The Serve Notice Game is what we will call it. As I noted to my man, William, if the Hawks were really what we think they are this year (an above mid-level team) - they will win the game. Mind you, these Hawks have beaten the best teams in the league on their home court before in past years...and then, they'd follow it with a 6 game losing streak. So, I didn't believe we couldn't win this game. The question was - would we bring the level of energy we need in a game where the opponent wouldn't take us lightly AND on a road-home back to back.
Well, our fears weren't realized...Hawks Win! Atlanta Wins! Check the game recap...
Game Feedback - Hawks 97, Cavaliers 92
Str8 Butter Award - Mike Bibby, step right up...now, the one thing that definitely makes me like Mike Bibby is his ability to provide that rip your heart out quote - he did it in Boston and he said it again for this game - we came to win a game, not watch LeBron and fans, you should to. Well, easier said than done for the best player in my opinion on the planet (apologies to Kobe), but I hear you - Mike. You showed and proved with big shots down the stretch and for that - you get our Str8 Butter Award.
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* Williams - Forget anything else that happened - the free throws, 3pters, boards, blocks...let's focus on what DID happen - an AND 1. Yep, I saw it with my own eyes - Marvin went to the hole, took contact, flipped the ball UP and IN, went to the line - finished the 3pt play. Yep, I finally have something new to watch for in Marvin's game, but the AND 1 watch is over...only took 22 games to get there.
* Smith - Just one three pointer and shooting over 50% for the game...uh, yeah - that's about right. Still too many turnovers for you, but I'll take those if you can deliver a game winning block at the end of the game to go with it. JSmoove, I'm still in your corner - I still won't let them try to disrespect your game...you are the most important Hawk, you are the most talented Hawks - we will go as far as you take us. JUST STOP SHOOTING OUTSIDE 15 FT.
* Horford - 5 shots...must. not. explode. take. win. and. shut. up.
* Johnson - the 8 dimes were on time on a night when the 3 ball wasn't falling. Which actually is beginning to be worrisome - started the season on fire, but you have started to lose your touch a little Joe - is it b/c we're reverting back to that - give Joe the ball and clear out offense we all dislike. Ball movement and open 3s - that's what we want.
* Bibby - Straight ballin' - I wonder if you're starting to take my desire to get Acie in the game personally. Please don't - I'm just trying to keep you fresh, baby.
* Murray - 17 minutes as the backup guard and the only guard who played outside of Bibby and Joe. It didn't cost us the game, but Flip did nothing of consequence in the game. Yet, 17 minutes....(next point coming...)
* Pachulia - Good minutes again - toughness, made free throws, pulled some boards - he's my bench MVP so far this season.
* Evans - An offensive clunker, but the defense was solid, so we'll give you a pass. And right when I was about to start my Evans for Marvin's starting position rant again.
* Law - DNP - Let me see here...backup point guard needing experience against a team we hope to play in the playoffs when you may need a guard to get in the lane and dish (not a Bibby or Murray specialty)...not one minute could be found, huh? I certainly wouldn't complain if Evans or Murray were doing anything OR if we weren't coming off a road game the night before - the concept of running the ball just didn't even come up, huh? dammit - I'm complaining after a win again. This is what not developing Acie or Solo is doing to me. And we wonder why Josh Smith's B-Ball IQ is so low....
* Jones - DNP
* West - DNP
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - Inactive
* Hunter - Inactive
Finishing my rant - we have enough talent to win games. I still am struggling to have confidence that our team is being coached to have an offensive identity, a rotation that trusts the players and develops them in good and bad times. I'm still waiting for the running Atlanta Hawks from the playoffs last year...i'm still waiting to see a rhyme or reason for our offensive system or to see someone to get fired up and define a role for Law, Jones, and a system of strengths and boundaries that won't be tolerated for JSmoove. Until then, color me unconvinced that we have the coaching acumen to move to top 4 status in the East.
Str8 Talk Love
1. The Crowd -14-9!!!! And the crowd is still more starstruck than Hawkstruck. It's ok - that's what 10 years of losing will do, but down the stretch - let's hope we start building the crowd advantage that we need. 7 more home games and possibly some energy that says - being a Hawks fan is COOL.
2. The Overscene - Keeping it quick - Ludacris introduced the players (and is doing a halftime show at the Celtic Game), Ciara was in the house again looking awesome, Kevin Liles, Polow Da Don, Young Jeezy, and so on...
3. Our experiences - I didn't come in with the good mood like I normally do b/f of two things - 1st, that road game in Miami was on my a%% immediately, I guess my road warrior status is being challenged, but man - it was a long night and a longer day with more to come. So, I had to do my best to get my game face on and it was being challenged by High School championship traffic, roadblocks, pass snafus, and the like...BUT the Hawks came out strong in the 1st quarter and restored my love. Thanks guys. As for the scene, it actually was the first game in a while when I felt like Outkast's Player's Ball was unfolding in front of me ("all the players, all the hustlers...talking about a Black Man's Heaven" - classic material, people). So, big ups to all my friends there - J, Courtney, Shani, Howard, Shanay (good luck in London), Charlie, Angie and the rest of the ATL glitterati
4. The Honey Quotient - Ok, for Atlanta standards - it was a great night as expected, BUT after one night in Miami and the next in Atlanta. No comparison...yes, there was some star quality, but not enough to even shake the desire to wish we could switch locales (almost - Miami Hawks sounds good this time of year)...
5. Hawk Shouts - Harlee, Stacie, Boma, Johanna, Will, Andrea...i think i need new Hawks friends
6. The After Party -Last game, it was the Wine Loft. Of course, I wasn't breaking any news with that one, but during the Christmas party season - I attended one at the W Midtown, full of the revelry and tom foolery you'd come to expect (alcohol, dancing, karaoke, regurgitation, repeat) and then a trip to D & B's for a quick minute and then off to the new gem of an underground spot - Milk & Honey. Here's the big hope for keeping this spot fun & interesting, yet unassuming.
We called it. Win over the Cavs, but we have to make sure we beat the teams we are supposed to, so let's be sure that the Bobcats go down quietly, so we can get ready for Wednesday's Hawks/Celtics clash. No looking ahead...still 47-35! Win 4 straight home games and we'll talk about a revisiting of our 50 game season.
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