Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hornets @ Hawks - 3/9/09

Preamble Ramble

Apologies for our tardiness, but when working on business deals that can put you back in the business of cash flow unclogged-ness (yes, I made that up) - something must give. That said, when you hear about the latest brainchild from our fellow Hawks fan - I think you'll forgive me. Now, for part 1 of 'Oh, How I Wish We Had Chosen (Fill in the Blank)'...

Before I get to the game recap, three things:

1. Marvin Williams - Let's all send up prayers for Marvin Williams as we look for a positive resolution to his back trouble. Only thought that comes to mind though is - does Marvin's duck booty have anything to do with his condition?

2. Free Throw Shooting - I will keep harping on it until I see change. Our free throw shooting SUCKS. 70% is not gonna cut it.

3. Bench Play - Here's evidence that while you may not have faith that the 2nd team is going to bring great results every night - you MUST use your 2nd team consistently (that means Acie, Solo, and er...Mario (or in my opinion Gardner). How will know whether or not when your regular rotation is not doing well if you can generate production elsewhere? So, we must continue to sound the alarm that says - maybe Woody will actually start coaching down the stretch...too bad it took Marvin getting injured (with no guarantee that if/when Marvin comes back that we won't go back to what we always do).

Game Recap - Hawks 89, Hornets 79

Str8 Butter Award: Acie Law IV

Yep, I've been stumping for him all season and while Joe Johnson finally showed up and snapped out of the slump that's affected him in 2009 (is he really shooting 40% from the field for this year? Uggh!) - I'm giving Law my Str8 Butter award. His defense against Paul and his ability to get in the lane and dish is worthy of my Str8 Butter Award. Of course, it's self serving because we really just want to say - PLAY YOUR BENCH players, but also b/c it highlights my point that Flip is a shooting guard and Acie is a point guard. More on this later...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown

* Evans - Now, the first quarter aside, the first time with my dream lineup went well. Let's see if this injury with Marvin will force Woody to consider playing Evans in the starting lineup and bringing Williams off the bench. Seeing Marvin as the #1 option for the 2nd team with Law, Flip, and Zaza would make me smile.

* Smith - Still a lot of bad shots and bad decisions to pass it to him with the clock dwindling, but having his energy is what i continue to say is key. Having Josh's head in the game despite the jump shots is the key. We've gone over his fluctuating B-ball IQ ad nauseum, so let's focus on the 13 rebounds, interior passing, assists, and blocks. If we can just get him to give up the ball after getting the boards, get his free throw shooting up, and playing hellacious help defense, I'll concede the jump shots (with gritted teeth). I mean how anyone wants to get rid of him when you see him block West's shot and then runs back to get the oop is just beyond me. How many players can do that in this league?

* Horford - A pretty light game for Al - some boards, but Zaza came and provided the energy boost.

* Johnson - Finally, a superstar game from our All Star...had been so long since I felt like Joe was the MAN. Maybe he wanted to show Chris Paul a thing or two, but whatever the motivation - please bring it for the rest of the season.

* Bibby - Bibby didn't bring much this game, but didn't have to. Would have loved to see Acie finish out the 4th quarter. Keeping Bibby fresh esp. on a night when he's not shooting well and can't do anything with Paul says - just sit down and enjoy your backup's production.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* Murray - Flip came out shooting and while he did not shoot well from 2pt range, the 3 pointers made up for it and most were good shots. Let's keep that up and find some chemistry with your 2nd team point guard, Acie Law IV.

* Pachulia - If there's anything this season has proved, last season was an anomaly. Zaza is a very productive NBA player as long as he's a backup. By very productive, we mean - he takes the right shots, is always looking to rebound (esp. on the offensive glass), and provides a toughness that we need more of. More praise for Zaza we say...

* Law - Without reiterating the above, let's just say - good defense, good shot selection, penetration should translate into 15-20 minutes EVERY game as far as I'm concerned. I'm not optimistic it does, but it should.
* Jones - Again, not the most skilled, but as long as energy, shot blocking, and non-foul defense comes in 5-10 minute bursts - we're on board.
* West - DNP. Might as well as not played.
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - DNP
* Hunter - Inactive

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

I have been on a mission to kill the tenure of Mike Woodson. We all know this and on days like this one - the gasoline and the fire hose to douse the fire are all in the same game. The decision to play the bench has been LONG overdue and seeing them be effective against a good team (sans Peja, though) is proof that maybe this would have been a good idea all season long, but then again - maybe Marvin's injury is the reason and we will be back to status quo soon. OR we can believe Mike when he says that he plans to use the bench more down the stretch. Now, this is also what he said last year down the stretch with Acie specifically and ...uh, I can probably count how many minutes he played on my hands, so what Mike says and does are not always in sync. So, let's just hope that this is a sign of things to come where Mike actually coaches based on what he sees before and during the game with an eye on the playoffs and getting our team ready for a post season run.

Str8 Talk Love

1. The Crowd - A great crowd for a Monday night and CP3. Too many New Orleans fans for my tastes, but it was good to see folks excited about the squad. Let's keep it going...

2. The Overscene - No stars seen, but again - it was a Monday.

3. Our experiences - Well, it's always a good day when your bartender gives you free drinks all night. The recession, free tickets, and a smile can go a long way. That and my favorite non-floor seats have to be the seats on row Y in the club section. The sights are always a good look.

4. The Honey Quotient - Well, it was a night with eye candy that is unusual for a week night. And for me to be in a eye candy sandwich was an extra benefit. Thanks to Angie, Star, and Charlie - my night was complete :)

5. Hawk Shouts - Just the regulars...big up! Dennis Scott, Mel, Tino, Paul, Will, Harlee, Stacie, Carthan, and the rest of the gang.

6. The After Party - A Hawks win means - let's see what we can do out in the streets and that we did. Trips to 404 Lounge (what's up Salah?), Pearl (twice - w/ Star and Will..happy b-day, Kelly), and M Bar (grand finale party this Friday...all liquor must go!) made for a fun evening. It's always amazing just how many folks are out in this city after 10pm, but you can't knock the hustle. See you on Wednesday. Hopefully, we will have a victory to celebrate esp. since I hear it's Rick James night at Kat's Cafe. ooo-wee!

Season Prediction

45-37 is where I'm going to stay until we prove something against the Utah Jazz, so if we do that - maybe my fear of a 1st round exit and 6th seed will be less founded in reality. So, prove me wrong Hawks, prove me wrong!!!!

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