Saturday, November 29, 2008

Two Games in One

Because the holiday has thrown off our blogging sensibilities, we're just gonna go the route of quick observations and get back to our regular flow starting Wednesday.

First, we said we'd call it a successful road trip if we split the games and well, we split 'em, so the Hawks at 10-6 is a good look. We played hard against the Raptors only to let Chris Bosh go buck wild on us in the second half. I was screaming at the screen wondering where Zaza was in the 2nd half, only to think that we answered that question by seeing that Zaza couldn't play today, so I'll give Mike a pass in hopes that injury was the reason he wasn't in the game while Bosh was putting the clamps on us.

In any case, we again are on the Perspective Watch...if you said we'd be 6-6 without Josh Smith, I'd have said - man, that's about as believable as an African American president. (Oops!)

So, yes - we struggled with the late game push by the Wizards, which shouldn't happen, BUT (P Watch) we were losing those games last year and now we're squeaking them out. Almost did the same against a good team on Friday night. That said, here's the game recaps and let's start with a 6 game win streak to welcome Josh back to the team. Though I think I'm ready to start a Horford watch - and see what our record is any time Horford gets 10 or more shots. When we give him the rock, he produces. It's scary to keep watching us have 3 quarters of good basketball where we make the extra pass, play from the point guard on in, and play defense (shout out to Solomon Jones) and then decide to do that 'hey, Joe Johnson take the ball and bail us out' offense that hasn't worked for the past 2-3 games. Can we please dispense with that offense? Oh, and Flip - we got your torrid November shooting and now, can you just play within the offense instead of shooting whenever you possibly can at the 40% clip that we have to endure from otherwise freaking awesome Josh Smith.

So, Flip, when you are able to do what Josh can do in other parts of the game, you can't shoot shots that don't come from the flow of the offense. Ok, enough ranting (more Acie and Al touches, please)...

Raptors 93, Hawks 88

Hawks 102, Wizards 98

Hope you all had great holiday weekends!!!! (that is sent to my 5 friends who read this stuff)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bucks @ Hawks - 11/26/08

It's Turkey Day. I'm stuffed, got a case of the 'itis, so let's just keep it simple.

Hawks 102, Bucks 96

I'm going to keep trying my damnedest to keep some perspective about this thing. We are 9-5! We are at .500 on the road. 5-1 at home. 10 of those games were without Josh Smith, so the fact that we're winning them and the fact that we let 3 games go that we shouldn't have (the Pacer and Nets games) makes me feel like we should have a better record than we should. If you would have said on Oct. 1st, the Hawks will be 9-5 - I'd have slapped you, then took you to a medical facility.

Sooo, I say all that to say - for all my rants about the coach and some player traits - I can say with confidence that the Hawks are better than I ever thought we'd be. Everything that's said is from the championship/perfectionist point of view. So, for this game, no complaints...we banked a victory. Al got the rock, got more than 10 shots..Acie played (though we'd like about 20 minutes a night), so any other analysis is suspended, so eat mo' turkey and we'll talk to you on the next go round.

Shouts to Harlee, Andre, Kim, Marlon, TC, Howard, Carla, and all the other folks we saw out at the game. Big up to the Four Seasons (where we had drinks to celebrate the Hawks victory and bumped into Sir Charles Barkley - super nice guy!) and Trois for hosting a pre-thanksgiving party for the young professionals of the A-T-L!

We'll see how we deal with the post-Thanksgiving Toronto/Washinton back to back...need a split at worse.

Obama to you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hawks @ Cavaliers - 11/22/08

I have to be honest - I never put a W in the Hawks column for this game. On the back half of a back-to-back, on the road, and short handed. No, a game like this (while a hoped for victory) is more useful in its revelation of team fortitude. We are on record in saying that there are no moral victories, but we do believe that the effort displayed in some losses reveals the character of a team. For this game, the keys were tough minded-ness and use of the bench..oh, and a strategy for victory. Well, it was a failure on all accounts except ONE...see below

Game Feedback - Cavaliers 110, Hawks 96

Str8 Butter Award - No one deserves Str8 Butterness for this game, so let's just use this time to say - LeBron James is a ridiculously talented guy. If they ever get a Pippen to his Jordan, I have no doubt that he can be the best player to ever play the game. Yes, I said it.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - 37 minutes in a relative blowout for a guy who is gimpy on a back to back. Hmmm
* Johnson - Wow! That's all I can say...we'll just act like this night never happened. Will make no conclusions and keep it movin'. I mean, even Jack Bauer gets his lunch handed to him every once in a while.
* Bibby - I actually wonder what the market would be for Bibby...a scoring PG who doesn't play defense at $14M, what does that get you? Could it be a pass first, defensive stopper. No, this isn't based on this game, but unless JSmoove's return shows me that the pros outweigh the cons - I'm officially not against Bibby getting traded at the deadline.
* Williams - No comment on his game today, but it was interesting to see that sharp shooting Marv wasn't shooting threes during this game.
* Pachulia - Glad to see him take a early seat when the game was out of reach (which was at the end of the 1st quarter)

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Too bad your A game was wasted in a game like this. Would give you some credit, but during a clunker - not so much.
* Law - Now, to the only delight of the game - I called for 20 minutes for Acie and he got 23. And while you can't draw much from a blowout, he was not in the game during garbage time only (if you call anything after the first quarter...not garbage). 20 pts, 6 boards, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover...a line that we hope gives Woodson some confidence to play Acie REGULARLY.
* Murray - As noted by ESPN's John Hollinger and Peachtree Hoops, there's serious doubt that Flip could keep up his torrid start. The worry now is that he actually thinks he should shoot almost any time he gets into the game. We like your game, Flip. We like an offensive philosophy where Law runs the 2nd team offense better, though having you two on the court together hasn't worked so far.
* Jones - Same line - feels good to see your energy in the game, but I'm longing for some JSmoove right about now.
* West - Garbage Time
* Hunter - Garbage Time
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - Inactive (Note: Is there a reason that we can't get Gardner active and on the court for a game like this. If any game screamed, come out and just shoot 3s to see if we can possibly get hot and make it a game, THIS WAS IT!) I'd much rather have a player with a defined skill than watch Mario West get in for those 5 second spurts...
* Smith - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Listen, we'll eschew the opportunity to bag on Woodson's lack of motivational tactic or strategy for the game to say - HE PLAYED ACIE LAW IV. Early and often. So, you sir get a pass today. The fact that we got blown out and looked pretty bad doing it (though shorthanded and playing the best player in the game) should tell you how important I think it is that we continue to build Acie's confidence and ultimately toward playing to our main offensive strength, which is to RUN! RUN! RUN! and you can't do that if you are only going to play with one point guard.

Str8 Talk Love

How terrible was this game - uh, I left during the second quarter again. Yes, I knew that no strategy was forthcoming to help us win the game, so why waste a Saturday night. So, to Six Feet Under we go...nothing like blackened catfish and watching another old fashioned molly whoppin' by the Oklahoma Sooners to take the edge off of a butt kickin'. And watching the HD edition of the Hawks / Cavs later just proved that it was a great decision.

