Since things have gotten so good, so fast...leave it to this blog to try to do a little level setting on things. While the #1 Fan-dom should never be questioned, the truth is - the excitement over this 7 game homestand needs to be put into its proper context...and with that, we bring back a blog favorite (aka anything that got more than 1 comment - :) ) - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly!!!!
1. The Win Streak - We do agree that a win streak is a win streak. Out of all of the victories - the most impressive one was the Utah Jazz victory. With the way they beat us, we questioned the collective hearts of the Hawks and they showed that an embarrassment would not go unpunished. Let's just hope that that same mentality comes to the forefront when we meet the Magic again (the scene of our most egregious loss of the season - non-Clippers at home category). Side Note - doesn't this home stand solidify that that Clipper loss really was just disgusting?
2. Flip Murray - Some people determined that Flip Murray was a mediocre offseason pickup at best. Well, the Flip Mode Squad has take those thoughts and shoved them right down their throats. While we still would like for Flip to just concentrate on being a cold blooded assassin at shooting guard (we at Hawk Str8Talk like for our players to play to their strengths), we can't front on the spark that Flip provides more often that not. The game against the Mavs stands up as one of the occasions when he shocked the team out of their doldrums and on to a comfortable lead. More Flip as shooting guard....
3. The Mo Evans Experiment lives - Yes, this blog was FIRST to say we wanted Mo Evans in the starting lineup and Marvin on the bench (we're still waiting on the first person to say this is poppycock publicly. Either that or just an acknowledgment that this thought is/was the reason more people don't read this blog) as our attempt to have this team reach its maximum potential and well, the experiment's win column stands at 14-1 as a starter and 10-0 without Marvin at all. We'll continue to say that we still want Marvin back despite the undefeated string, but we do want serious consideration to be made regarding Evans as a starter. This by itself could make us reconsider whether or not Woodson is a viable candidate as the future coach of this team.
4. Home Court Advantage - There always is a built in home court advantage for teams. For the Hawks that normally resulted in familiarity, sleeping at home, and some fan support. That did not normally include any assistance from the referees UNTIL last night. The Mavericks had a right to be upset - we certainly benefited from a ton of no-calls. It felt like the referees finally got around to watching the Hawks/Cavs game from a few weeks ago and said - we gotta make up for that one (Note: They could have waited until Saturday in Cleveland for the make up). So, while Joe Johnson continues to be the most fouled/no called player in the league, there definitely was a home court advantage in the building and there need be no apology to be made. Years of disrespect from the refs in our building are still lingering.
1. Injuries - Dallas was really hobbled yesterday. Missing a few starters and not really looking like the Mavs of old. Hence, let's not get too excited about the game. We were fortunate throughout the home stand to be playing teams that were also shorthanded. Maybe it's a bad idea, but the thought of playing teams (and winning) at full strength makes me smile.
2. Point Forward Syndrome - There are a few players who can play point forward. LeBron, Prince, Diaw to name a few, but one of those guys isn't named Josh Smith. One thing in Josh's character (and we can't figure out why the coaching staff can't break him of this) is that Josh needs to try everything during the first half to see if it's in his repertoire for that game. So, he's going to shoot some jumpers (though he's stopped shooting 3s - thankfully) and he's going to try to take it coast to coast. The Mavs game is a perfect example - after one coast to coast run that went for 2, he decided to take that as license to try it 3 more times - two with the predictable little guy strips big guy who can't dribble like Magic result. Even the crowd buzz was geared toward - GIVE UP THE BALL and let him throw you an oop. What's so hard about that...it's so bad that the guards don't even go GET the ball from Josh. Don't they teach point guards to go GET the ball from your forwards and centers anymore...Anyway, point being - Josh stop dribbling the ball upcourt. Unless you steal the ball for a breakaway, find a point guard, so he can get an assist TO YOU!!!! If that doesn't happen, Woody - you can act like a coach and pull his a*& from the game until your point is crystal clear.
1. Acie Law IV - We tried not to say much more during this win streak about Acie esp. after thinking that the corner had been turned with regards to regular 10 minute stints for Acie down the stretch...and in the infamous words of Charlie Murphy in the classic Rick James sketch on Chappelle Show. WRONG! Nope, Mike Woodson is the habitual line stepper we thought he was. We didn't understand why Bibby who was giving us very little offensively or defensively in the first quarter was still in the game, so it was as puzzling to see what happened in 1 min and 20 seconds of time in the 2nd quarter that necessitated Mario West to come and replace the backup point guard, who then proceeded to play 5 minutes. Now, what was even MORE puzzling (and by puzzling, no one else seems to have seen this or has reported on it - so if this was mentioned during the telecast, please let us know) - Acie Law was NOT on the bench in the 2nd half. Now, we're hoping this isn't another player/coach blowup and we hope this wasn't an injury situation, but shouldn't someone be on top of this stuff. Regardless, we can only hope Woody understands that it's time to dial back the lineup once this 4th seed is locked up (and that's about 5-7 games away) and that Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby need some rest. Period. Let the boy play (and it's painful to say this) as much as Mario West, ok?
Hawk Prediction - If we win against the Cavs, we might be tempted to say a 50 win season is in reach, but we're going to keep with our thought that 47-35 is about as good as it gets.
Video: L.A. Defenders vs Bakersfield Jam - Dennis Schröder will make his NBA D-League debut Friday night when the Bakersfield Jam host the L.A. Defenders.
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