What a treat I have in store for you today...the first half of the Road/Home Back-To-Back Super Blog. Yep, I finally was able to get out of town to see my Hawks. This was my second road game watching the Hawks (the first back in '02 vs. the Clippers) and so, it's with great excitement that I wanted to bring some new energy to break this 3 game road losing streak. Now, to the blog special (and please read it all - we have our first player interviews below):
Game Feedback - Hawks 87, Heat 73
Str8 Butter Award - The Hawks Defensive Effort deserves this game's award, though I can say that the Heat shot terribly most of the game, even when open. So, that includes our rebounding effort. If only we could get that effort every night...
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* Williams - I mentioned walking into the game that I hope this is the game he gets his And 1. Well, not only did we not get that - he basically took some steps back that were disturbing. No energy at all, head down for portions of the game, and yet - 37 minutes. I understand riding your stars, but Marvin isn't a star and he shouldn't be playing 37 minutes when he's shooting 1-10 (and missing 2 bunnies - albeit with a little contact - at the rim). Acie, I'm working on finding your minutes and about 10 of them are right HERE.
* Smith - Listen, for everything I love about Josh - I'll just say that on one hand - Josh got off the snide a little with this game, but again - until this team confronts the issue of Josh taking these jump shots - we won't move to elite status. Normally, Josh just misses jumpers, but he was putting up MAJOR bricks last night. PLEASE STOP SHOOTING JUMP SHOTS, JOSH!!! You're too good with every other part of your game to have it dragged down by this. At least Joe Johnson finally said something publicly about it.
* Horford - I was listening to Hawk Talk the other night and many people called in to say that Al is the most important player on the Hawks. First, that's patently wrong. Josh should be, Joe is right now, but a guy who puts up 8 pts and 10 boards against a team with no Michael Beasley or any inside presence isn't your most important player, though I can say that 32 minutes and 6 shots is just ridiculous - get the man his touches in the paint.
* Johnson - An average effort for Joe, but his defense and the fact that the Heat sucked made up for it.
* Bibby - Slow start for Mike, but he hit some big 3s to stretch the lead and kill any thought of a comeback. Those 8 dimes were also great to see out of a Hawk PG.
* Law - 6 DAMN MINUTES!!! In a blowout....I mean really Mike...really!?! For the backup point guard who needs minutes...in my best Clinton Portis voice "we've got a genius for a coach." Even in victory, you find a way to piss me off.
* Murray - Pissed off part 2 - uh, Flip isn't a point guard, so why is he running point. If you are an observer of the game, you understand why - I watched 5 passes where Flip found the right open player, but made the pass off target just enough that the defense could recover. THIS is why you let Flip be Vinnie Johnson and let Acie be the setup man. Again, Flip is NOT a combo guard. Stop it, Mike.
* Evans - Solid production off the bench...still miss J Chills, but he's come to endear himself to me by playing consistent ball most nights.
* Pachulia - Big up to Zaza for his yeoman effort on the board and on defense in limited minutes.
* Jones - See Acie Law (replace the number 6 with 2)
* West - Played 2 garbage time minutes...
* Morris - DNP (and I'd be pissed if I couldn't get on the court with 3 minutes left in the game and my team up 18)
* Gardner - Inactive
* Hunter - Inactive
There should be little to complain about in a blowout road victory. Well, leave it to Mike to make me have to say something - Acie and Solo can't get any burn in a blowout, Josh isn't being lashed for taking jumpers, Al Horford gets 6 shots in the post...AHHHHH!!!!
Str8 Talk Love
1. The Crowd - Let me just say this - I always proclaim my love for Atlanta and it's beautiful people. Well, let me go on record and just say - even the average women look...amazing. Every hue, flavor, size, and shape - it was great to see. Too bad, I was outside waiting for my tickets early in the game when this could have been reviewed more thoroughly, but to be clear - i can't even imagine how crazy it would be for a big game (Hawks don't qualify yet) on a Friday night when it's ..uh, 80 degrees outside. Good lawd!!!
2. The Overscene - While waiting for my tickets to arrive through the first quarter :(, I saw a guy with a ridiculously large TS chain. Of course, the hip hop in me said - who would put on a fake Terror Squad chain with diamonoids...only in Miami or so I thought. Only to get into the game and find said gentleman hanging out with Fat Joe (head of the Terror Squad) - maybe I shouldn't question the Miami scene like that again. Not many celebs to be seen, but did bump into Glen Rice (or should I say - the ladies that I was with knew Glen and nearly every other person in the Grey Goose Lounge at American Airlines Arena - more on this later)
3. Our experiences - It was fun to see some friends while hanging with my old classmate and ATL road dog Alison. Interestingly, I bump into friends all over the world in the most random places. (aside - last week, in a Harlem grocery store - I bumped into some magazine execs I knew from 8 years ago). Today's random friend was Donae (Moet Hennessy and frat) Burston. As an overall experience it was cool to see an arena that doesn't have all the suites on one side and to just spend your time mostly in the arena. I'm so used to networking and watching the games in Atlanta that you forget what good energy you find watching your squad all game. Though it would be nice to have the flat screens inside the exclusive lounges showing the game feed that has the score AND the non-overhead feed (with all the animations, etc).
4. The Honey Quotient - I think we've discussed this enough, but again - damn! A comparison to the Cavs crowd will be offered in our Cavs recap. But I will add that the Heat dancers are RIDICULOUSLY HOT. Now, what they didn't do was show me that they were together as a dance team. Maybe it was an off night (since my homie and ex-Heat and Hawks dance team member Star attests that the Heat dancers are off the chain), but it wasn't that tight. Now, when you are that HOT - who cares?
5. Hawk Shouts - Woody (since he gave Ali her tickets - ironic, huh..maybe I should ease up on the guy...uh, not! This IS HawksStr8Talk!) and Arthur Triche
6. The After Party - Finally, the part that everyone was waiting on...the after party and you didn't think I flew to Miami on Friday to just see the Hawks and then come home to see the Cavs. You have to sample the nightlife and tonight was no exception. So after about 10 different inquiries with my friends in Miami - it seemed like we were going to roll to Opium or the Delano or some other hotel when our friends started trying to connect with Heat players for their plans (yes, I roll with those folks). Turns out that during our wait for Mike Woodson and Arthur Triche that I met Shaun Livingston (former Clipper and now Heat guard) and Jamaal McGloire in the Grey Goose Lounge. Pretty nice guys, I thought. Ok, let's hit the streets, ladies.
Well, they had plans for dinner and drinks at the Mondrian. Little did I know that this jaunt would turn into the Heat players' hot spot where I sat in VIP hanging out with Shaun, his brother, Shawn Marion, D Wade (though I only met him - he later on sat at this white throne-like seat the head of a table of about 25 people), Mario Chalmers, DaQuan Cook, and I'm sure others I don't remember right now. In any case, say goodbye to doing anything else when you have free drinks, free food, hot ladies, and cool, rich people. Shaun and I had a nice discussion about how Atlanta is ready to bust in basketball love if we can just sustain this successful run. He said he was there at game 6 of the Boston series and that it was electric. He admitted that success would definitely make more players want to play for the Hawks b/c the nucleus is tight and the market is fertile with b-ball fans. On the whole, the Livingston boys showed us a great time and I must say that they represent the organization and NBA players well - intelligent, fun, and engaging. All this despite the fact that I didn't hide my Hawks love. All in all - a great trip and now I'm back in the A for the Cavs game - let's see how it goes for us tonight and if I have my 'energy' for the back to back. If I can do it, so can they - Hawks win tonight
No movement on the prediction scale - 47-35! And a SWEET victory over the Cavs.
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