Thursday, January 8, 2009

Magic @ Hawks - 1/7/09

I think I've gotten to the point where I like to enumerate my points about the Hawks vs. my Game Recap template, but never fear - change is always the name of the game, so I'll go old school on Friday (note: can you go old school on a blog that is only 4 months old?)

Ok, here we go - the Hawks lost last night 106-102. I've read a few things and well, I don't think these folks are articulating it properly, so let me say it clearly. That was the WORST GAME WE'VE played all year. Now to the points on how I have come to this conclusion...

  1. I should have known it was going to be a bad night when our most consistent Hawk - Zaza Pachulia - was ill for the game. Leave it to Zaza to get some boards, make some energy plays, and foul Superman to death. Not to mention - Acie Law being MIA on a night when we were short handed (not that he was going to play, but I think having him on the bench would have been a less ominous sign).
  2. I should have known it was going to be a bad night when I'm sitting in a seat outside of the Club Level. Now, this was my fault since I got my ticket situation together late and therefore, I had a great seat, but was yelling from a different vantage point - I think my voice only matters in front of the team, not from behind.
  3. I should have known it was going to be a bad night b/c we couldn't make a free throw. To lend perspective, I've been able to make 7 of 10 free throws since I was 12. I've never been on a high school, AAU, college team. Simply intramurals, youth league, and playground. I can't for the life of me understand less than 75% for anyone under 6 ft 10 (for some reason that's the height where foul shooting goes to die).
  4. I should have known it was going to be a bad night b/c it's 2009, not 2008. I keep telling people that I lived a charmed life in 2008. I'm not sure what it was about going from 1999 to 2000, but since then every team I cheer for has taken a mighty fall from grace - the Hawks, the Dolphins, the Fighting Irish, the Hoosiers, the Yellow Jackets (save some college basketball flashes), but in 2008 - it was the inverse...college b-ball sucked, but the Hawks shined, the Dolphins shined, the Yellow Jackets shined in football...etc then 2009 hit, Hawks molly wooped, Dolphins start making turnovers, and on New Year's Eve - they felt like it was 2009 already and just gave up the nappy in the 2nd quarter. Point being...I'm ready for 2008 to come back.
  5. I knew it would be a bad night when I saw the crowd size for this SE division clash.
  6. The only thing that I can say was awesome was the quality of the ladies. When I say that there were some certifiable stunners in the crowd - I do not exaggerate. Not quantity, but absolute quality - I think it was probably the best per capita I've seen all year. And to that I say - Hawks you MUST KEEP WINNING!!!!!! My heart (and eyes) are depending on you guys.
Ok, enough of this rant and on to the astute analysis...no, Mike's layup wasn't the reason we lost, but damn...we've been clutch in the 4th quarter all season, so NOW we can't hit an open layup. The defender even gave up on it, so it wasn't even breathing that made that a miss. Anyway, let's stop with the defense and energy crap in the 4th quarter. We were still executing poorly in the 4th quarter as well. So, what's the reason for the comeback...the MAGIC SUCKED even worse in the 4th quarter. I'm channeling Peachtree Hoops when I say this, but if your team is playing below average, but the other team is playing absymal - you probably will make up ground. If anything, this game was a metaphor for the 2007 Hawks. Play poorly, no energy, miss free throws, etc then show that we actually have some kind of talent and get close, then look back and say - why didn't we play better, defend better, play with fire, do better with the strategy, rotation, etc. AFTER the freakin' game.

See, here's what baffles me - if you know 10 minutes after the game, that you aren't playing with energy, aren't focused, etc - why can't you see that DURING the game? I mean - I know I said wake up to the Hawks about 5 times in the first quarter, so during the post game - shouldn't someone be real and just say - look, this was a big game. The Magic called us out and said they were going to jump on us in the first quarter, which they did. And I punched Josh in the chest, hit Marvin, smacked Mike, yelled at Al within the first oh...8 minutes and said - let's get it going fellas. I didn't see any chalkboards break, no yelling, no nothing to let me know that they UNDERSTOOD that they were not ready to play ON THREE DAYS REST.

This is the leadership we're lacking. I'm positive that Michael Jordan would have said during, at halftime, etc ..hey, this is the best team in our division, they lead our division, we are at home - we are NOT going to be embarrassed. The crowd is sparse, dead, waiting to see what we're going to do - and someone is going to play hard. I will bust a Magic guard in the head to get some fire, I will drop kick you Al and Josh if I see JJ Redick score anything inside of 23 feet again. Now, maybe those things are happening and it's not proper NBA etiquette to air that dirty laundry, but dammit - someone send me an anonymous note b/c I promise you - I saw the 2007-2008 (and all the years before) Hawks last night. Those other losses - it was other reasons, but last night - we didn't come to play and we only got close b/c the OTHER team played even worse than we did. We shot as many terrible shots in the 4th as we did in the other 3 quarters, so save the 'we played with energy and defense' crap. We were outplayed, outcoached, out energyed yesterday and it made me sick.

Uh, I think I got it all out...now, I will NOT do a season prediction update b/c I'm fearful that by doing so - I'll over-exaggerate how badly I think we played and our future as a result, so I'll wait until Friday to see if we respond and if Zaza being out caused this to be a blip or something that could sustain itself. Sorry for the length, folks, but just be glad that I didn't send anything out last night.

Final Note: Look for our first live blog during Hawks Blog Night in a few weeks. It'll be my first time being able to hopefully knock heads with Bret, Jason, Drew, Coco, and the rest of the merry band of Hawks fans/bloggers. Can't wait to see how we make love, not war over our fair Hawks. :)

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