There have been many who have asked why we didn't post a recap on Sunday or Monday. Well, there's a really good reason. We didn't really have the words to express what we saw...now, it's been well established that my #1 FAN-ness is a little different than your average #1 fan. Most #1 fans just want the positive result regardless of how it transpires and who it is transpired against. So, let's be clear - we love the fact that the Hawks are playing the Cavs in the 2nd round of the 2009 playoffs. That said, we are still having a hard time getting excited about going to 7 games against a really average, borderline bad team with one absolutely awesome player. With that said, let's get to the game recap in enumerated fashion:
Game Recap - Hawks 91, Heat 78
1. Joe Johnson shooting and making shots off ball movement and screens. Shoot, Joe Johnson coming to play in any form and showing a little emotion was fantastic.
2. Any Hawk making shots off transition, ball movement, and in the post. We actually looked like we had an offensive philosophy for a few quarters.
3. Jon Barry being honest about how he feels about what he thinks will happen with the Hawks vs. Cavs (Note: I felt that way too until he said it, now I feel we'll get a game on sheer pissitivity that we're being doubted :) ).
4. Coach Woodson using timeouts to stop momentum, even when up 19. Made me proud.
5. Hawks fans being loud and engaged for an entire game despite the fact that it was a terrible game to watch.
6. Not caring about anyone on the defensive end except D Wade.
Me No Likeys:
1. The hypocrisy of liking Joe shooting off the dribble from 30 ft, after shooting one from 28ft when he's 1 for 6. Listen, I'm glad he made it (and mad the foul wasn't called or even mentioned), but that is bad offense. Sorry guys, but this is Str8 Talk. If that's anyone else on the team and every blogger and writer would be going crazy. So, either we accept Josh w/ energy and his flaws or we don't b/c the praise for a bad shot doesn't bode well. I want my All Star to at least be on fire before he takes shots like that with 8 seconds on the shot clock.
2. Speaking of which, not Josh's best game, but as we always say - Josh with energy is all you want. With energy, we will always be content with what he brings to the table. ALWAYS!!! At this stage, for good or bad, Josh and Al are our emotional leaders. You'd hope it would be Bibby or Johnson, but that's not who they are, so we'll go as far as their play and leadership takes us.
3. We have no quibble with much of Coach Woodson's in-game strategy during this series (partially b/c there wasn't much need for in-game strategy during these games), but we do want to mention a couple of things starting with a THANK YOU BIBBY!!! While I agree with Woody's sentiments in the micro sense regarding passing to Josh Smith, you are DEAD ON in the macro sense - why the FREAK is the offense designed to have him out there anyway? Zaza and Al seem to not be out there, so why would anyone else who can't make those shots be there either. THANKS, BIBBY for providing the most clear form of Str8 Talk you can get!
4. Also, after listening to Coach Woodson's post-game comments and his interview with 790 The Zone, I think I finally am able to put my finger on my lack of confidence in Coach Woodson...he's not a truth teller. As a professional athlete (or any kind of business), you can only respect the truth. When you don't work in truth, it's hard to know how to trust someone. The question was asked of Woodson regarding Joe Johnson's struggles in the series - his answer: "that Joe hasn't struggled" and then went on a rant about how big he's been for the franchise and other ramble-speak that wasn't the question and ended with the whole Celtics taught us how to play playoff basketball....Well, this undermines you as a coach with us and I'd assume with some players if you can't tell the truth, Coach. Here's the truth - just b/c you are the coach (in fact, we'd expect you to be MORE in tune with this fact) doesn't mean that everyone else is blind to the facts and that's that Joe was struggling. Passes out of bounds, missed open shots, lack of energy, lack of defensive presence - that's not the Joe I've watched for 4 years, so don't insult my intelligence by saying he played well in the series. He played well in Game 7 after the first quarter and played ok in 2 games and played poorly in the rest of the games. How could he play well in 3 games that we got blown out in. How is that possible? Those weren't Ray Allen for 51 and we lost perfomances. Not only that - we hate to go all Bret on you, but STOP with the 2008 Playoffs taught us something rant. Now, I normally didn't agree with Hoopinion's take on the 2008 Playoffs, but this series validates everything that was said about that series. We don't look like we learned ANYTHING from last season's playoffs. Erratic, up & down, no consistency, etc. At our best - we can play with anyone. At our worst, we can get blown out by mediocre teams. So, what did we learn?
5. Final rant - let's call an end to the 'we played all season for a Game 7'. We SHOULD NOT be playing for a Game 7 - we should be playing for a championship. I haven't heard any other coach so gleeful to discuss the fact that we have home court advantage in a series. Yes, it's a good thing. No, it's not worth talking about with glee as if good teams can't beat you at home. We should be trying to win everywhere. What kind of message does it send when you DON'T have home court or if you lose home court? As you saw from Popovich and Rivers, this season - they said that they would sacrifice position (and home court) to get healthy. The point being - we don't want to screw the pooch just to get an advantage in one game. The point is to win EVERY game. Period. We should come to play in every game. As far as I'm concerned, in your Hawks Playoff Coaching life - you're 7-7, but those 7 losses were all whoopings. That's what you should be saying to your team - that we can't win 'em all, but we should be competing in all of them. I'd accept your commentary Coach Woodson, but nothing in this playoff season shows that what you're saying is true. We still don't play hard in each game. Don't let a playoff victory against a bad team change the fact that we still have some growing to do. Actually, as long as Josh and Al are your leaders - you should expect and SAY that we'll have ups and downs b/c they are too young for us to count on their consistency.
Now, all my complaining aside, let me be clear - we're thrilled to be in the second round. We'll be more thrilled if we can win 2 games vs. the Cavs. That might make me re-assess the thought that the coaching staff needs to be revamped. So, prove me wrong, Woody. PLEASE!!!!
Ok, here's the prediction - as we stand, Cavs in 5! If Marvin plays, Cavs in 6! Let's Go Hawks!
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