Season Prediction
Since I didn't have this one in the bank anyway, no change is warranted. 44-38! now, I can't wait until LeBron comes to Atlanta on the 13th of December (right in the middle of prime Christmas party season - how do I decide what to do - Lebron vs. free food, free drinks, Christmas cheer...ugh! Suggestions, please)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bobcats @ Hawks - 11/21/08

Until we see JSmoove's return and healthier versions of Al and Zaza, we maintain that we'll try to ease up on the criticisms and just bank victories. Case #2 (Washington being #1) was this game vs. the Bobcats. Win game, ask questions ... never. Let's get to the team analysis.

Game Feedback - Hawks 88, Bobcats 83

Str8 Butter Award - Again, (apologies to Joe) Marvin gets back to back Str8 Butter Awards. A first this year and admittedly, unexpected. Even with him being the obvious 'step up your game' candidate. Maybe all this ribbing and challenging of his manhood is paying off. Put your double, doubles up!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Pachulia - let's just be fair - didn't do much, but being a warrior and just giving some minutes to keep us from more Randolph Morris floor time works for us.
* Johnson - A Joe Johnson special - dropped 30 smooth and put some dimes on it. I love that he has that LeBron like ability to get dimes and pts, though it's worrisome that our point guards are unable to provide any assists esp. on a team that now has SHOOTERS (who'd a thunk that this time last year)
* Bibby - Hit some big shots and for that we're grateful. What we're not so grateful for is his inability to keep a speedy PG in front of him. Again, I think our defensive philosophy is to funnel these guys to Josh and let him erase their ability to keep folks in front of them. Well, Josh is injured, so defensive philosophy B should be in the offing...right?
* Williams - Only thing I can complain about right now is the AND 1 watch - still waiting on you to hit a bucket in the lane while you're being fouled.
* Horford - With a little surprise 30 minutes, a dunk - no relapse on the ankle...we'll take it. obviously, he was injured, but again - can we just TRY and pass it to him in the post and see if he can replicate Chicago Beast Mode Al again? Shouldn't we just attempt to see if he's got that for us each game.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Law - Break the record skip called Acie's in the Doghouse...and let's hope this is permanent. No, he wasn't killing anything, but he wasn't hurting the squad playing with Joe and Bibby. Let Acie play the game - his confidence is shot and we have to build it back...please, Mike. How about a 20 minute effort against the Cavs.
* Murray - Another tough night offensively, but no attempt to do big things defensively. thanks Mike for playing Acie when you saw what Flip was giving us.
* Jones - Feeling real good about seeing Solo in the game these days. Energy, blocks, a presence. Rotation status is secure.
* Evans - The unsung hero of the game - double double, good minutes, and basically debunking my theory of having you in the starting lineup and marvin on the bench. Sorry guys - I was wrong (well, at least until game 20 when we're back healthy and I have to figure out why we aren't 15-5).
* Morris - DNP
* Hunter - DNP
* Gardner - DNP
* Smith - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

I will congratulate Mike on any victory that includes Acie with over 15 minutes on the floor, so congrats Mike. I will resist all other attempts to criticize you today (I'm sure those thinly veiled shots in the player commentary would make that resistance seem futile).

Str8 Talk Love

1. The Crowd - Winning 2/3 of our games couldn't have gone about with lesser fanfare. People stop bloggin', emailing, and watching on TV and get down to Philips. If you need a deal, holla at me - I'll get you one, but get there.
2. The Overscene - Friday nights are normally gold for the scene - well, let's say that we were killed by the Bobcat effect. A combo of a bunch of unknown NBA players and a sorry team means - the game was not really that celebrity filled. Guess there were other things to do in town...who knew?
3. Our experiences - Let's see here - thanks to my lovely and trusted assistant Lisa..we happened upon a few trends that the cold has brought out. The first one - fur..yes, Pamela Anderson woulda had a fit b/c the ladies (and more disturbingly, the fellas) came out with the finest of rabbit and chinchilla. Yes, it's a little cold, but let's not pull out the long johns and cashmere earmuffs yet. I was also fortunate enough to catch a t-shirt in the stands (this being the 3rd time out of probably 300 games over the past 12 years) and of course, my assistant shamed me into giving it to some lil' kid. Normally, I'd feel great about this, BUT this kid also was given a basketball that was thrown in the stands. Sorry, but two giveaways for the kid is one too many. I worked hard for that t-shirt. Thanks, Lisa.
4. The Honey Quotient - For a Friday, it was awful. No liquid leggings, though TONS of leggings in general (I guess that's the new thing - I hear American Apparel had a sale)) and I can only guess that the groupies had better options on a Friday night in an attempt to meet rich young men.
5. Hawk Shouts - Missed my man Harlee, but Stacie, Boma, and Will held me down. See y'all next week.
6. The After Party - Again, no after party, BUT one last random non-Hawks related comment (other than the fact that it happened at the Hawks game?) - what would you call a person who can't keep their Grand Marnier in the plastic martini glass? A liquor rookie, nervous in the surroundings, intimidated by calm, cool, collectedness of such handsomeness, or something else...haven't settled on it yet and won't name any names, but if you can't handle your liquor with the care and love it deserves - what else does that say about said individual :). There must be some kind of sanction or penalty for these kinds of transgressions. Just can't go spilling Grand Ma all willy nilly.

Season Prediction
44-38! Yep, a one game bump people...let's see how we can continue to make the climb. One.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wizards @ Hawks - 11/19/08

Long diatribes are is back on its axis. Let's just call this what many won't - the kind of game, the past few years have taught us - we'd lose. I don't know if I can draw any conclusions about the players or the coach on a day like this, but I can say - the team mentality is MUCH different when we can win a game like this. And you'll see why below...

Game Feedback - Hawks 91, Wizards 87

Str8 Butter Award - Marvin, Marvin, Marvin...I have been asking for signs that you can suck it up and play TOUGH b-ball. None of that pansy stuff where you hit jump shots all day (though we love jump shots) and today, you went to the hole (still gotta work on the and 1's, but you made your free throws - got some guys to foul you and went to work on the boards. I'd love to give some to Zaza and Bibby, but I'm fair - when I criticize, I criticize. When you step up, I give praise. Today, you get a Str* Butter Award....praises go up!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Pachulia - Using a maimed were a MAN. 18 boards, won't lament the lack of production on the offensive, but was just amazed to see you suck it up. I'm still trying to figure out what happened last year - I mean what a difference a year makes.
* Johnson - Turnovers and missed shots...won't throw you under the bus, but again - let's run the offense (the one where you aren't expected to manufacture points in playground fashion) and see how well you can perform.
* Bibby - that's what we need (that and you just being the guy who runs the offense). Love your game tonight - had the shot going, now just get the rest of the guys set up - 3 assists just doesn't cut it as the leader of an offense.
* Williams - Again, be the man.
* Evans - Again, show me that you are the lockdown defender that I know you can be. When we need Butler shut down, do it. Though I can't be mad at the fact that Antwan didn't blow up (though that had a lot to do with the Wizards not wanting to do the obvious and just give it to him early and often)

