How good it feels to see the Hawks live in the Highlight Factory. Much has been said about the Hawks since they left town and while we'll talk about some below - some of it melts away when you see your team in the friendly confines of Philips Arena. On a Friday night against one of the stars in the game and the beautiful people brave the elements. And with that, we provide a summary of the prequel to the Big Game this weekend. And to commemorate this big weekend - we bring back the old school game recap.
Game Recap - Hawks 91, Heat 83
Str8 Butter Award - For the first time since the first Chicago Bulls game, we saw ultra good Al Horford. Now, I'm not sure if it's because the Heat's inside game is as soft as buttermilk or if Al has finally started to understand that by seizing it or by design - his game must be strong in order for the Hawks to go anywhere this postseason. Any uptick in good shots by him or Marvin Williams and a reduction in bad shots by Josh Smith is a great thing. So, for the first 20-20 game since Dikembe, you sir get our Str8 Butter Award and we hope many more....
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* Williams - Not one of his best games, but I can't help but get a sense of calm seeing Marvin taking shots outside and increasingly - taking shots inside. He still is a little soft going inside, but has taken my early season rants to heart with regard to FINISHING inside with contact. The Marvin And 1 count has taken off. Now, he still can look awkward, but we'll accept that as the learning curve. Regardless, we believe it's time to start highlighting Billy Knight's biggest draft mistake - drafting Sheldon Williams instead of Brandon Roy vs. the Marvin pick (and I'm still not convinced that it was Billy's call on Marvin in the first place).
* Smith - JSmoove had another uneven performance and it looks like the crowd has finally understood that it's incumbent amongst everyone to discourage anything that Josh does outside of 12 ft (yes, the distance is shrinking) as the boos that cascaded down with Josh's first two jump shots. Now, Josh then did as he is wont to do and decided to show why he's the crazy talented guy that he is - almost everything in the paint he did was sublime. Too bad, almost everything at 20 ft and beyond was abysmal. My biggest wish for the rest of the season is to see a Hawk or a coach to pull his card the next time he does something as ridiculous as shooting a three pointer on the game's first possession. That's worthy of getting cussed out on the court OR simply pulling him from the game.
* Horford - Yes, Yes, Yes! This is what I have been asking for...please continue to shoot the ball whether they give it to you on the block or not. Just let these gentlemen know that you ought to be the 2nd or 3rd option on this team and you won't have it any other way.
* Johnson - A generally good game esp. with a lack of Bibby.
* Bibby - Can I just say this again? Please sit Bibby down until he is fully healthy. Beating the Heat or the Cavs or anyone else is SECONDARY to having a healthy Bibby down the stretch and in the playoffs, so Mike Woodson - forget these meaningless games (yes, having a healthy Bibby is more important than playoff seeding).
* Murray - I think we have all determined that Murray has been a revelation this season. While I still don't see him as a backup point guard, I do see him as able to help run the offense in a pinch and to score the ball when we need a bucket off the bench. And for that, we say thanks. Lord knows that without your contribution - our Acie Law rants would have a sharper edge.
* Pachulia - Zaza vs. O'Neal - ok, Zaza vs. Beasley - not so much...that's the summary of this game.
* Evans - Not sure there was much here to hang our hats on other than - I like seeing Evans on the court when we need defensive stops.
* Law - DNP
* Jones - DNP
* West - DNP
* Morris - DNP
* Gardner - Inactive
* Hunter - Inactive
There's nothing to say here. I think we made it clear how we feel about Woodson (in the midst of giving him praise for the Denver in-game adjustments), so we'll just say - please focus on getting Bibby healthy and use Law to help reduce the guard minutes in anticipation for the playoffs. PLEASE.
Str8 Talk Love
1. The Crowd - It was interesting to see a Friday night crowd with us playing a superstar and not to see an overwhelming crowd of ladies. Then, I recalled the rain throughout the city and all I can say is - women's hair continues to be undefeated. Yes, it was a good night for cheering, but with too many Heat fans in the building - we need to find our playoff cheering rhythm b/c it'll be these same Heat we're likely to see in 2 months. So, let's get ready people.
2. The Overscene - Normally, I don't attend games by myself, but without my normal allotment of tickets - I took on the split personality of watching the game and watching the people. And we must say that - rain aside, it's always a good thing to see what the club level can do to affirm the diversity that is Atlanta. I'd expound on that, but you truly just have to see it to understand.
3. Our experiences - Actually for the first time - no celebrity sightings, no really interesting stories to be told, though I must say that the club level wrist band process has been streamlined to a T. I think I communicated how awful the initial implementation of this club level access was handled. Well, it seems like they went to Georgia Tech and got some engineers to work out the process and now, it's a beautiful thing. Hats off to the Hawks staff...
4. The Honey Quotient - Well, hair savings aside - the game had a bevy of uh...beautiful smiles. Some guys need T & A, I just need pearly whites to keep me in a trance, so while I won't out them on account of the six degrees of separation of my 7.4 loyal readers - just know that you ladies killed it last night...keep flossing and brushing.
5. Hawk Shouts - Finally, shouts to Carthan, Will, Stacie, Harlee, and Andrea. Also, it was great to see my folk - Diarra, Greg, Jimmesse, Terese. And to meet Allen, Shay, Sam, etc among others...
6. The After Party - Well, the real pre-party/after party will be at the LeBron James screening and then another party before the game (ladies/gents - wear this fool out before the game if you can), but it's always cool to get out on a Friday night and into a good vibe, so the trip to Aja was well worth the time. Great music, good vibe, beautiful Asian crowd (mostly). It was a soothing end to a long week and a great Hawks victory.
I've been in a funk regarding the Hawks end of season record and now, I guess I have to believe that we can will ourselves to win 45 games, so here it is - 45-37.
Locked on Hawks Podcast: Opening Night rotation, FiveThirtyEight and more - Episode 59 is here. Enjoy. Good morning, everybody! Episode 59 of the Locked on Hawks podcast is upon us and there is plenty to get to in the world of ...
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