Let me start with a few comments from the post-game interview with Joe Johnson. Joe made it clear that wins and losses will not drive the positive/negative vibe we've become accustomed to (i.e. we won - so the team was hustling, had energy, played well or we lost - so the team was awful, no defense, no passing, etc). While people have been a little confused by the outspokeness from Joe, we applaud it. Nothing makes me feel warm feelings more than a leader not being swayed by the result and simply using each game to highlight what will make us better. To be specific, he was CLEAR about the fact that even in a 25 pt victory over a top level team at home, there was room for improvement and stated the obvious in saying that "if we make jump shots, we are tough to beat, but that's true for most teams. The true test of the Hawks mettle resides in how well we compete when the shots aren't falling" (mimicing a longstanding Hawk Str8Talk talking point).
Sorry, but a game where we win by 25 pts over a good Nuggets team when both teams were coming off back-to-backs and the leader of the team says 'hey, we need to get better and improve, the defense still needs word' and is still steaming over the loss the night before - well, that sounds like PROGRESS!!! And then, we had the first half vs. the Knicks...(I'll let the recap speak from now on)
Game Recap - Hawks 114, Kings 101
- Toney Douglas sure looks like a player. Looks like if you wanted a guard - the 2009 draft was where to find one with the way Jennings, Flynn, Lawson, Evans, & Douglas have performed early this season. With all the gushing in Atlanta over Teague, we wonder who will turn out to be the star (Rubio, maybe?)
- Looks like without saying so - other bloggers are starting to make my argument even stronger for making Marvin Williams a super sub. We're 4 years in and I'm still not sure Marvin is suited for the role he must assume in our starting lineup with our offensive scheme and that's - SPOT UP SHOOTER, GARBAGE MAN! There's just not enough shots in the starting lineup for Marvin to look comfortable and consistent in his production. By the time, you know if Osh, Al, Joe, and Bibby are off and that we need Marvin - Jamal or someone else will be shooting the ball and working on ways to win us a basketball game.
- Part 2 of this is - Maurice Evans REVELS in the garbage dunk, spot up 3 game that makes our starting lineup a lot more balanced. If you want more evidence of this, please see the Knicks game when Evans was playing with the starters.
- There were 13 games played in the league last night. Out of those 130 players that started for teams about 13 played 40 minutes or more. Of those players, 8 of them are franchise players. Of those 13, only 1 team had more than 1 player assuming that many minutes EXCEPT 1 - the Hawks playing 3 guys 40+ minutes to defeat...the KNICKS! Just sayin'
- On a bright note, we outrebounded the Knicks (which we should) and we were good at shooting free throws. Last year, these were areas that I thought were under reported (well, the free throw shooting at least) and I want to give credit to the Hawks for getting better at the charity stripe - if Osh Smith is the only person dragging that stat down - I can live with that.
- Gonna keep saying it, but I don't like the handling of the minutes when Zaza, Teague, and Joe Smith don't play especially against a BAD Knicks team.
- Another team pet peeve - why can't we let the guards bring up the ball? Hey, that's a beat writer question I want answered ASAP.
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* M. Williams - I'll let my blogger brethren tell you why they aren't worried or that he's in a slump. I'll continue to just say - he'll continue to be inconsistent as long as he's the 5th option in the offense and that's essentially what he is
* Osh Smith - Can't say much more about Osh other than - a non-jump shooting Osh Smith is really a dominant force on a basketball court...any time we can get him on the boards - this team can be great.
* M. Bibby - A Bibby that distributes the basketball and makes open shots is a Bibby that shuts up our desire to have Ramon Sessions. A Bibby that plays defense is a Bibby that makes us say sit Teague for the rest of the season. File that.
* J. Johnson - While it's getting a little old to see Joe struggle in the first half, it can't be said that Joe doesn't figure out how to adjust in the 2nd half and let's use that as a metaphor for the season - struggle in the first 41 games, but explode in the second half and playoffs.
* A. Horford - Another dominant performance and if I'm taking the Joe Johnson leadership method on this, it's not really worth getting too excited about - it's the 4th time we've ever seen it AND it was the Knicks who have exactly zero options on the inside. We should be upset that he wasn't the focal point from the start of the game, frankly.
* J. Crawford - Welcome back to New York! Where was the 50pt game at, bro?
* M. Evans - We've said it above - simply a great glue performance.
* Joe Smith - garbage minutes?
* Z. Pachulia - 5 minutes?
* J. Teague - garbage minutes? Again, I'll simply say - the guy can't learn the game from the bench and it's games like this when you let him learn because, in all likelihood, we're going to win no matter what mistakes he makes. His minutes in the past 5 games - 0, 5, 20, 16, 2! Yep, I'm sure he knows his role and is going to be ready for every game with minutes like this.
* R. Morris - garbage minutes he should be happy with
* J. Collins - DNP
* Hunter - Inactive
Why we would struggle with a Knicks team after 4 days is beyond me? Why Zaza, Joe Smith, and Jeff Teague didn't get a chance to change the dynamic of the game in the first half or to pile on in the second half is beyond me? So, yes - it's a win, but we're supposed to beat the Knicks. They suck. Period. Let my distress over our coaching continue...
Str8 Talk Love
Thank goodness - I determined that it was better to celebrate with free drinks last night than sitting at home and watching the game. Thanks Judgment & Thanks DVR!
Dance Team/Game Ops update - N/A
Shout Outs - N/A
Final Notes - the Knicks really are bad - no way they get LeBron!
Still of the belief that 49-33 is our destiny...let's get a win in Boston tomorrow!