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Law - Insert Broken Record here. When short handed, put your best players on the court. Don't care what kind of doghouse he's in - it seems like he should get in the game more..if nothing else to allow us to run.
* Murray - Tough night for Flip, but that's what happens with the modern day Vinnie 'Microwave' Johnson. Some days you can't hit your shots, but let's make sure you make the contribution elsewhere to make up for it, son.
* Jones - See, here's what's interesting...Mike is doing with Solo what I wish he'd do with Acie. You're down, you use this time to get him prepared to be a part of the rotation. All the time now will benefit us down the line and in the time given - Solo is performing. Not as an all star, but as a contributor who knows his role. Mike, cut and paste this onto Acie's role.
* West - DNP
* Morris - DNP
* Hunter - Nothing to comment on.
* Gardner - DNP
* Smith - Inactive
* Horford - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Again, I won't knock his coaching for this game. We won. I do question the overall season long strategy of not developing Acie Law. It happened with Salim, it happened with Josh early and even now by not establishing that 3pt shots are off limits, it happens with the 'let Joe just hopefully make a shot in the final 6 minutes of a game that's close', it happens when we don't run, it happens with the 2 foul rule, so we'll lose the game in the 2nd or 3rd quarter instead of the 4th quarter in a case where a player fouls out (Note: I don't remember when a Hawks player has fouled out AND we lost b/c said player wasn't available to help us win. When that happens - I will drop the last point of contention)

Str8 Talk Love

1. The Crowd - Another lackluster crowd. Hey, guys! Apathetic Atlanta fans - we do have to continue to support the season or not. Now, let's get behind our 7-4 (hope to be 8-4) Hawks.
2. The Overscene - On a Wednesday...not much to see in the crowd save my Hawks companion for the night (compliment given) AND to our surprise - a rather diminutive, verbose, and boastful Floyd Mayweather (plus entourage - loved the young ladies with the fuzzy boots..gotta have fuzzy boots in your entourage). Upon walking by him and watching a guy give him praise - he says quote - 'Yeah, Ali is considered the greatest, but I never lost, won in 4 weight classes, and made more money, now you tell me who is the greatest'. Let me make it clear - Ali!!!! When you decide to stand up for African Americans, protest the war, and become the subject of hundreds of documentaries, etc then I'll reconsider.
3. Our experiences - Not much to comment on...pretty uneventful night. And as long as they come with a win, we'll take it. Also, quick shout out to Greg & Terese (see you at a game in DC soon)
4. The Honey Quotient - Outside of the fuzzy boots - it looks like the ladies only come out for the weekend, so we'll see how the Charlotte game ends up. And bring back the liquid leggings, please.
5. Hawk Shouts - Big ups to Will, Harlee, Boma, Stacie, Kat, Montez - y'all always got my love
6. The After Party - No after party - it was Wednesday and I'm trying to do better...the economy has told me so, so no after party.

Season Prediction
Sticking with 43-39! If we can get to 8-4, we'll talk about a bump. Til then, we're back to not going overboard with things until I see a healthy Horford and Smith on the court. Til next time...cheerio!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hawks @ Pacers - 11/18/08

We're going to suspend the long diatribe today since we started the game without fire and then found Al hobbling to the locker room and just knew that it wasn't going to end well. So, I stopped watching and went out for dinner and drinking. While I was torn about that, the end result was - dinner and drinking is essential to life. Another Hawks loss - not so much.

Game Feedback - Pacers 113, Hawks 96

Couple of thoughts:
1. Why the #$@@$ can't Acie get in the game when we are short handed? I mean, seriously, the end of the third quarter and garbage time in the 4th quarter. SERIOUSLY, Mike. He seriously is getting in the game AFTER Randolph Morris and Othello Hunter.
2. Repeat the above. I can't knock any other part of the game b/c it was lost when Al was called out for the game. There's no way that we can win without players b/c our coach isn't good enough to come up with a plan B or make adjustments on the fly. Sorry, but I have to call it like I see it. And if Acie isn't good enough to get in the game before Hunter or Morris (and yes, I know that we need big men, but if they are sub-standard, then why not just play small ball and run them and hope that your shots fall to give yourself a chance to win the game).
3. You should never believe that the game is OVER just b/c a player goes down. If Anthony Morrow can go for 37, then someone can step up and carry us for one game. Not a long term solution, but ....oh nevermind! I sure am glad I went out for dinner and drinks...

Can't help thinking that we may be 6-6 before the week is out. Josh, Al come back soon...

Season Prediction: may be injury aided, but we're back to our original top end expectation for the team.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nets @ Hawks - 11/15/08

Seeing that we had a repeat of Friday's game - there's really no reason to regurgitate the blog again, so we'll just move through and make a few notes and keep it moving.

Game Feedback - Nets 119, Hawks 107

Str8 Butter Award - I really don't want to give anyone a Str8 Butter Award, but if I must - it's Joe Johnson as our 3 time aware winner, but let's be real. No one deserves this.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Yes, it's too much to ask for you to hold down the middle and to have the low post scoring fall on you. With Zaza and Osh out, I'll give you a pass,, the Ole' award goes too...
* Johnson - Got it. Joe's a stud. What we needed in the game, though, was a foot in someone's A&& when the layup line was forming in front of our basket. Would give up the 31 pts to see Joe go and put the smack down on his team for not showing up.
* Bibby - Glad to have you on the team and now that that's over - since Woodson refuses to adjust his game plan according to the team we are playing...maybe you could help us get away from shooting jump shot after jump shot when we aren't shooting well. Maybe...?
* Williams - If ever there was a game for another player to step up and be the STUD we need him to be, this was it, but as we've come to expect - finishing at the cup...not so much.
* Evans - Really losing faith in your half of starting over Williams, but still see it as a championship strategy - can you confirm my genius please? Esp. with guys like T. Moore talking about Woodson's 'vindication'. (Really, Terence...I mean are you going to the games? I'd be happy to talk/walk you through the games I'VE been watching for his entire career and awe-inspiring in ANY way - it's not. And I WANT the guy to be successful unlike most of his critics).

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Law - Nothing going here, but of course - he doesn't get to play until the game is out of reach. As I said, I don't blame Law for being yo, yo'd with minutes. I do want him to keep being aggressive when he gets an opportunity. Please!
* Murray - Love that he's a difference maker. So, while it wasn't his best game. When Flip comes in, he's playing his game and playing to win.
* Jones - Moving to the point where I believe that Solomon can be a part of the rotation when Josh and Zaza are back. A combo of Solo, Josh, Zaza, and Al would be ok (not as good as one with Antonion McDyess - hint, hint), but gives us 6 more fouls, some energy, some shot blocking...and keeps me from thinking that Randolph Morris will see the light of day.
* West - 4 minutes of garbage time - no comment!
* Morris - 2 minutes of garbage time - ugh!
* Hunter - 2 minutes of garbage time - not sure what to make of him, but good to see him in the game for once
* Gardner - 2 minutes of garbage time - got to love the fact that he dropped a 3 as SOON as he got in. Had visions of Salim Stoudamire (another mismanaged talent). If he actually can guard someone, I'd like to say we have 6 3pt shooters on the team.
* Smith - Inactive
* Pachulia - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Broken record is about to sound off..the rotation sucks, Mike. The motivation sucks, Mike. The offensive strategy sucks, Mike. Anything else? I can't say we'd win today no matter what, but the effort and strategy leaves TONS to be desired. Truly!!!

