Thursday, December 18, 2008

Celtics @ Hawks - 12/18/08

Preamble Ramble

It was said by me when the Hawks played the Celtics in Boston earlier this season, but it bears repeating. There are no moral victories for good teams. Now, it's been awhile since we could reasonably call the Hawks a good team, so it may ring foreign, but we should not be happy in any shape, form, or fashion that we played a good game against the Celtics. Maybe encouraged by certain elements of the game, but definitely not happy with the outcome.

Bottom line, we actually controlled our destiny in this game and, dare I say it, should have won (OR at bare minimum, played an extra period). There's lots of analysis today and it seems like every blogger has something to say, so I'll do my best to keep certain themes from being regurgitated. So, here's a few thoughts

1. Joe has to make that shot. I won't overstate that, but I don't want it to be understated either. With the pressure of being THE MAN, you have to take that criticism. LeBron took it. Kobe took it. Shaq took it. Joe has to take it - sorry, but I don't care about what else happened - you have to make that shot. Period.
2. Maybe just maybe Acie could have played Rondo and the pick and roll better than Bibby. The funniest part of the night was hearing 2 random people in the stands asking why Acie was in the doghouse - to which I replied in my head...uh, he's been there since he was drafted by this organization, so don't think that NOW is some change.
3. The DUNK - Sorry, but whenever you watch JSmoove take a jumper - we should implant something in his brain that flashes the thought - yeah, I'm Josh MFin' Smith and I probably can dunk on you like I did Kendrick Perkins, so NO, I won't take this jumper - YES, I will dunk on your head and become a superstar.
[Note: Several DUNK references are coming.]

Game Feedback - Celtics 88, Hawks 85

Str8 Butter Award - Listen, Joe would have it hands down if not for missing that free throw. My free throw bias will not allow me to give him the award, which opens the door for a less deserving player with maybe the play of the year so far - Josh Smith step right up...that dunk all by itself is the very definition of STR8 BUTTER!!!!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Williams - Maybe it's Alison who causes Marvin to get the And1, but 2 out of 3 games - Marvin has finished at the rim with contact. Wonders never cease. Now, what also happened is ...Marvin forgot that he was a 80% free throw shooter. So, he had a decent game, but when playing the best - he has to bring his best. Decent doesn't cut it.
* Smith - My favorite line stuffer made the DUNK legends could be made of if this was a real rivalry. There's not a fan in the building that didn't stand up and say OMG!!! Every Celtic fan in my row (and regrettably there were many) came over with a high five. I haven't watched the game recap on ESPN or FoxSports (I DVR'ed both), but I can't wait to see what they had to say about it. Anything less than - "And this is why he should never take another jump shot" deserves scorn and mockery.
* Horford - He got 10 shots and put up an un-Al-like percentage, but he did perform admirably on defense, so we'll give the pass, but it's nights like tonight when we need to take the ball to the basket to the Human Fouling Machine named Kendrick Perkins. If we did that, maybe he's not in the game to block Joe's shot down the stretch. Then, again - maybe he's not there to get dunked on tomato, to-ma-to!
* Johnson - I'm going to be less than fair and just sum it up with - can't miss that shot. I love you, Joe. Don't let it keep you down, use it for fuel for the rest of the season and still - you can't miss it. I expect an average of 35pts a game for the rest of the home stand to prove to me you understand this concept.
* Bibby - A bad shooting night combined with some suspect defense says...uh, maybe Acie can get some minutes...well, maybe not.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Murray - The gunner was in and made a few shots. No complaints there. I do have a complaint of having him running point at any juncture, but that's not his fault - that's on the coach.
* Pachulia - Same Zaza output...
* Evans - Not much of a stat line and not much of an impact other than to keep the team defense working well.
* Law - DNP - I think I've said all I can say on this. I guess I didn't think this was an inherited trait, but it looks like Salim's treatment had to get passed down to someone and ...hooray, Acie - you've got the Woodson Gas Face Treatment.
* Jones - DNP
* West - DNP
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - Inactive
* Hunter - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

I won't put this on coaching as much as I like to say that coaching is not a Hawks strong suit. Aside from actually meeting Woodson tonight and being encouraged by this quote "He (Joe Johnson) is our All Star and we just need to encourage him because he is going to win more games for us than lose them," I had to use the restraint of a nun to keep from asking what he has against Acie. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Oh, that and what in Sam's Hell makes you think Flip should be running the offense EVER.

