Soon, we'll stop dismissing the long term implications of games where good teams are blown out at home vs. our fair Hawks. To be sure, this game was a message to all teams (not just fair to poor ones) that if they do not come prepared to play - we will blow you out if you don't come to play for even one quarter. That's heady stuff for this Atlanta Hawks team and its fan base, but there were other things to be gleaned from this victory. Wanna hear about it, see below:
Game Recap - Hawks 96, Jazz 83
- There really was one major takeaway should the trend continue. The bench play was not as stellar as it has been throughout the season. As some have opined, the bench only deserves to play when it plays well...my opinion has always been that you can grow the confidence in a team and its bench in the amount of time you are willing to give them when they aren't playing well. The old Woodson would have put the starters back in in the 2nd quarter and possibly in the 4th quarter as the game got a little tighter (relative to the 32 pt lead at one point), but at no point did panic set in. Let's hope the takeaway was that - you can play your bench minutes and live with their mistakes, the same way you live with starter mistakes AND STILL WIN!!! (and win handily).
- At this rate, we might get to the point where we should be concerned about Jamal Crawford's minutes - he's playing so much in garbage time that it's scaring me. Can we please sign another guard to play during all these blowouts? I'd feel a lot more comfortable with a Teague, random guard, Collins, Morris, Hunter lineup in garbage time.
- Have we reached the point where we actually may be able to squeeze some usable minutes from Randolph Morris this season? I am almost comfortable with the thought that he can give us about 2-3 fouls vs. Shaq in the postseason. (Almost)
- Reason #1 you can't take this victory too far - Deron Williams - 2pts; Carlos Boozer - 6 pts
- Reason #2 you can't take this victory too far - This might be the first time Deron Williams and Chris Paul haven't made me hate seeing Marvin Williams on the basketball court.
- What happened to the Paul Millsap that I stumped for during last season and the offseason? Sure, he's backing up a rejuvenated Boozer (how crazy does that adjective sound for Carlos!), but he still has always seem like a force to me and last night, not so much.
- Who said that point guards can't learn something from shot blockers - I wish I could see the 'swat your shot' drill run in practice by Josh Smith because it certainly looks like Jeff Teague is watching it intently.
- Am I the only person watching that game and saying -- so, let's see...emphasis on defense and rebounding, very active team on both ends, running almost exclusively during the biggest runs of the game..yes, we owe a big ol' mea culpa to one...Mr. Billy Knight.
- And to take it a step further...uh, can we just go ahead and start running ALL the time - can't say that anyone looked to be sorry that there weren't any ISO plays run last night!
- 19-6...nuff said!
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* M. Williams - Didn't like what we had to say about you being a member of the second team, huh...well, just remember that most of your first chance buckets came when you were running with the second team
* Josh Smith - Can't be more excited about seeing our most talented player challenge to be our best player...
* M. Bibby - Was that a little bit of defense? Maybe this is the chosen season...
* J. Johnson - Still having problems with shooting from 3pt range, but if 9 and 7 come along with it - we'll live.
* A. Horford - There really isn't a complaint that can be made with Al's game right now - that little jump shot is making it do what it do, baby. And I'd be the guy to make the complaint..
* J. Crawford - We'll simply say - Jamal, you get enough shots in contested games, can you turn off shot at will Jamal in garbage time. The young fellas want to eat too.
* J. Teague - So that folks don't think I'm a homer - this was not Teague's best game. He didn't shoot that well and there were some questionable decisions when running the offense, but that doesn't really matter in a blowout. What does matter is that he stayed on the court and was learning through his play. Now, there's some tape to go over, Woody. Use it and send him back out there tonight esp. when at worst - you got a good defensive effort out of him. That's what you said you want to see, right?
* M. Evans - Of course, I praise you Mo and you go lay an egg. Not only that - you know that garbage time is Maurice Evans shoot 'em up time and yet, you defer to Jamal. Don't DO IT! You still have a starting job to claim, my brother.
* Joe Smith - DNP
* Z. Pachulia - Those might have been the quietest 15 minutes from Zaza we'll see all season.
* R. Morris - Seriously, we are entering into a time when we might be able to project useful postseason minutes. What were the Vegas odds on that this offseason?
* J. Collins - DNP
* Hunter - Well, if the emphasis is getting Hunter minutes and the way we do it is via blowouts...that's all perfect for me.
Straight up as a guy who has railed on Mike Woodson for 2 seasons - I have no complaint with him right now. Not one bit - I'd like to see how adversity changes his coaching, but short of panicking and running back to old bad decision making - I'll say it here - he's doing the best coaching job of any coach in the NBA right now. Not only that - I'll also say very clearly - I was WRONG about our offseason. I was never really enamored of it - though Sessions and Blair would fit this team much better. Well, short of someone coming out and saying that Joe Smith's veteran leadership has more to do with our start to the season, there's something to be said for all the offseason moves and how dangerous the Hawks can be in the postseason.
So, to Sund and Woodson, my apologies...now, don't make me retract it. Let's Go Hawks!!!
Str8 Talk Love
No Love Today!
Dance Team/Game Ops update - N/A
Shout Outs - N/A
Final Notes - 6 game win streak, so let's move to the next test...will we come back to Philips Arena with a winning road record and momentum in time to play the Cleveland Cavaliers....
First place in the division is back in play...but we're going to not take it too far just yet - 54-28! But give us a 3-1 road trip and we'll have to start reconsidering EVERY scenario we thought possible for the Hawks