Str8 Talk Love

1. The Crowd - Not into the game at all...don't know if that's b/c we got molly wopped in New Jersey or what, but the crowd was Atlanta-esque. We are the first place Atlanta Hawks, so let's act like it Atlanta.
2. The Overscene - Let's see...Ne-Yo, MTV's La La on the good side. But let's just be clear - the game promotions and activities...not a good look - really boring stuff. Come on Hawks Ops team - I know you have it in you.
3. Our experiences - Had the opportunity to take a friend start to a b-day celebration, so I hope the Hawks' effort was not a downer to the start of a fun night. It was cool to go back to our previous Hawks existence as a season ticket holder with seats in the upper level. Spending the last few seasons in club level seats (or simply in the club level) has been sublime, but it's always good to return to your roots where I got to catch up with some old friends and see folks from all over the arena. That said, we lost, so we're in no rush to return. Now, there was a part of the trip to the club level around halftime that brought us some well needed fun - liquid leggings...basically, the A level groupie-esque leggings that are made of some lycra type material that shows off the best of a woman's..uh assets. For some reason, it seemed to be liquid legging night (as an patron of club level, I don't think I'd ever see as many of these outfits) to my delight. People watching (even for a few minutes) has never been better...
4. The Honey Quotient - For a Saturday, was not a good night. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it's the Nets, maybe ...oh, I don't know what it was, but women did not stand up (except for putting those leggings on display - good lawd!)
5. Hawk Shouts - Big ups to Will, Harlee, Jennifer, Stacie, Andrea, Kat, Montez - y'all always got my love
6. The After Party - No happs on an after party, but the crowd at Stats, Luckie, and Utopia from a driveby standpoint looked mighty nice.

Season Prediction
Ok, trying to keep perspective here and still be upset that we're not at least 7-2! So, we're going to put it at 45-37 and a 5th seed. Let's get back on an upswing, Hawks. And more importantly - Zaza and Osh - get healthy, PLEASE!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hawks @ Nets - 11/14/08

Sure, we'll get full analysis below, but let's just sum this up for those who have only a few seconds - NO DEFENSE!!!! And with no defense comes 6-2. Can't say I'm surprised, though. We noted in our last blog that this was a trap game. Too much Hawk love going around. This was the first test to see if our veterans would be able to motivate our young Hawks to value this victory just like the other ones and to ignore all of the love from the media and fans, etc. Didn't happen, so let's get to the feedback

Game Feedback - Nets 115, Hawks 108

Str8 Butter Award - It was all Marvin Williams and his 3 pt shooting until - the fourth quarter and well Joe Johnson is clearly trying to debunk my contention that Josh Smith is more talented than he is (though I have always maintained that JJ is our best player). I guess I need to start considering that I may be wrong, though I am praying that our new 3pt shooting prowess will convince Josh that we don't NEED his 3pt shooting. All that said - 30pts in the 2nd half, 21 in the fourth - not missing any shots down the stretch, even ones that made me say ..nooooo! GREAT SHOT, JOE!! You, sir, are our first repeat Str8 Butter award winner!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Ok, Al - you have fallen into two categories. 1. They run the ball through you and you shine and most times we'll win or 2. They don't and you shoot 6 times and are uninvolved in the game, even in foul trouble. Bottom line, let me work on Woodson and you stay out of foul trouble (esp. knowing that you are going to be stuck on the bench due to someone's 2 fouls and you're out rule). We need you on the court on nights like this for 40+ mins.
* Johnson - Ok, so Joe is a little mad at me. I said that we need to stop the '4th quarter - give it to Joe and get out of the way' offense that we resort to every close 4th quarter. Well, ok - you proved your point. You can take over a game in a quarter. It was almost MJ-esque last night. the problem was - no stops on the defensive end. As a point in my favor of just continuing to run the same offense, maybe you could have stayed in front of Vince if you weren't tired from running over, around, through the Nets to score while everyone else sat at the 3pt line waiting for a kick out...just sayin'
* Bibby - Damn me for giving up some praise for playing defense in the Celtic game. This game, not so much D. If you score ok and your opposing PG torches you, the net gain is a loss and well, Bibby - you do have to stop the other player. I know Harris is a burner, so what do you do...let him shoot. Don't get beat to the cup over and over.
* Williams - Now, it's hard to extrapolate things over a season, but if Marvin can keep hitting that 3pter at this clip - maybe we've found something at the small forward position that we can exploit and can say he does better than Paul or Williams - please give me SOMETHING to hang over those guys (Billy Knight would like that as well, though rumor has it that he always wanted Williams and was TOLD to pick Williams by ownership - can't confirm that, but I'm just sayin' - maybe Knight wasn't the complete problem - now, Sheldon Williams - THAT was a pick that he should have been fired for). I still will continue my Williams as a super sub mantra, but let's focus on what we have. He STILL can't finish at the cup, but having a consistent jump shooter to play off of Bibby and Joe Johnson can't be bad. It would be even more valuable if we had a post game to utilize or if he could pump fake and take it (and finish) at the rim.
* Pachulia - Early foul trouble really hurt us tonight. Seeing Robin Lopez play hard, tough inside offense was depressing. Not only that, I kept thinking - wow, if we just had a Robin Lopez. That should say everything about how badly we utilize the post. Anyway, hard to give an opinion on your starting center when he gets 13 minutes and we're getting killed in the post. Someone tell me got hurt vs. was sitting per Woodson's whim.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Finally a big clunker from you...and yet, you are still getting minutes down the stretch. Need to see that lockdown D from you on Joe instead of you doing nothing on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. And more importantly, VETERAN LEADERSHIP - don't let us come in less than ready.
* Law - Welcome back to the lineup. Aggressive, assertive - a little out of control and 2 bad turnovers, but who can blame you when you don't know if you'll be back in the doghouse tomorrow night. Bottom line, Flip Murray is NOT a point guard. Reclaim your position, Acie. More minutes for Acie, I say.
* Murray - Flip put in the points and did his thing - huge minutes, big shots, just what we need from the bench. A vet who needed to step up during an off game. Again, getting that leadership on the defensive end would have been even nicer.
* Jones - Glad to have him playing hard, but wondering why he had more minutes than Zaza.
* West - DNP - ignoring that end of game stuff
* Morris - So, he can play against the Celtics, but not the Nets...when we had some foul trouble again. boy...oh boy!
* Hunter - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Well, I don't know what to say about today. Veteran leadership and coaching is what I expect when the 'trap game' approaches. So, what happens - our worst defensive effort of the season. Robin Lopez and Anderson and VC and Devin Harris all putting the smack down. More effort, more heart, more everything...

So, let's not talk about the same issues today. Our focus for today would be our rotation. Now, I know we are down Osh Smith, whom is our 2nd best player, our energy guy, and a defensive presence. I don't expect that we would have lost this game if he was there, BUT I also worry significantly about the fact that Woodson does not define a role for our players in DEED. I'm sure he does in the locker room, in the office, and in practice. But during the game - why doesn't Acie get consistent minutes (yes, he has sucked, but can someone not have a slump), why does Zaza start - work hard, then see the bench for the rest of the game after 2 fouls? Why doesn't Al get any freakin' touches in quarters 1-3? I get the 4th quarter JJ love fest, but I'm not sure I understand how we will prepare ourselves for the playoffs (yes, we are assuming that we'll be in the playoffs now - anything less would be a major disappointment) if we don't define what kind of team we are. Are we 7, 8, 9 people deep? Is Acie really the backup PG? Is Al a low post scorer? Can you convince Josh that we have 5 three pt shooters who are MUCH better than him, so get off the 3pt line? Those are questions that I have - do you have answers, Mike? Can we change our defense when we're getting torched by the NETS?

