Perspective – The Atlanta Hawks are 46-25. Just marinate on that for a minute. Yep, we have to always come back to reality during these heady times. While these heady times probably will result in a 2nd round loss to the Magic or Cavaliers, games like these are just fun for all the right and wrong reasons. Wrong because it gives a gloss over all the things we did wrong and yet still won (i.e. a Josh Smith jump shot in the closing minutes only confirms that there will be more of them…go back and check the highlights as he gave the hand to Mike Woodson as if to say ‘calm down, I knew I’d make it and so you need to just trust my jump shot in those situations, praise be to Allah’) and oh so right as I saw something that seriously, truly made my eyes water up and that’s watching a completely FULL Philips Arena Team Gear store ..wait for it – AFTER THE GAME on last night. Let me repeat this – there were probably 100 people inside the Philips Arena Team Gear store buying Hawks apparel after the game. Now, unless there was some secret sale or giveaway that I was unaware of, my approximately 300 or so games seen in Philips Arena has never seen that. And with that, it’s time for a full old school HawkStr8Talk game recap.
Game Recap - Hawks 86, Magic 84
- Peachtree Hoops 4, HawkStr8Talk 8…yes, that’s my count so far for how many games I think the Hawks could have done the same or better while playing young Teague. While our blog war is over, I’ll concede that tonight was a night when you probably wanted Bibby playing AND he provided some back up to that cause (well, on the offensive end at least), though I will submit that Teague’s one assist was the slickest pass of the entire game. Oh to get more than 5 minutes (or even a 2nd half minute). Oh, if we weren’t clear – it was PH3, HS8T 8 prior to this game.
- Mo Evans & the rest of the merry band of bench players came to play. Mo got 20 minutes and Mo made a great contribution on both ends. I’m sure Hoopinion would agree with me on this – Mo Evans (off & def) >>>>>> Mario West (def).
- Maybe it was me, but I was wondering why the players who didn’t play, didn’t play (hello Joe Smith’s 6 fouls, hello Jason Collins’ 6 fouls) – Ryan Anderson and Anthony Johnson both had their way with us last time. I guess we’re not the only team that wonders about our rotation.
- Honestly, I’m not sure why you even play Mario West cold. His use throughout the season has flummoxed me because we let Othello Hunter go (rightly) and didn’t just leave the spot open for us to sign any of the many veterans who could help us on either end. While no fan of Larry Hughes, Michael Finley, etc – I do know that they would provide us infinitely more value in the regular and post seasons than Mario West. It’s really sad that our only in-season change to the roster is Mario West. I’ll simply repeat – West getting minutes for our team really speaks volumes to me about our ability to be title contenders.
- Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson – 9 for 31. I won’t even belabor the point, but I do think it’s fun to determine whether or not from 35 ft out whether or not one of our players is shooting. Last night, I was 7 for 8 in predicting who would take the shot. Not that this is rocket science, but to the untrained eye (i.e. the person I went with) I look soothsayer like.
- Ok, I’ve finally gone long enough without talking about the play. I don’t take liberties like this normally, but I honestly saw the play before it happened. I was saying to myself – there’s nobody in front of Josh and that ball. It probably sucks that I already knew that Joe’s shot was not going to fall.
- In my ongoing theme of the Hawks season as a slightly improved version of last season, it should be noted that Josh Smith has begun his late season ‘my jump shot is better, though no statistical measure shows it’ swoon. I have to keep saying this – I LOVE Josh Smith. Flaws and all, but now – it’s just become a drama within the game to see when he’ll really let the light go on. He’s proven that he’s forcing himself to continue to think that he has a jump shot, but was using good judgment not to shoot it. Unfortunately, the hammer must be put to that particle in his brain that connects to the reality that he will simply be better if he never, ever, ever shoots outside of 10 ft unless he’s at the line OR in Tim Duncan fashion – it’s 2 seconds on the clock, we’re down 3, a Conference title is on the line, and he winds up with the ball. THEN and ONLY THEN should you shoot a jump shot Josh.
- Can I repeat again how good the bench looked even without Joe Smith and Jason Collins? Like, did we see how Teague did nothing to show that he shouldn’t be on the floor? I know I said I’d let this go, but I just wonder if he played in the 4th quarter if he could have scored a field goal. Just one…
- And to think after 6 minutes, I thought we were about to get punked in our own building AGAIN!!!!
Str8 Butter Award – Maurice Evans – you get my baller award, homie. Big shots to get us back in the game…
Starter Kudos/Smackdown -
* M. Bibby – Bibby!!!! I’ve been on you hard, but you showed and proved. Thank you for that – now, if you can just wrestle the ball from Joe and Jamal to be our point guard – I see great things for this team.
* J. Johnson – Not gonna say anything bad – the guy hit his free throws
* A. Horford – It’s interesting how Dwight Howard makes Al look like Zaza on the defensive end. I know I shouldn’t say that, but really – it’s unfair to put Horford on Howard with no help.
* J. Crawford - Shot selection of nothingness...yes, we said it.
* J. Teague – that’s 16 minutes in 4 games…no TOs, 3 assists, not abused on defense. Yep, you should be ready for the postseason in no time.
* M. Evans – That’s my Mo – should I do a blog about why you should start and then pick a fight with Peachtree Hoops about it? This is about ratings remember.
* Z. Pachulia – Zaza, you are a bad man. Dirty work yourself on to postseason glory, we say.
* Joe Smith - DNP
* J. Collins - DNP
* M. West – Really have nothing to say other than – I’m not convinced that West couldn’t be used better (i.e. you let him run around on the nights when good players aren’t putting forth effort for effect, not expected results), but I can say – the way he is used is really useless. If your point is that he’s good at defense, then have him shut someone down. I mean if he can shut down D-Wade (and he can’t), then put him out there – I’d accept that shut down vs. no offense, but he’s not THAT good, so you send him out for one stop for nothing, Woody. All you’re doing is wasting timeouts (Eyebrows raised and dinging in background – oh, snap …maybe that’s why you did that – to run out of TOs and let the players just win it for you…Woody, you’re a genius!)
I’m not going to say anything on this. Game won. So, every iota of energy I’d expend on why the bench that brought you back doesn’t get to stay on the court OR even come back on the court when the starters are screwing the pooch won’t be belabored. And so, I wanted to say something nice, but…I’m going to just shut up. Thanks Hawks!
Str8 Talk Love
Don’t forget Haiti.
Dance Team/Game Ops update – really didn’t pay attention to the dance team for the first time EVER!!! Yep, that’s how far we’ve gone. Like I said, me and crazy women – that’s my lot in life.
Shout Outs – Big up to Kelli (and her friends who didn’t show up until 8 minutes left IN THE FREAKIN’ GAME), which allowed us to leave our seats and head to the Club, to Will, to Harlee & Stacy, to Ryan, to everyone we saw at the game – Todd, Micah…it was a grand ol’ time.
Final Notes – None – like I said, a few weeks ago, I already know how this is written, so I’m enjoying the ride in btw. Next up, Hawks road trips for the playoffs….