Disclaimer: Nothing in this post should be taken to the bank because nothing you see in the preseason is real, so please just take that what we saw means nothing right now. And away...we go!
Before I do the game recap notes (can't do a full fledged game recap for this 'game') - let me say that this was in ALL my years of watching Hawks basketball years live...the first time I have been to a NBA preseason game. Now, if it weren't for my duty as a Hawks blogger to report on these things (next up, going to an open practice - big joy!), I would never do that again. The things I liked about the game were:
1. That the best parking area at Philips Arena was still there and still at recession friendly prices
2. That the will call setup is still intact and functions well.
3. That the crowd and ladies still are coming to the game wearing noteworthy outfits.
4. That everyone wants to live-tweet the games. Too many folks were itching to get out their tweets yesterday...interferes with the game tweet/blogging while trying to be the most insightful tweeter. We should all just take a position and tweet on that stuff. I nominate myself as the guy who comments on the dance team, in-game promotions, celeb sightings, and hot chick/clothing ensembles. Next...
Game Recap - Hawks 108, Hornet 102
Normally, I'd be giving out Str8 Butter Awards, Kudos, & Smackdowns, some Love/Hate & yes...a season prediction. Well, it's too early for all of that, so I will simply give you some notes from the game.
1. I'd like to say that overall there's not a single thing I take seriously from this game because the Hornets did not play in yesterday's game. Save Chris Paul - there wasn't a soul on that team that seriously looked like they came to play, which is understandable for the people who've made the team, but NOT for those looking for a spot in the rotation or on the team. Now, I don't know their contract situation in New Orleans, but if someone is fighting for a spot on that squad - I hope they were injured yesterday b/c I didn't see one iota of effort on that court. NONE!!!!
2. Forget the score - it wasn't close and it wasn't fun to watch.
3. Likes - Othello was working hard on the boards, seeing guards penetrating and dishing (somewhere Acie Law is putting pins in a Woodson doll), seeing that the Joe Johnson-Jsoh Smith alley oop is still in the playbook
4. Observations - You have to have more chairs on the bench for players since we haven't gotten to cutdowns yet. Those were some long benches. Also, I'm not sure if I saw any focus on Horford's low post game. Between him and Josh - seeing them on the blocks in the preseason would be nice at every juncture vs. more of the Joe Johnson iso (which looked to be in early season form, which means he's awesome before Woodson runs him into the ground by midseason). Finally, there were some beautiful ladies in the stands.
5. Dislikes - Everything was streamlined...the menus at the concession stands, the # of bars, the dance routines (though it WAS preseason - what must go was one young lady's Cappie Pondexter hairstyle (Google it!)), and minutes for the players (wait, put that minutes thing in the likes category)
6. I'd also like to see evidence of this tenacious defense that Sekou told he was seeing in practice.
7. Final Thought - let's just reserve a little judgment on Jeff Teague. Listen, no one wants to see Teague be successful for this team as point guard more than me. After the hose job done to Law, I'm still going to reserve judgment as to whether he even gets a full season in the rotation, but before folks start calling for Teague to be in the starting lineup - let's just put it in perspective..he played well, took the ball to the basket, dished, etc - all the things you want in a point guard, but that was mostly with the second team AND it was mostly against a team that didn't give a rat's ass about playing basketball.
1. Crawford Trade is still not a winner to me until I see him perform better than Flip did last year and Ramon Sessions ends up sucking and DeJuan Blair isn't the next coming of Charles Barkley as a rebounder AND Acie Law doesn't become the equal of Jeff Teague in the rotation for the Warriors. Until all of that happens - let's quit saying it's a slam dunk for the Hawks. I want it to be, but it wouldn't be Str8Talk if we didn't set some parameters for fawning over a player who still hasn't done anything for this team.
2. Last note - I love Sekou Smith and think he's one of the best in the business, but I think he misses an opportunity to be honest when he mentions Mario West's energy without mentioning that Mario West is pretty awful when it comes to doing anything else basketball related. Smith doesn't have to put him under the bus, but if you're going to write about a preseason game and tout something - tout that he's great to root for, but the talent level has far surpassed our need for Mario West. I love Mario West as a GT alum who made himself into a bench filler in the NBA. It's very inspiring, but if the Hawks want to be taken seriously by me as a contender. He can't make this team, much less play any minutes this year. There was nothing that I saw in his time on the offensive side of the ball that can be made up for by his energy or defensive talents (i.e. he's not lights out enough on the defensive end to just go 4 on 5 on the other end). So, I'd love to see him get another chance on another NBA team or to see him start and develop an offensive game & lights out defense in the NBDL or overseas, but it just would be a shame to see someone who could possibly help us fill out our bench with a specialty talent like Juan Dixon (shooting) or Siler (space eater) or whatever left off the team because of an affinity for Mario's story and energy. Two years is enough...and I say that with love (oh, and with the fact that I started this with a disclaimer.)
Hawks vs Raptors final score: Defense struggles as Atlanta falls to Toronto, 126-115 - The Atlanta Hawks played quite well offensively against a top-tier team in the Toronto Raptors, but the defense was lacking in route to a 126-115 defeat...
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