Str8 Talk Love

Some good news - we are the best 3pt shooting team in the league. Who ever would have thought that - even this early in the season? And this isn't a jack up the threes team, but we're hitting open threes left and right. It is encouraging that we can hit threes consistently, but the downside is that we were WAAYYYYY too perimeter oriented. The strength of our team is to run and play hard defense. That's to be complimented by good 3pt shooting and hopefully, an inside game led by Horford and Smith. Sound good, yep - me too.

Season Prediction
Went from 40-42 to 47-35 and today we have to move back a game to 46-36, but a win tonight will cause us to move closer to 50 wins. A loss and I'm going to have to really think about how I feel about being 6-3 after the schedule we've had. I'll be in the building for our drive to 7-2.

Let's get it....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hawks @ Celtics - 11/12/08

Let's start this off properly. There are no MORAL VICTORIES!!! Period. I don't believe in 'em. You only believe in moral victories when the goal is to get better. So, the years for moral victories were during the 13 and 26 win seasons of yesteryear. At that time, our talent level would not allow us to win basketball games consistently. Then, if you pushed a team much better than yours to the brink - you can claim moral victory. So, unlike everyone else today - I'm not happy with the moral victory...I wanted a simple W.

Now, that said, I am still proud of my Atlanta Hawks. Proud of the fight and encouraged and discouraged about a few things, but the best thing is that after having Osh and Zaza out of the lineup and Big Al on the bench - we still fought and that's with us not playing our best. It's always a good sign when you aren't playing your best, but are still in the game against the world champs in their building on the back end of back-to-back road games. Old Hawks lose that game by 35 just 2 years ago. Now, let's get to the analysis.

Game Feedback - Celtics 103, Hawks 102

Str8 Butter Award - We'll give this one to the TEAM. Yeah, there were areas for improvement, but let's just be clear in saying that the team fought and fought to keep it alive. To see us at less than our best and still in position to win with .5 seconds on the clock is a testament to how far we've come.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - We'll get to Mike Woodson in a minute (spoiler alert: it. will. not. be. pretty!), but Al left his game in Chicago. It actually just goes to show you that you have to involve players in the game early. Granted he was in foul trouble early, but when he was in the game - did we forget that giving him the ball and working through him yielded GREAT results last night. That said, Big Al - silly fouls are never good, but they are daggers when you are already short handed in the post.
* Johnson - Joe was off tonight - his shot wasn't on for most of the game, but down the goodness! The fallaway before Marvin's 3 was, uh, ri-dick-u-lous!!!! So, our All Star was money in the clutch. That's the great upside, but the downside was seeing us revert to the same 'give it to Joe and everyone run away while we let Joe bail us out - aka the Dominique offense from the 80's' that we have watched for 3 years now. With shooters and a post presence in Al - it would have been nice to see our POINT GUARD run a play and take the pressure off of Joe to come up with something, but again let me save some of this for my Coaching section.
* Bibby - I loved his game today (well, all except the having him not play point guard in the fourth quarter), but what was almost Obama won teary eye-esque was seeing him play DEFENSE down the stretch. It's almost like he wanted to earn that $15M he's getting this year. If we can get that part of his game rolling, my goodness - watch out.
* Williams - Marvin was ...Marvin. No complaints about his game, though I still am waiting to see if he can take over stretches of a game. As a spot up shooter though - he was money and it was great to see Joe show confidence in him to make a clutch, potentially game winning 3.
* Pachulia - Well, Zaza was doing his thing as we've come to on the shot, but going to the free throw line - only to find out that he was hurt and not coming back for the 2nd half. let's hope that this was a minor injury and we'll see him back on Friday in New Jersey.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Big Mo - I probably need to find a new nickname for him if I'm going to use Big Al on Horford...anyway, Mo dropped some gangsta 3s on the Celtics. Would have liked to see if his defensive presence could slow down Pierce, but hey - I'm asking for a lot these days when last year getting any competent bench play was non-existent.
* Law - Essentially a DNP - more on this in the COACHING section...
* Murray - Flip was doing his thizzle in the first half - providing the spark we needed off the bench, so WHY was that missing in the second half. Well, could it be b/c he was on the bench. Plus, I think Flip would be more effective if he had a point guard feeding him the rock. Couldn't help but think that when the Celtics were ripping him of the rock in the 3rd quarter that we probably should have the PG (Bibby or...uh, Law) bringing up the ball, but then again maybe I'm stuck in that youth league, high school, and college b-ball thinking where you have your best ball handlers bring the ball up.
* Jones - Good use of fouls and post game. Still looking for the offensive game to show itself, but considering the competition - I wasn't cringing like last year to have you in the game.
* West - Well, for once the 'come in cold and do something at the end of the quarter' strategy worked. Rebound, bring up ball, assist to, I guess that's how it works in practice. Still confused by the fact that if the guy is a lockdown, energy guy - why isn't it worthwhile during other parts of the game? If Ray Allen is killing you and that guy is the lockdown dude, even if he can't score - shouldn't that be worth something.
* Morris - Uh, let's see if I can put this delicately...Morris get your weight up! You had to know that you possibly could be getting some burn, so look alive my man.
* Hunter - DNP, but I wonder how you could have been worse than playing Morris.

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Ok, now that we've lost a game, I can take the governor off. Tonight's game is precisely why I have completely lost faith that Woodson will be an above average coach. Let me count the ways - yes, you needed to take Al out of the game, but uh, for the entire first half. At no point during the Boston comeback did you think - hey, let's see if we can get some of that Chicago Al in the game. Oh, is there a time when Acie might have been able to match up with Rondo or push the ball? If not when you're shorthanded, when? How do you expect to build confidence in your players if you don't give them roles and then play them in GOOD times and BAD times (yes, I agree that Law has not played well in the last few days).

Uh, why didn't Flip get more burn in the 3rd quarter? Why did we go back to the Joe take the ball and make something happen offense in the 4th quarter when the OTHER effort (of passing and spreading out the court) was working? Again, why didn't Al get back in the game? Is it against the law to actually have a player foul out when you're short handed? We don't know if that will happen, but I'd rather get all the minutes we can than to completely eliminate 20 minutes of b-ball time just because you have 2 fouls.

Str8 Talk Love
The only thing that could be said about how excited I was is that there was a big Maxwell/Jazmine Sullivan concert in town and instead of seeing fine, sexually charged women and a great concert - I was more excited about seeing the Hawks beat down the Celtics. Not only that - I threw out my back a little when Marvin hit that three - I jumped so high and yelled so loud (sorry, neighbors). Final note - why wasn't this one of the HD games on Fox Sports? That is WHY I bought my HD TVs to see big games in HD.

