talk about the stats of the players. I'm not. I'm not. I'm not. I also assume that the Hawks lost their cushy double digit lead because sometime in the fourth quarter they felt it would be better to let the guards shoot rather than let Al Horford continue to dominate in the post. Maybe I need to re-post what I posted the other day. See below. (pay special attention to the bold areas)

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.

I welcome all of the "Same old Hawks" articles, because I am thisclose to writing one too.

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