Thursday, December 17, 2009

Game Recap - Grizzlies @ Hawks

Preamble Ramble

First, we thank everyone for their comments on the blogs lately - a great departure from last year when NO ONE would comment and now, it's comments almost every day. Seems like success rises all tides. And with that, we were finally back in Philips for a change (had some business issues to attend to for a few weeks) to join the other 5,000 or so who decided to join us. I really need to do a blog on how attendance figures are put together. There's no WAY that 14K walked through the doors last night (and that includes everyone working, playing..etc - there simply weren't 14K living organisms in that building). Good thing for those who did attend - the Hawks didn't need the 6th man to provide any energy in order to dispatch the Grizzlies.

Note: It should be noted that I haven't done a full Game Recap since the Knicks game and we've been going blowout crazy since then, so if we lose to the Jazz. Blame it on HS8T!

Game Recap - Hawks 110, Grizzlies 97

Overall Observations:
  • I'm fairly happy that I can detect when a player is about to take advantage of Bibby or Crawford. Not that it takes much - quick guard with any level of mid-range or layup touch. So, the next lesson for Woodson is to detect that Teague is going to be your best elixir for those guards. No more Tony Parker 40pt, 10 ast nights...
  • How nice of the Grizzlies to give up in the 4th quarter. Not sure I've ever seen a below average team throw in the towel that quickly esp. when those players need as much time on the court together as possible.
  • Wasn't OJ Mayo supposed to be the next something? He looked quite ordinary last night esp. on the defensive end.
  • On the other hand, while not having a great night - Rudy Gay looks like the goods. His game is super smooth.
  • HS8T thanks all of these teams for taking Woodson off the hook in his bench utilization over the past 4 games. Maybe the Utah game will be a better test for the Teague conundrum.
  • We also thank Mo Evans for making the Marvin Williams to the Bench crusade we've waged for two years a much more plausible and do-able endeavor.
  • Sam Young's line in the box score make it look like he was putting in work, but he looked awful while the game was semi-competitive. Fantasy owners should be excited to know that Mr. Young was determined to get some numbers for you.
Str8 Butter Award - In a first, Coach Mike Woodson gets the Str8 Butter Award. Yes, Joe Johnson had a great game, but in a game where we saw an early Randolph Morris sighting in the first quarter and more liberal use of the bench, I will suspend my regular complaints about whether our off/def philosophy are useful in the postseason and simply revel in the fact that he may be ready to embrace the fact that the reserves can be your friend.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* M. Williams - We love the board work, but I hate to say this, but not only do you deserve to be benched, but you really are a smart guy for signing that contract with the Hawks this offseason.
* Josh Smith - While the numbers don't show a dominant performance - save the jump shot temptation that seems to still be in Josh's system, it was on the defensive end early that he wouldn't be having it.
* M. Bibby - Interestingly, Bibby really hasn't been a part of the offensive onslaught that has occurred for the Hawks this year.
* J. Johnson - Joe was on tonight, but it's hard to not be on when there's no defense being played to stop you.
* A. Horford - Double double - 15 shots, yep - I think you're starting to get it Al. When they pass it to you and you are not double teamed, you better shoot because that's the only way you're going to get touches. And the Hawks benefit when you have touches...

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* J. Crawford - As long as Woodson has the hook ready for you - we are more than happy to see you come in with the sole idea of filling the bucket up with shots.
* J. Teague - Probably his worst game of the last 4, but again - when you're playing scrubs in garbage time, it's hard to figure out what we have besides potential. As for the conundrum, it was in effect again. Is it tough love to pull Teague after a TO and foul after a few minutes in the first half or is it a lack of trust for the rookie to learn from his mistakes? I do know that the only person staying in front of Conley or Tinsley was Teague, so I hope he got credit for that on the defensive end. The saga continues...
* M. Evans - Since the Knicks game, Mo has gone crazy. He's done everything to show that 1) he should always be in the rotation (and we agree) and that he can actually play Marvin's role in the offense of spot up shooter and defensive presence at the small forward better than Marvin can. The interesting thing is that if he's going to keep scoring at this clip - he basically trumps my reasoning for moving him to the starting lineup. If he and Crawford can continue to score like this, it's no reason for us to upset the apple cart.
* Joe Smith - DNP
* Z. Pachulia - Point center Zaza Pachulia - is there anything we won't see from Zaza?
* R. Morris - Actually, it was good to see him get some minutes early to determine if he's going to be glued to that bench all season, but it was kinda terrible that he only got 2 minutes to really show anything. We get it Mike - it's what you do with the minutes, but 2 minutes isn't really enough to do anything. Can we agree on that?
* J. Collins - DNP
* Hunter - If we can continue to blow teams out, then I'll retract my point about him being in the D League. Othello needs more court would be great to see Hunter and Morris prove that they can be useful in the NBA and to this team...

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

We've given him a game ball and we've already talked about the minor issue of pulling players too soon (see Teague and Morris), but it's baby steps.

Str8 Talk Love

In our first time back in Philips Arena in a few weeks, some things have changed. First, there were wands, required hat removals, and pat downs unexpectedly at the entrance [Note: the last time this was required was due to a fight in the arena.] Second, there were tickets in a new part of the arena which was fine. The better to watch what was happening on the bench during the game and you know it's rolling when the entire starting 5 is not paying attention to the coach or even the game.

Dance Team/Game Ops update - Now, we have been going pretty hard at the dance team all year, but they managed to pull off the feat of putting on their best and worst performances that I've seen all season in the same game. The worst being the lackluster halftime Christmas performance, but the best being the sublime uptempo (and rumpshaking) ditty to Keri Hilson's 'Turning Me On'. So, there's hope it seems...keep up the good work, ladies.

Shout Outs - Che

Final Notes - 5 game win streak...with the Jazz coming to town - it'll be interesting to see if we can keep pace with the Magic and get ready for a real basketball for a change (and whether that ends the low minutes for our starters and increased trust in our bench).

Season Prediction

Still unsure that we have what it takes to overtake the Orlando Magic, but it's time to increase our expectation for the season...54-28. That's the new benchmark for our fair Hawks!

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