Season Prediction

Ok, I think we've settled on the fact that the Hawks are for real. I fear that we'll also soon settle on the fact that Woodson probably will not get the most out of the squad, so I'm not ready to jump on the 50 win bandwagon yet, but I'm ready to say 47-35 and division title within reach. Now, with the EXPECTATIONS high and the bandwagon filling (shouts out to all the Sales people for the Hawks b/c I'm sure your quotas just got a little easier to fill), let's see how we deal with the spotlight and new hype...again, if we get to 8-1...I'll be ecstatic, but I'm worried that this Nets game is a trap game. I hope someone wrote on the bulletin board after the Celtics game - DON'T BE SATISFIED!!!! If there was anything in the pride I'm feeling about my team, it's that we may pat ourselves on the back too much and end up at 8-8 in a few weeks. it's only November, so let's keep it up, Hawks!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hawks @ Bulls - 11/11/08

Ok, we're finally at a point where I can actually call a victory. I said we'd win and bam, victory! The blog is still undefeated. Don't know what it feels to lose, really. Gotta love that. This time we won with OFFENSE. Love to see the defense, but seeing us step up and knock down shots in the 4th and not have them all be Joe Johnson and Josh Smith luck shots was enlightening.

Listen, this isn't a title contender. I'm not that crazy, but challenging for and possibly winning a division title and a playoff round would be HUGE for this team. We're still young, still probably need a big man with post moves (which could be found in ...uh, Al Horford - more on him later), but until then - let's ride the way and see how these young Hawks face the mighty Celtics. Nothing would erase the first 6 games, but whether we can stand up to the fight without Josh Smith would say volumes about the staying power of this team. Either way, let's go ahead and speak truth to power - Hawks 8-1 by the end of the week!

Game Feedback - Hawks 113, Bulls 108

Str8 Butter Award - We been screaming for Horford touches and boy did we get it - 27, 17, and 5 blocks. All we can say is listen to the Str8Talk and see the offensive flow flourish. Can't remember when we had an inside out game. Now, let's make it rule vs. anomaly.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - See above...the big dog ate tonight!
* Johnson - Let's look at the positive - normally, if Joe doesn't shoot well or score well - we lose. Not tonight and that's without Osh Smith. Big positive...
* Bibby - Huge 3s in the 4th quarter. I mean HUGE!! While Derrick Rose was roasting him on the other end of the court, the only thing that can make up for that is smooth offense and huge 3s. Mission Accomplished!
* Williams - Is it me or is Marvin the quietest guy ever? I just don't remember when he's on the floor - don't feel like he's doing much when on it, and don't miss him when he's off it. Please make your presence felt, bro. even if it's poppin' some one in the mouth again.
* Pachulia - Great work in the paint. We might start saying that the '08 Zaza is the 06 Zaza. '07 Zaza is dead to us.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Big Mo - just like Bibby...big 3s, huge ones! Gotta love it, baby. Uh, starting role, please.
* Law - well, at least you got up a shot and a foul tonight or else the trillion dollar line. Acie meet Mike, Mike meet Acie
* Murray - Finally an off night, but the upside is that we won and didn't feel any lack of confidence with him in the game.
* Jones - With Horford dominating the paint, Solo wasn't needed, but with the lack of a post presence for the Bulls - it would have been nice to see Solo turning away Rose and the defending the paint. Even to see some of Solo's alleged post game.
* West - Still don't get the come in cold to guard against something strategy, but we're 6-0! So, I'm going to shut up.
* Morris - Was in for a quick minute and I missed him, but with nothing but minutes on the box score says that there wasn't much to see.
* Hunter - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

6-0. Again, Can't. Criticize. let's encourage things - like Horford touches and Acie minutes. No criticism, but just improvements and suggestions.

Str8 Talk Love
6-0...finally a chance to watch the games live. And it was extremely calming to see the Hawks - the only anxiety is thinking about the Hawks I'm used to vs. seeing the NEW Hawks with new attitude (sing it, Patti)!

Season Prediction

Ok, tomorrow is D-Day! Are we for real? Can we win? Can we make it a game? Or another blowout...not sure the outcome, but it's certainly Bibby redemption time and time to put today's offensive show up against our defensive tenacity of the rest of the season. Team First! Let's get it Hawks!! You win this and season predict stock (which started at 40-42, might sky rocket to 50 win levels) - let's see how we can cure our past road woes. Call this our Iowa Primary!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hawks @ Thunder - 11/9/08

As I was watching the Miami Dolphins victory on Sunday, I was reminded that there are no bad victories, so after watching the Hawks lose a $#$# load of these over the past 6 years where we were the better team and lost. Or were the best team that night against a great team and just gave it away. Winning on the road without Osh Smith with less than our best effort makes this the best victory of the season to me. if you disagree, can do that, but go back in time and understand that the Hawks have beaten the best many times each season - it's the middling to terrible teams that we've lost to too often. That said - 5-0, baby! Dare we get greedy and look past the Bulls to the Celtics! As a fan, I say we got 6-0 and that's how crazy this season has been. I'm actually looking past teams - Hawks don't do as I do!

Game Feedback - Hawks 89, Thunder 85

Str8 Butter Award - On a night when we needed an inside presence, I'm giving 1/2 butter to Marvin and 1/2 butter to Solomon Jones! Just know that I'm ready to give Horford some love, but he needs the rock to do that.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Liquid diet, liquid diet, liquid diet. Maybe this is like the Dolphins and the wildcat offense - they don't want to show all our cards, so we'll accept it...until we lose, then it's time to take the governor off.
* Johnson - Not a shooting masterpiece, but 25 pts on volume and clutch in the 4th quarter
* Bibby - Good effort and running the offense. not the best execution, but we want to give positive reinforcement for the effort he needs to build up the Celtic redemption game.
* Williams - Again, solid effort...waiting for that 30 pt explosion, but in a victory - this will do. Show the talent, baby.
* Pachulia - Wonder if Woodson just gave up on you or if you didn't have it, but it seems like you shouldn't have gotten your lowest minute outlay on the game AFTER Osh Smith isn't in the lineup.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - No Osh Smith - a chance to get a starting spot (in my mind's eye) and this is what I get. Ugh!!! Well, let's just chalk it up - with a win
* Law - See, I knew this was coming - 6 MINUTES!!!! This is not Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick. Woodson, I know you...I want to believe in you. You have to let Acie WORK through his slump and bumps. Remember, you were the guy who destroyed his confidence last year. It's game 5. Play Acie THROUGH the good and bad times. Ok, rant over. Now, Acie make the plays to prove you deserve to be on the court.
* Murray - Not a great shooting night, but again - 14 pts and some big shots in the 4th quarter. Just what we needed.
* Jones - Again, another Smith like effort on the boards and in the paint. Love to see the energy and tenacity on the glass and challenging shots. McDyess watch is fading.
* West - DNP.
* Morris - DNP
* Hunter - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

5-0. Again, Can't. Criticize. Mike....oh, well - a slight complaint, please keep Acie in the rotation, please.

Str8 Talk Love

We're at 5-0...all of the love is flowing. See every Power Ranking showing us in the top 5 (topping out at #3) and that's bananas!!! Change we can believe in!

