First, for a game where the crowd was subdued, there was no TV, and we should not have had any trouble with the opponent - there sure was a lot of buzz prior to this game about this game. I'm not sure if there was more blogging and posting about the Celtics game. Not that I'm mad about Hawks buzz in the least...the moral of this is - DID WE MISS JSMOOVE THAT MUCH!?!? To which, I'll reply - read below and see...
Game Feedback - Hawks 105, Grizzlies 95
Str8 Butter Award - As much as I want to give it to JSmoove to make the return complete, we can't be homers here, so Joe Johnson step right up. Your 3rd quarter was enough to show the Grizz that they weren't going to win this game (as much as we tried to sleep walk our way through the 4th quarter), so for that - you were Str8 Butter!
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* Williams - So as not to keep harping on what Marvin isn't and focus on what he is. Here's what I will say about him until proven otherwise. Marvin is a good 3pt shooter (I'll say great if he can continue this pace this entire season and follow it up next year in similar fashion) and adequate at everything else (rebounds, making a pass, defense). The only glaring weakness is his inability to finish at the rim. I'm still waiting for an And 1, but no more carping about that - let's just revel in his ability to spread the floor by hitting open 3pt buckets.
* Smith - The stat sheet stuffer is back and not a moment too soon. How good it is to feel comfortable going to the bench to get tough guy Pachulia minutes or even Solo minutes, knowing that it's just to warm the floor for JSmoove's all around greatness. Now, if he had only forgotten that outside jumper.
* Horford - Give Al the shots and he'll produce. It came against the Grizz, but it still was good to see Al work on the block and make plays. Great effort tonight.
* Johnson - Without saying how great he looked tonight - it is worth mentioning that down the stretch when the Grizz were coming back - the hawks did NOT revert to the give the ball to Joe and move out of the way - they actually just ran the offense and pulled out the victory. It was a great thing to see. Go with what got you there and good ball movement and defense is what got us there.
* Bibby - So, it looks like Josh makes up for a lot of defensive breakdowns after all. I fully expected to see Lowry or Conley to go for the normal speedy guard 25 pts vs. the Hawks, but either they were incapable of that production OR JSmoove makes a difference. We'll go with JSmoove and let's give a big shout out to Bibby for a very point guard-like 20 and 10. Passing to players in positions who make shots - it's what we brought Bibby here for. Good scoring and floor leadership - that's what I saw tonight. Let's continue this kind of play vs. good teams as well.
* Law - Not seeing the attacking Acie Law from the Raptors game, but again - I'm reduced to just being happy that Law was playing early in the game - now, he was missing late in a blowout (well, until we let that slip), but beggars can't be choosers!
* Murray - Flip, Flip, Flip - one of these kids is doing his own thing. I am coming around to the point that he's not working well in the team concept. I have seen him try to score and score exclusively when he's in the game. No extra passes, no offensive rhythm, or defensive aggression. Maybe it's me, but it's looking like Mike is noticing as well. Minutes are dwindling, my friend.
* Jones - Predictably, there were few minutes for Solo tonight, but when he was there - he came in with energy as usual. Keep rollin' Solo.
* Pachulia - Man, I just love the old Zaza...last year's new Zaza say bye, bye.
* Evans - Let's just be excited that this happen tonight. We all have those nights - just not when we need 1 or more of those shots that he missed. And he missed every shot tonight. Don't let JSmoove's brilliance shake our game.
* West - DNP (virtually)
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - Inactive
* Hunter - Inactive
Ok, the governor is off and I have nothing to complain about. The minutes were distributed well. The team played with heart and effeciency. Now, i'm sure playing an awful team at home should work that way. Great night for the Hawks and JSmoove's return.
Str8 Talk Love
1. The Crowd - The 11-6 Hawks certainly weren't helped by the crowd. And on a night when I had the best seats I've had in 2 years - that sucks.
2. The Overscene - While it was a light crowd, there was still some sightings in the way of Keith Brooking, Jerious Norwood, Angie Stone, and Yung Joc (oh, and I saw you Ryan rocking the fly sunglasses while doing the arena announcing - sunglasses..really!)
3. Our experiences - Of course, a small crowd means few things to discuss, but there are some things we always look forward to - the dance team (well, not really), SkyHawk's dunks, a bunch of games/contests, and kiss cam, but what was with the halftime African dance troupe. Uh, good that this was done on the Grizzlies Wed night game...that's all we'll say about that.
4. The Honey Quotient - I repeat - ladies you can come to the games during the week. it won't hurt you. For my 3 readers, we expect a bigger turnout on Friday for the Knicks, so bring out the liquid leggings and tight everything.
5. Hawk Shouts - In a first, I didn't see ANY of my Hawks peoples. guess the Grizz will do that to you.
6. The After Party - No after party, but one more observation - OJ Mayo was NOT impressive. Yeah, he's a rookie, so I expect some off games, but I've been hearing about how well he's been doing this season and well...I'm not sure that I saw anything that made me say 'he's a future superstar'. And as a note - thanks to BK for picking Horford and not Conley - I can't say that Conley is a bust, but anyone that can't blow past Bibby to get to the rim isn't worth having as your point guard. I'll take my chances with Acie Law all day.
Ok, I'm ready to make a move northward on my prediction of the number of wins we'll have by season's end. I think we will be (drum roll, please)....47-35. Yeah, I know that's a 10 game uptick from last year. I just think JSmoove means 2-3 more victories AND the fact that we are beating every team we are supposed to beat (and those Indiana and New Jersey losses don't look so bad right now - that plus Raptors and Celtics and I can say that 5 losses were liveable losses so far). Which lends itself to saying we are in store for a special season...(Am I going overboard after a victory over the Grizzles? Uh, yeah - probably! But that's what Josh Smith's return does to us - just makes us all crazy and stuff - YES WE CAN!!!)
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