Big Ray and ajc.com’s Atlanta Hawks fan blog will be on hiatus during the off-season.
(Note: Commenting is closed for this post.)
Recent interviews with Hawks GM Rick Sund have been like the typical also-ran summer movies. You know - anticlimactic, plotless, and otherwise non-descript. I guess we shouldn’t have expected much from the stoic Sund, but at least he delivered the usual spin, if with a bit more vinegar than usual (is it just me or did the accurate pointedness of beat writer Michael Cunningham’s questions seem to rankle the GM just a bit?)
The interesting thing (as noted by Hawks fan/blogger Niremetal) is that Sund began the answers to several questions with “I don’t know.” Now, we could all assume that Sund is using the looming Collective Bargaining Agreement situation as a reason for not being even the least bit forthcoming with any offseason thoughts, and that would actually make sense. But what if there’s more to this? After all, if you’re reading some of the offseason chatter involving the Atlanta Spirit Group and the Hawks, you have to think the picture is getting murkier by
It’s that time of year again, as if you needed to be told. Offseason doldrums. Well, if you’re a Hawks fan, that is. With the Conference Finals yet to be finished, and therefore the NBA Finals yet to begin, the draft is ordinarily the next topic of conversation. However, there doesn’t seem like much use in talking draft prospects since the Hawks don’t have a first round pick. They do have a second round pick, but unless it’s a very deep draft or Sund and his team are hot on the trail of some talented foreign prospect that nobody else knows about (think Pape Sy, part II), then there’s probably very little that’s noteworthy in the way of change to the team.
What about free agency and trade? With the CBA gumming things up, and constant investment/sale chatter in connection with the team and Phillips Arena, there is no telling what can be expected. Rick Sund’s administration keeps things close to the vest, so there would probably be few rumors to speculate on anyway. And
The Hawks fan base is a colorful lot, such that it is. When we’re not blaming our favorite targets for anything and everything, we’re busy trying to prove each other wrong and our own selves right. I’ll start this by saying that I don’t know if I’m right, and that it doesn’t matter either way. But…I do have an opinion, and a rather strong one. So do you, and I want to hear it, no matter how vehemently opposed it might be to mine or anybody else’s. But, let’s try and respect each other at the same time. Leave the insults to each other’s collective intelligences out of the conversation. After all, if we were all that smart and that good, we’d be running an NBA franchise. Right?
Here goes, and some of these thoughts have been fermenting for days, others for weeks, some for months, and still others for years.
With a collective bargaining agreement situation brewing, the possibility of no basketball next season is looming. However, I won’t dwell on this long, and the
Tonight’s game in Atlanta should be a good one as the Atlanta Hawks look to stave off a third straight 2nd round playoff elimination. Atlanta will have the fans on their side this time (at least for the most part) and that is never a bad thing.
What’s great about this series is the fact that the Hawks are showing that they can win, that they are good enough. What they have a chance to show tonight is that they will do what they’re capable of. They need another performance like game 4, only better. Every player has to play his role to the hilt to beat this Chicago team. Atlanta is capable, and they know it. They also know what makes them lose games, and Chicago knows it too. That is the part that gives Hawks fans the most hope and the most consternation at the same time – the fact that this team really does have what it takes to win the series. They just have to execute.
The Plans of Attack
- We already know that Joe and Jamal need to have good games for the Hawks to have a
It all seemed to come together at once.
The Hawks played the way they needed to nearly all game long, the guys who needed to step up did, and they even had some calls go their way (the jump ball after Rose was fouled on a long jumper attempt was bizarre). All of this, and the Hawks reached a true milestone. Two wins in the second round of the playoffs, you say? So much more than that, I say. The goal should never be to lose better, or to just take the smallest of baby steps. The goal is to put yourself into position to take leaps and bounds. Winning game 4 did just that for the Hawks. Not only have they done what they needed to do to win games against their favored opponent, the Hawks have put themselves into actual contention for a place that only the elite teams in a conference can go – the Conference Finals. Atlanta has shown that it can beat Chicago, and that this is no fluke. Is the series over? Of course not, and that goes both ways. Which team is headed to the Eastern
Yes, Derrick Rose is magnificent. Yes, he torched the Atlanta Hawks. This is what League MVPs do. You can’t stop them forever, you can only hope to slow them up. As Derrick Rose championed his team’s cause with 44 points on the way to a 99-82 victory, the casual observor would likely give the Chicago point guard all the credit.
The casual observor would be wrong, and that is not taking anything away from Rose, who had a fabulous bounce back game.
Chinks in the False Armor
Is there ever more cause for consternation than a team of guys who lose a game, and then can’t agree onwhy they lost, or what they need to do to win? It seems that we Hawks fans would be used to this by now, but then…should anybody have to get used to it? Courtesy of the inestimable Michael Cunningham (Hawks beat writer), the below post game quotes show the typical post-loss splintering of the Hawks’ psyche:
J.J. didn’t like the offensive approach: “It just seemed as if a lot of times we just ran a lot of
Making a prognosis based off of the first game of a playoff series is anything but an exact science. Teams that have been blown out in game 1 have come back to win the series. Teams that have been victorious in game 1 have lost the series. So, there’s little point in trying to make a prediction. However, there is something to take from Game 1. It’s like watching a boxing match or a sword fight – you get to see who lands the first blow (lucky or not), and how the recipient reacts to it. And so, the Atlanta Hawks find themselves in an unfamiliar position in the 2nd round of the playoffs – having thrown (and landed) the first punch.
Having disposed of their favored opponent and former nemesis in six games, it was a concern as to whether the Hawks would know how to handle winning. If Game 1 against the Chicago Bulls was any indication, the Hawks have grown and matured enough to move along to the next task. Or have they? Some would argue that Chicago did as Orlando
After criticizing this Atlanta Hawks team’s playoff performances, some of us may have to change our tune. We’ve seen the Hawks win first rounds before, in the last two years. Both times it was an escapish situation, wherein the Hawks made of with a game 7 win. But how about tonight’s win? The Hawks did everything right in a sense, not succumbing to the mounting pressure of a possible Orlando turnaround. And you know what? They earned it. Yes, there is a difference between winning a series 4-3, and winning it 4-2. The difference is caring enough to knock a team out before they get a chance to take the series from you. The difference is wanting it to happen on your own court, instead of trying to ice skate uphill on your opponent’s. The difference is everything we thought the Hawks probably weren’t. Maybe we were just wrong. And yet, the Hawks needed to believe in each other far more than they needed us to believe in them. Do we believe in them now?
Are you beginning to enjoy
These can’t be the same guys that got swept in the most embarrassing fashion in the 2009-2010 playoffs, can they?
The Atlanta Hawks made dubious history in last season’s playoffs, losing to the Orlando Magic by a record number of averaged points. The only way they could do worse is to make history again, by giving up a 3 games-t0-1 lead to the Magic in this year’s first round series. NBA history is on the Hawks’ side, and unless Dwight Howard’s supporting cast decides to don a collective set of capes, the Hawks will drive on to round 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.
Half Empty, Half Full
Most folks didn’t give the Hawks much of a chance against the Magic in this series, but now some quickly changed their tune, even before last night’s win. But what do the fans think of all of this? Did the Hawks fool us all season long into believing that they are less than they truly are? Have they reached their potential? Or is Orlando truly that bad, despite the dominating