Season Prediction

Still at 44-38, but it's getting hard to hold me to this prediction! A win vs. Celtics and we'll start looking at the schedule to see if we can conceivably make a jump to the 50 win plateau and start talking about All Star and MVP considerations. Get well, Osh Smith!!!

Raptors @ Hawks - 11/7/08

Ok, the world is turning upside down. Raucous crowd, blowout wins when our most talented player goes down (2-4 weeks, mind you - there goes the 10 game win streak). Etc. Again, since I was gone for this - I had to watch on DVR and so we'll have an abbreviated version of our blog.

Game Feedback - Hawks 110, Raptors 92

Str8 Butter Award - Mike the damn thang, boy! 19 first half points, running most of the game...that's the definition of straight butter.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Let's look at the good side. Maybe keeping Horford on a diet now will keep him fresh down the stretch b/c 6-8 shots a game seems ridiculous, but yet we win, so I will roll on the side of victories, but if we lose with this - I say get off the liquid diet.
* Johnson - Of course, Joe was butter worthy, but what was best about the night - 32 minutes. In fact, it should have been about 25. let's keep our guys rested - we have a big road trip coming esp. with Josh ...oops, Osh on the mend for a few weeks.
* Bibby - Just keep shooting the lights out and run the offense!!!!
* Williams - Big minutes - solid effort and an opportunity to show us that you deserve a starting position while Osh is out.
* JSmoove - We need you back out there, so heal up quickly. Maybe the ankle will be unable to support the bricks and you'll come back ready to dominate the paint. Get well soon.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Great contribution today, we'll see how well you or Zaza respond to being in the starting 5 - please show us that you deserve that spot, bro.
* Pachulia - Not a good showing, but it's a win, so who are we to complain. Keep using those fouls effectively.
* Law - 13 minutes, but not a lot of production. We got a win - let's just move on, but dammit - don't you mess up your backup position, son.
* Murray - What can we say - basically, the Hawks MVP to date (beside the obvious 2 best players)..we haven't had a bench player that actually was an attacker in years - JChills was not an attacker.
* West - Anytime I can talk about him getting minutes in a victory should mean - it's a blowout. It was a blowout.
* Jones - Solo showed grit and everything that Osh does outside of the assists and some points. Great energy. Keep bringing it and we'll look to expand that rotation from 9 to 10. Maybe my call for McDyess was short sighted. Don't think so, but you never know.
* Morris - Great to see you in a blowout to see what you can bring to the table - a little touch, some toughness, basically enough to say that if we need 6 fouls in the playoffs - he can give us some. Great stuff, young man - now, smile!!!

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

4-0. great job (can't believe I'm saying this), so no complaints - just sit these starters earlier when the game is in hand.

Str8 Talk Love

No extras today, but isn't the love apparent. Since we started the blog, the Hawks have been undefeated. Sounds like the Hawks need to put me on the payroll.

Season Prediction

Started at 40-42, but we are now moving the expectation for the season to 44-38 (and a 6th seed) Progress, baby, progress! Sticking with 44-38 for today, but if we go to 7-0 - there may be some radical change afoot!

Hawks @ Hornets - 11/5/08

Well, I said that if we beat the New Orleans Hornets that we'd talk and well, time to talk. 3-0! 2-0 on the road. Lots of enthusiasm in Hawk-land! Probably not enough to change minds yet, but enough to get some butts in the seats in Philips. Let's get straight to the analysis since we're late with the blog (Obama victory, inauguration planning, and Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas will do that!!!)

Game Feedback - Hawks 87, Hornets 79

Str8 Butter Award - Let's make it three different Hawks with the covet Str8 Butter Award - this one goes to you, Flip Murray for bringing some 4th quarter moxie to the game. Methinks having veterans on the team is good for the soul!!!

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* Horford - Ok, I'm actually starting to get concerned here. Run the offense through Horford. He's played the same steady game for 3 straight games, but I fear that Woodson is actually holding this guy's game back. He needs more than 7 shots...period. I'm just doing cut and paste and unless that's 25 pts and 12 boards a night - that's not enough, let the Big dog eat.
* Johnson - 24pts, 7 boards, 4 assists, good D...uh, your All Star Joe Johnson! The only thing that's killing me right now is that NOW that he has a real point guard - it's just nice to see him actually getting the ball in position to shoot. I'm feeling a Barack Obama sized movement rising!
* Bibby - Uh, that's two subpar games...the effort wasn't there esp. when he's not going to play much defense. But we're winning, so we're going to just keep moving.
* Williams - I'll keep saying this until it comes true - super sub Marvin Williams. Now, that said - good contribution...3 TREYS and just another bullet in the gun for the Hawks. I'd just love him to the first option on the second team with Flip killing second stringers with another wave, but we'll take this effort.
* JSmoove - Same thing here - we're winning, so I'm only quibbling, but I can definitely say that come playoff time (yes, I think it's time to raise our expectations to from a guaranteed spot in the playoffs to home court advantage seeding and no, I haven't been drinking tonight)...we will need to have the discipline to not have Josh shooting 3's (1-5 tonight) or long twos. I mean he's my favorite Hawk, but I think it's time to call him Osh Smith. He does make up for it with stuffing the box score and for that - I will always love Josh...oops, osh Smith!

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Good contribution...would love for him to be defensive stopper in the starting 5, but is Woodson bold enough to do it.
* Pachulia - Not much box score production, but we're loving the new Zaza! Toughness, my man, toughness
* Law - Oh, just dreadful - please don't make me start asking for Craig Claxton to get some backup minutes. I believe in you, Acie, but days like this...ugly!
* Murray - Flip my 4th quarter king - do it, vet! Again, another solid contribution! Accept your role and keep showing and proving
* West - DNP
* Jones - DNP
* Morris - DNP

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Who am I to kick a man who has a 3-0 team? So, if we get to 7-1 or 8-0, I will have to come up with some serious mea culpa on this guy. Just don't give up on Acie. PLEASE

Str8 Talk Love

No extras for the road games, but if Obama can win the presidency - we can lead the Eastern Conference. believe that!!!

Season Prediction

Started at 40-42, but we are now moving the expectation for the season to 44-38 (and a 6th seed) Progress, baby, progress!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Ok, I'm sure that anyone with Sportscenter on, with an internet connection, and a pulse for b-ball knows now that the Detroit Pistons traded Chauncey Billups and Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggests for Allen Iverson.

Now, suspending the analysis for the Nuggets and Piston angles, the impact on the West and East, etc. Let's just deal with the Hawks right now...there are reports about a buyout of McDyess' contract (there are also reports that McDyess will retire before playing for the Nuggets). Now, nothing has been confirmed yet, so let's just discuss the implications here for the Hawks.

Our top 4 C/PF optionsa are - Zaza, Al Horford, Josh Smith (and pick one from Solomon Jones or Randolph Morris). Do you see where I'm going with this? Rick Sund are you making a call RIGHT NOW to Antonio McDyess? (yeah, I know that's tampering, but work with me). He's 34, a veteran, nice shooting touch, championship material, and infinitely better than Solo or Randolph Morris. I can't help but believe that he would be a great leader in the clubhouse and a mentor to Josh Smith as well (yes, that was me saying that Josh needed a mentor a few blogs back - so, Prayer. Answered? courtesy of The Answer even!) He cannot sign with the Pistons for 30 days, so again I say - uh, is this something worth considering? PUH-LEEZE say it's so. And in true Spirit fashion - if the buyout happens, we can get him on the CHEAP!