Str8 Talk Love

1. The Crowd - Our now 15-10 Hawks were treated to the best crowd since last season's playoffs. While folks still haven't grasped the concept of the game starting at 7PM, it was good to see that by the 3rd quarter - the place was PACKED and all in line on 'Let's Go Hawks' and 'DE-FENSE' chants for the remainder of the game. Even standing for the last few minutes. Yep, the crowd while inconsistent knows how to put the home team advantage in effect. An amazing feat actually for a crowd in one of the most fickle in this country. Still too much green for my tastes, but I was encouraged by the fact that Hawks fans finally were courageous enough to shout down the Celtic fans (not that they had much to cheer about until the last 5-6 minutes of the game). Progress, people, progress!

2. The Overscene - Here's the rundown - many Falcons, Dr. J, Ludacris, Ronnie Devoe, Jazze Pha, Mario, Jerome Bettis, and I'm sure countless other fake celebrities.

3. Our experiences - This game had special significance since my brother was able to join us hours after landing in town from Los Angeles. The budding acting star was coming home for the holidays and I lucked into 2 extra tickets, which I was happy to give to him and my man Willy, so we had two extra voices to ride the Hawks to victory (or so we hoped). Now, let me go ahead and address this head on - there was a major fight in the club level. Who does that in the Obama era? Here's my thought...if you are able to score club level tickets or are paying for them, there should be NOTHING worth fighting for. Did you guys not see what those ladies were wearing? Did you not see the score? Again, how were you focused on beef when there were ladies looking like Halle Berry on her best day? And if you are - don't clear out the dessert table while doing I am gonna get my cheesecake fix otherwise?

One more note - the Hawks dance team's first routine - really, really NOT good for a big game. Bad song, bad routine.

Finally, big ups to Willy, Lamar, Craig, Fard, Jimmese, Tinisha, Sandy, Courtney, Shani, Charlie, Howard, and I'm sure countless more that I'm not remembering right now (and you'll understand why when you get to the After Party section)

4. The Honey Quotient - And finally - we brought it to Miami Heat game levels (that's how everything will be judged from this point forward). As my brother said, it's so good to see posteriors back in full effect (mind you - he's been living in LA for almost 2 years, so perspective is a lil' skewed for him, but for one night - I agree). Yes, everyone came dressed in their best show what yo mama gave you outfit. Thank you weather gods for keeping it warm enough to allow some women to attempt to wear things they wouldn't or shouldn't otherwise.

5. Hawk Shouts - Harlee, Stacie, Boma, Will, guys rock

6. The After Party - To flush the system of my Paul Pierce hate and the sting of the loss (and to celebrate Ali's visit to the A), we made a dash to Luckie Food Lounge. Now, normally anytime I find myself having to stand in line to get into any spot - it's a no go. Not b/c I'm above it, but because I have promoted and advertised events in Atlanta for over 10 years. So, a party is a party is a party. If I can't get in one at one spot, there's bound to be another spot to go to. It is Atlanta for goodness sake. That said, Ali - it's always good to have someone as resource as you in the midst - it's what made us such a dangerous tandem when we ran the streets back in the day. NE way, leave it to Ali to find us a way into the spot in the time it took me to park the car. A few drinks later, a lesson on how to make a Guinness on draft properly, some dancing, some confusion on why the sushi bar that you want people to buy food from is behind a VIP velvet rope, and some dirty looks from folks thinking that I was with the insanely hot Ali (sorry folks - just friends) concluded a very long, satisfying evening. [Note: it was only satisfying b/c I got to see my brother and hang with one of my favorite people. A Hawks win and I could have been there with a Klan member and it would have been a satisfying night.]

Season Prediction

Ok, we're at the almost 1/3 portion of the season and we're 15-10, expolate that out and you're at 45-30 with 7 games to go. Can we win 3 of 7 to close the season out? I say yes, so it's 48-34. Mark it down.

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