It's fitting that during a weekend where my Dolphins lost and the Falcons lost (a mixed bag to me), that the symmetry would lead itself to 2 Hawks games were they both are won on big end of game 3 pters. I won't harp on it since we won, but I do want to say - Josh, you have to get at least 6 rebounds each game - doesn't matter if they are big boards or not, just get 'em. Joe, if you ever get ripped on back to back plays with the game on the line - you promise to go to Mike Woodson and tell him that you refuse to do the 4th Quarter Joe Johnson figure something out in the clutch offense no matter what is called in the huddle for the remainder of the season. Ok, now to some analysis...
Game Recap: Nets 93, Hawks 91
Game Recap: Hawks 103, Rockets 100
Best Thing About This Back To Back: Acie and Solo's return to the basketball court. Now, I know that some bloggers disagree on Solo's usefulness and I certainly don't believe him to be the lynchpin to a title run, but I do see his involvement in the rotation as a critical indicator in Coach Woodson's ability to trust and develop a team while still winning games during a season. Coach Woodson must transition from 'win each game at all costs' to 'developing a team capable of a run' and part of that means you can't burn out your main players simply to get to the playoffs. We will make the playoffs. Players need rest, players need roles, and now's the time to prepare for that time.
Best Thing, Part 2 - To see us die by the sword, and then win by the sword. Awesome.
Worst Thing About the Games - While we should have put a foot on the Nets' throat, it was on the road. We aren't so far removed that we can't lose a 20pt lead, just like the Rockets and Mavs did against us in the Texas Road Trip of Death, so that's not the tragedy. The tragedy is not guarding Vince at all on the shot. Clearly, we shouldn't have even been UP at that point, so to not put a hand up just defies logic. That said, it was an impressive shot and comeback. Let's just hope we don't have to play them in the playoffs.
Worst Thing About the Games, Part 2 - Well, with no McGrady, no Artest, and no Williams - it shaped up to be a B league game and it had that feel. While watching the game from the Heineken suite - where we got no free Heines (booooo!), it was awesome to see Josh playing like a $58M man and Joe dishing like he's Chris Paul. That said, we still haven't figured out how to get back the Al Horford - we know and love and we DON'T know how to let effective players stay on the court. If Zaza and Acie are playing effectively, can we ride the wave, please? Again, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it's certainly wrenching to get affirmation that a player can be more useful than another (read: Zaza instead of Al) or that another is out to prove he deserves minutes (read: Acie) and see him not get enough.
Str8Talk Complaint of the Week: This departs from talking about the Hawks gameplay and to lob the complaint that is going to be sent to the Hawks staff. During the Cavs or Celtics game (I'll have to go back to figure out which one), I commented on a fight that occurred in the club section. As I was told (and partially saw), two big gentlemen ended up in a fight where they toppled and destroyed the dessert table. Now, it is ridiculous that grown men are fighting at a basketball game, but in a place where alcohol is served and diverse individuals connect - sh*& happens. Being that I've been going to Hawks games since I was 10 and I've never seen a fight before at a Hawks game, I'm going to make the assumption that we can expect our next fight in 2030. Which leads me to the Hawks organization...we've found three things that have occurred since this fight -
1. No more dessert table, which certainly is a negative. Cakes, brownies, coffee, and hot chocolate were served there and it would be nice to have them back.
2. Lanes were created. Listen, no one needs lanes for people to walk through - everyone makes it around pretty fine and it just gets in the way. I know they want to keep traffic moving, but a few ushers could do the trick it would seem.
3. And this is really the reason for the complaint - they decided to have everyone who was in the club section show their marked ticket AND a wrist band. The old method was either nothing at all or a handstamp when you left the club section. Obviously, I know that you can skirt either of the previous methods of entry into the club section. It is very easy to do and I respect the Hawks organization wanting to keep the club section devoid of anyone who isn't allowed into the club section, but any idea that has a line from the club section to sec. 112 to implement is a bad idea. Not only are fans missing the game, the wristband marker is just tacky. Particularly, when many of the fans are not leaving the club section until the game is over. I won't make an attempt here to provide alternate solutions, but I will say that this is an overreaction to ONE fight.
Now, I've heard that there are some complaints about the dynamics changing in the club section (i.e. there are more African Americans that we are accustomed to) and I will simply say - this is Atlanta. African Americans in this market can afford to buy seats in the club section and so - the dynamics aren't changing. Atlanta has been a mecca for African Americans for a few decades and in all my time as a Hawks fan - I've always seen the diversity of Atlanta in those stands. The same would and should be the case in the club, suites, and in the other areas of the arena. Please believe it. And with that, I'm off my soapbox....
We're 22-11 and still trending toward 51-31. So, we'll stick with it. Let's get ready for the Magic home and home - which will go a long way toward a Southeast Division Title.