Just food for thought..more on this if we find McDyess on the free agent market!

Sixers @ Hawks - 11/1/08

Finally, up close and personal assessment of the undefeated Atlanta Hawks!!!! Maybe I should have started a blog about the Hawks 8 years ago. From the time I started this blog, the Hawks are soaring...I blog, Hawks simple as that. Combine that Hawks win with a Yellow Jacket win and Dawg stompin' and we have a priceless Saturday. Now, to the blog,

Game Feedback - Hawks 95, Sixers 88

Str8 Butter Award - Great - two games, two different Str8 Butter Award winners. Today's winner - Joe Johnson. Joe of the 35pt Johnsons. Seems like jealous of the fact that JSmoove had a Str8 Butter rolling around the locker room made him step his game up. And that's how we like it - let's see who wants to get some next week.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
  • Horford - Let's see I could just copy the part I said about Horford from game 1 and repeat it..almost double double, great D, only 7 shots, we could run more plays in the post for him. We love his production, but think that we can double his touches to great effectiveness.
  • Johnson - 14-23, 2 from downtown (one from WAYYY downtown), 100% from the line. Quiet leadership, butter award...uh, that's our Joe! It would still be nice to see us work from the post outward to spot up jumpers off curls and offensive moves vs. joe having to create his offense. When confronted with a defense designed to stop his creativity, the offense could struggle...
  • Bibby - Much better effort from Bibby. Still don't get the sense that he's RUNNING the team, but definitely saw him make some shots and get us into a few sets, but it sure would be nice to see an inside/out game, pick and roll, something to add variety to this team's offensive philosophy.
  • Williams - Well, I'm going to be generous and say - we won, Marvin needed to get the rust off and let's just leave it there. in the mode of positive thinking, this was maybe the best thing possible in that - a move to the bench would help Marvin be the super sub - we all think he can be. Right? That's what we believe, correct?
  • JSmoove - Now, let's hope that there is no Str8 Butter Award jinx. We'll test this with Joe on Wednesday. To the negatives (and we do this b/c we love, not to complain for complaining sake), 5 turnovers and more jump shots - I think I saw 8 or 9. And according to Hot Shots on - the guy clearly does not get it..JSmoove - you are our most talented player. You will be our best player when you STOP TAKING jump shots. Yes, you made a 3 in the 4th quarter, but it's almost terrible for you to make that shot b/c it encourages more shots in the future. So, let's just say it again - EVERYONE stop passing the ball to Josh on the perimeter. Period. Ok, that said - the guy made a great turnaround from the 1st quarter to impact the game. that's what great players do. They make a difference elsewhere and I love him for it. But please for the love of all that's good and perfect, stop shooting from outside.
Bench Kudos/Smackdown
  • Evans - Not the impact he had against the Magic, but that's just more reason for him to get the starting gig. Big 3 as well..bottom line, continue to make your presence felt on defense and see if we can get Woodson to put you in the starting 5.
  • Pachulia - I said I couldn't say it loud enough, but maybe if I say it enough - the '06 Zaza will just be regular '08 Zaza. Work on the boards, energy off the bench, didn't show up on the box score, but Zaza - your work hasn't gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
  • Law - 15 more minutes of burn and not as much effectiveness, so here's the rub. Will an ineffective outing make Woodson start to lack trust in you again. Better to test that faith in a win, but let's see how you handle Acie, Woodson.
  • Murray - Flip, can't say much was great about your game, but it was good to see someone outside of the starting 5 scoring down the stretch. Too bad, it came at the expense of seeing Marvin do something of substance, but it's good to see that we have someone who is willing to take a shot in the clutch
  • West - DNP
  • Jones - DNP
  • Morris - DNP
Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

I think we have to give a kudo b/c we won, but again - I'd love to feel like Woodson was actually coaching us. Here's how that can be accomplished. First, a post game - inside out, pick and roll, give and go - something other than running and Joe creating offensive for himself. Second, motivating with minutes. Meaning Marvin goes to the pine until he earns the starting gig or just make him into the Black Manu. And finally, killing the 2 foul and hit the bench rule. Those things would make me happy and would feel like he's coaching vs. working from a Larry Brown manual or something. But I'm letting my Woodson bias get in the way of the fact that we are 2-0. So, for now, Mike's all good with me.

Str8 Talk Love

Now to the fun part of the evening (outside of a victory)...
1. The Crowd - Totally into the game, it's like night and day. Until last year's playoffs, the best experience I've ever had at a NBA game was Knicks/Timberwolves in Madison Square Garden back in '01 and trust..we're building up to having a true home court advantage.
2. The Overscene - Let's see...Mayor Young, Usain Bolt, Chili of TLC, and Allen Payne were just some of the celebs in the building. Win and we can make it Los Angeles South
3. Our experiences - Of course, I checked out the game with my Andre and we started out the game with an appreciation moment - his was the fact that i introduced him to the best parking spot at Philips Arena (just $5, avoids traffic coming in and going, as close as you can get). My appreciation comes now - gotta love being able to go out, be on time, and just vibe with the give and take that comes with being a native Atlantan. Also, big shouts to our friends who stopped through - Jimmesse, Wayna, Star, Qiana, Candice, George, Bre, Alondeia, and all the folks we met, but I can't remember.
4. The Honey Quotient - First game, Saturday, winning team - so, yes, it was HIGH! Quality and quantity
5. Hawk Shouts - Big ups to Will, Harlee, Johanna, Stacie, Andrea, Kat, Montez, and kudos to the Hawks Dance Team
6. The After Party - And the after scene - first, a trip to Maxim Prime for a quick check out of the bar (which is tight - not looking good for that spot if after having all those folks in the vicinity and a victory that no one is in the bar) and shots...weak ones at that! Then, a quick jetting over to Stats where we ran up on the Hawks After Party. Thanks to Dre (and no thanks to our Hawks staff friends) - we were privy to free food, drinks, great music, watching the rest of the Texas Tech/Texas game, and catching up with the players, the dance team, and friends from high school (shout out to Jill) and Lisa and Adrienne. Just when we thought that would be it - a trip over to the Wine Loft led us to ummm..shall we say - girls and their girlfriends :) Didn't go in, but hey, maybe the next go round.

Final Note - while in the club section, the one thing that did strike us was that a couple said - "
wow, the demographics sure have changed". And part of me wants to be offended b/c first, the club section is very much how I've seen it for the past 2 years and second, ..well, I won't even try to discern any further - all I can say is Yes, We Can. time we will have a president elect and if it doesn't go a certain way - we may have a very hate filled blog, so let's just vote and see how we can make a difference in this world.

Season Prediction

Started at 40-42, but moved to 41-41 and now, we are willing to move to our best case scenario on the year - 43-39. Let's see if we can crack 45 wins. Win at New Orleans and we'll talk.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hawks Undefeated!!!!!!

The Game Recap will be up later tonight. After an exhiliarating Ga. Tech victory over Florida State (take that, Sheree), a beatdown of UGA, a Hawk comeback, and many tasty beverages at the Hawks after party...we need a few hours to get everything together.