Friday, April 23, 2010

The Tale of 2 10 Pt Dubs

Preamble Ramble

So, we lied. Lots of things have transpired and we have gotten to the point where The Vent is doing more blogs than us during this playoff season. Yes, we've fallen off. Our demise was true. Our zeal to write about the Hawks has been usurped by the desire to keep 3 businesses in the air. But then, I remembered I made a promise and so, in an attempt to make good AND to express a few under discussed angles - here we go with the main takeaway up front...the 2 games at home get a big ol' Kanye shrug!

Game 1 Recap - Hawks 102, Bucks 92

Game 2 Recap - Hawks 96, Bucks 86

Overall Observations:
  • 2 games, 2 easy victories (as easy as playoff victories can be for this team), 2 Smoove double doubles.
  • Funny how Game 2 felt like a complete blowout and Game 1 had some doubt...and yet, still 10 point victories.
  • What is it about the Hawks in that they can't win or lose games by less than 10 points in the playoffs?
  • Losing 1 game to the Bucks is only happening if the Hawks lose focus, which is certainly possible.
  • We discussed this ad nauseum during the offseason. This is when we get to see what the Hawks are made of. The only message that can be sent is to SWEEP the Bucks. Simply put, the Hawks are vastly superior to the Bogut-less Bucks, so the only thing that can be learned about the Hawks is built into our ability to lose more than 1 game vs. an average team. Last season, it was proven that our demise was foretold well before the injuries affected the Cavs series by the fact that we were getting blown out by an average Heat team. Our toughness, mental and physical, and leadership is on trial during this series. The outcome is not...Hawks in 5 (though we should sweep).
  • Speaking of injuries, just in case the Hawks are believing that we can't be defeated b/c the Bucks are undermanned - I'd like to point you to Exhibit A (Portland Trailblazers) and Exhibit B (Boston Celtics).
  • Which leads us to remind everyone why I was VERY critical despite injury woes last year in the playoffs. We lost as much because we weren't prepared for adversity and had little heart or toughness as the injuries. Good thing, we don't have any excuses this year, but to be clear...we don't want to hear any reasons why we lose games other than talent and tactics this postseason. No effort excuses...seriously!
  • Before we get too analytical about the Bucks Game 1 comeback (as much as you can call losing by 10 a comeback), let's just remind everyone that EVERY team in the playoffs is having close games. Cavs, Lakers, Celtics, Suns. Teams who don't want their season to end will play hard and try everything possible to prevent their demise.
  • Smoove as LeBron - we can dig it. This would mean that you'd have to give him the ball enough to be that...let's try!
  • The players who don't need 20 shots to score 20 pts and fill other parts of the box score deserve to get the most headlines. Not a knock on Joe, but seriously - Al & Osh are the reasons we're up 2-0 (well, that and Bibby turning into a Game 1 scoring machine).
  • Bibby...we thank you for bottling up your game and making your stand. You as a starter are confirmed and verified.
  • Here's what we call coaching...Popovich & Jackson calling out their franchise players for less than stellar efforts. then, seeing players showing that they hear their coaches. Not necessary yet, but it wasn't lost on us that all of the motivational efforts are on the table for our best coaches...take note!
Str8 Butter Award - Osh's almost triple double was the game of the series so far..sorry Brandon (but yours came in a loss) and it's not even close. If you can get Osh to bring that kind of game and effort EVERY game, we'll say it again - you can have your little 2 jump shots a game (but no more). Oh, and we'll see you in the All Star game, DPOY award podium, and on All-NBA teams as a result. Fulfill your destiny...

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

* M. Williams - Decent production...nothing to write home about, so we won't. something to write road about...show us!
* Osh Smith - Will say it again - Josh..top 10 talent. Please be dat...
* M. Bibby - I'll just repeat what I've always said and that's that if Bibby's shot is falling, then he's very playable. If not, he's not. Shot is falling, so fire away...
* J. Johnson - I've established a new theory for Joe. When he dribbles less than 4 times, he's a superstar. When he doesn't make a decision before those 4 dribbles, he's an above average player. His 4 dribble decision making is really stellar...kinda like Josh's non-jump shooting decision making, but it's marred by how often he dribbles more than 4 times a touch. In Game 2, during Joe's 9 point explosion, he scored each time off less than 4 dribbles. Prior to the 9 point explosion, 3 straight possessions of pounding the basketball resulted in a missed shot and 2 turnovers. Make a move or move the ball, Joe. Thanks.
* A. Horford - As loudly as Smoove blocks the rock, let's give Al some blocked shot credit. It's quiet and understated, but Horford has turned into a shotblock master. Can a guy who is routinely the shorty at Center be an All Defense candidate...is that being discussed somewhere?

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

* J. Crawford - I had a crass virgin joke to put here, but I'll just leave it be and say welcome to the party, Jamal - now, let's show what you can do.
* J. Teague - Jeff, you actually got a chance to play with the starters in Game 1! I've asked for it all year and so, why was I stunned and a little confused when it happened. Well, it's because you waited until the PLAYOFFS to unveil this and predictably - it looked a little uncomfortable. Then, Game 2 happened and you looked lost. As we discussed, not seeing Teague this postseason is the way to go UNLESS we need to shut down Jennings...oh wait, we tried that and he roasted you.
* M. Evans - You must ensure that you play as well as you did down the stretch. If not for your future earning potential than to put the final nail in the 'you should start' coffin.
* Joe Smith - Just bring some leadership in the locker room and bench because you are looking quite unplayable right now...
* Z. Pachulia - What happened, Zaza? Former team vs. your fire and desire - let's get this double double going, bro.
* R. Morris - DNP
* J. Collins - Inactive
* M. West - I'd like to say that he's only playing in blowouts...I'd like to say he's only playing in blowouts...

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

Already mentioned what we want to see in the face of adversity. There's been no adversity, so we'll just shut up and say that the coach does factor into why the Hawks have looked good and I'm not even going to mention the Game 1 second half that most are since almost EVERY playoff game I watched had runs where the winning team had a letdown...so it's ok as long as we can muster those same runs when necessary.

Str8 Talk Love

All the stars and loud Hawks fans have shown up - let's keep the fire alive. Also, shout out to my mom who I brought to Game 2 of Hawks/Heat last year and who I brought back to Game 2 of Hawks/Bucks. A loss in Game 2 would have resulted in a revocation of playoff attendance privileges in perpetuity.

Dance Team/Game Ops update - Game 1...yes! Game 2...yes and no (i.e. the dunking Woolendas need to actually make the dunks, seriously - it's only the playoffs!)

Shout Outs - None other than Will (get better, bro) and all of the regulars. Love seeing you guys loving the Hawks

Final Notes - Not really sure how to excited about the fact that we should be stomping this team, but let me get my rally rag, pack for LA, and get ready to cheer with my west coast Hawks family. Yep, I'm going into Laker land and I'm gonna rock the Hawks throwbacks...say something!

Playoff Prediction

Hawks in 5...

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