Today, we are going to treat this blog the way the Hawks treated this game. All offense for most of the game and then, some defense to close it out. No old school recap, just thoughts - the game doesn't even merit that much discussion...see our Blog Friends for more detailed analysis.
1. Frontcourt Leadership - There hasn't been a game where we had strong play from Al Horford and Josh Smith with Joe Johnson taking a backseat and the Hawks have lost all season. Now, the reverse ...uh, losses abound. So, the question we ask - does the Hawk coaching staff, management, ownership, etc realize this? Can we play through our big men, please? Bret, don't give up your dream of playing through Al and Josh - it's a recipe for success (just turn your head during the first quarter when Josh is testing his jump shot).
2. Mo Evans Watch - There seems to be some level of mystery in the Hawks Blogsphere about why the Hawks have been able to win every game Mo has started. To Hawk Str8Talk followers, Perry Mason has explained it before, but let's try again. When your players all know their roles and they compliment your team's strengths - success comes with it. Having the most talented team on the floor is not always the recipe for having the BEST team on the floor. We will continue to tout the fact that we believe that our starting 5 right now is the BEST starting five for the team. That shouldn't be confused with it being the most talented 5. Having Marvin play on the court as the 3rd or 4th option is actually a detriment to the team when his game is at its best when he's able to operate as the 1st or 2nd option, so consider us thrilled at the results so far of an absent Marvin Williams - 13-1 with Mo in the starting lineup and 7-0 with Marvin out of the starting lineup. Again, the question we ask - does the Hawk coaching staff, management, ownership, etc realize this? Does ANYONE realize this? We feel like we're the only ones who see this as a good thing - it even has the unfathomable benefits in that Woody is playing the bench as well. So far, no downside is apparent - help us see the light, Bloggers...
3. Bench - We want to move away from our season long rant regarding Acie Law (though for the life of this blog - it is still very, very, very disconcerting that Acie hasn't been able to play for this team until the latter half of the season. We still deserve an explanation for his absence during much of this season. Is there room for another Very?) Now, we will ask the question - is there a chance for us to learn what Thomas Gardner brings to this team? As soon as we reasonably secure the 4th seed, less Joe Johnson (like 30 minutes or less) and more Thomas Gardner should be a goal for this team. Again, we think we see shooting ability, so what's the missing piece here? And if he's not a defensive presence, then an end of half/game scenario where you rotate Gardner/West could be your answer. Anything that removes Josh's free throw shooting and gives us a real 3 pt shooter on the floor when necessary looks like a winner (this is a Marvin-less answer, mind you).
Bonus - Everyone is excited about the Hawks' 40th win. Let us not be counted amongst that number. One of our rants shortly after the new year was that this team, city, and its fans needs to get past the happiness of our continual improvement and focused on winning titles (division/conference/league). As players get better, the team should lose fewer games. So, (Josh Childress' decision notwithstanding) we are unsure why people didn't expect the Hawks to win more games. So, let's continue to beat the drum that the goal is a NBA title. That's it - that's the goal. An Eastern Conference Championship could suffice as significant, but we need to elevate our expectations. As an example, they interviewed Asst. Coach Hill on a telecast two weeks ago and he was very adamant about wanting home court, so they could reach their 'goal' of making the second round.
WHAT?!!!!? Now, pre-homestand, I would have said - that would be an accomplishment (since expectations were significantly damaged by our play in January and February), but now that we're playing again like the October-December Hawks (even without Marvin) - expectations are back on the path that says we should be shooting to win the whole thing. Obviously, the likelihood is not that high, but if we're to believe what Woody has touted as the turning point (the Boston series last year), then shouldn't the Hawks believe that a NBA title is within reach. Whether it's reality is another story, but when the COACHING STAFF says that they think that the second round is the ceiling rather than the floor - that's just not very reassuring. Moreover, it surely won't help sell those 'buy playoff tickets for the whole postseason' packages that are about to go on sale. We'll take first round single game tickets, thank you.
Game Recap - Hawks 119, Kings 97
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