Two Out Of Three

I don’t know how many of us would claim that they saw the Hawks having a 20-10 record after 30 games. But hey, if you did, then you deserve the bragging rights! Formula or no, this team has proven that another fast start was not a fluke. Of course, there are 50 games remaining, but who doubts that we can’t win at least half of those, assuming we maintain a reasonably healthy team? Like it or not, such winning ways inspire loftier expectations among the fan base. So lets explore a couple of ideas on why this team is so much better than in years past. I’ll expound on just a couple of things that come to mind first, then everybody feel free to agree, disagree, and just generally pile in on the subject.

One of the biggest reasons has to be Mike Bibby. And I’m not talking about what he brought to the team last year, when we managed to get into the playoffs. No, I’m talking this year. I don’t know about you, but it looks to me like Bibby is reliving the ATL version of his old Sacramento. Back in Sac-town, he did not have to be a pure point guard (something I thought he might need to transition to HERE…I was wrong). No, he led by promoting good ball and personnel movement, sharing the ball with everybody. Back there he had guys like Webber, Divac, Miller, etc. These guys all knew how to pass the ball around. Consequently, they all got a handful of assists, and that only helped Bibby do what he did best: shoot the lights out of the gym. Flash forward to Atlanta, and Bibby is doing it again. Is it a coincidence? Hardly, with unselfish guys like Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. And each of these guys is quite adept at making good pass plays with the ball. Sacramento all over again, only with greater athleticism.

With Bibby constantly involving the “bigs”, and Joe Johnson following suit in more effective fashion than he has in the past, the game has changed completely for the Hawks, and even more so for their opponents. And what are the dividends? Not only are the bigger fellas getting theirs, but the dynamic duo backcourt is even more effective than ever. Why? Because with that much ball movement, everybody is a threat. This can only add to the effectiveness of Joe’s ISO when the game is on the line.

 

The second thing that comes to mind is Marvin Williams. Yes, that Marvin Williams. I can see Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee) in those old Jordan commercials right now, asking Jordan why he was able to do what he did: “Is it the shoes?” …. “No Mars.” “Is it the shorts?”….”No Mars, it isn’t the shorts.”  “It’s gotta be the shoes, man, it’s gotta be the shoes!”…”No Mars, it isn’t the shoes.” 

Well, if I was Mars Blackmon, talking to Marvin Williams right now, I’d be saying that it has to be the haircut! “Is it the ‘Do Marv? Is it the ‘Do?”….”Naw Ray, it ain’t the ‘Do, but I’m glad you like it. But I didn’t forget you making fun of me on the blog..”  Ah, well, uh…anyway. Whatever it is, Marvin is NOT the same guy he was the last three years. Check that. He’s not even the same guy he was 7 or 8 games ago. THIS Marvin is everywhere. Dunking on people, tipping in shots, driving to the basket and drawing fouls, and then stopping for the occasional sweet three point stroke. And that’s just on the offensive end. On the defensive end, Marvin has used his exceptional length (that’s right, he has a greater wingspan than either of his starting froncourt mates) and lateral quickness to truly bother opponents, none more apparent than Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, last night. Not only that, but he has challenged shots effectively, and shown himself capable of getting the occasional block.

Marvin’s coming out party has begun, and it has helped tremendously on both ends of the court. His defensive improvements have made it mostly unnecessary for guys like Horford and Smith to rotate and overextend themselves with help defense, because he can hold his own. And on the offensive end, Marvin’s hustle and improved scoring ability have made it nearly impossible for defenses to key on Joe or Mike. I still think it’s the haircut. But between that and the greatly improved play, I think Marvin needs a new nickname. A cool one.

Anyway, we have Indy tonight. and at their place. They pasted us one last time we met. Josh was out with injury, and Horford got injured (playing less than 7 minutes) during that contest. Time to let them know what we look like at full strength. We owe them one. To sum it up, Nesterovic and Granger did what they wanted, Murphy grabbed nearly half as many boards by himself as our whole team did, and their bench showed up well. This time, we need to limit Granger (limit is about it, stopping the guy seems to not be an option). Another very key part of this game will be our effort to outwork them on the glass. If Foster, Nesterovic, and Murphy are allowed to rule the boards, it will be hard to win against this team. Finally, the Pacers have lost 4 of their last 5, all of which have been VERY close games. Only one of the losses was decided by more than a point or two (loss to the Clippers by 8) and the lone win was by a single point. so yet another key will be getting ahead, and then stomping on their necks…just like we did to Denver last night. But enough of my pontifications…

What are YOUR thoughts on tonight’s matchup?

62 comments Add your comment

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
11:59 am

OOPs. I don’t know how I managed to put the smiley face on there. I meant to say “loss to the Clippers by 8). Weird….

BA

December 30th, 2008
12:46 pm

So who does our newfound defensive stopper guard- Granger? I heard Daniels (the guy that wears hearbands similar to my daughters) went for damn near thirty the other night! If Atlanta can rebound half as well as last night, Murphy might dissapear. And it will be interesting to see how Big Al (no relation to Big Ray) handles Nestorovic this time around. Also, can Murray flip his switch like last night again? Is Woody REALLY going to put any of these kids in?

Also, on an unrelated note, how good is this team going to be when Childress comes back next year?

Don!

December 30th, 2008
1:34 pm

Well, for a new nickname for Mr. Williams, we could go with something like, “Marvelous” Marvin Williams — but that’s just too easy. I think we need to go the same route we took in coming up with JSmooth for Josh Smith.

With that having been said, I like ‘Momentum’ for Marvin. I’m not sure if that should be a stand alone, single name for him — like a super hero, or as part of his real name, like Marvin ‘Momentum’ Williams.

I like Momentum because that’s what he’s always been about. Getting better and gaining speed. When people were (and are) trashing us for taking him over CP3, Marvin never really bit on those sound bites. He just held his ground and started doing his own thing.

Slowly over the last couple of years, he’s started showing the promise we all hoped he had when we drafted him. And now, he’s gaining momentum — just like the Hawks — and in a positive manner as well! Momentum can be a bad thing in the wrong direction (See Detroit Lions, NFL).

But momentum also describes Marvin’s play most nights. He usually doesn’t come out trying to force his game, he just weaves his way into it. He might start with a help on defense, then a tip in off of the offensive glass, then a quick assist kicking out to an open three for Bibby or JJ. But by the third or fourth quarter — he’s everywhere, and when he’s on — you can’t stop him. That’s Momentum.

So, if we’re going to stick Marvin with a nickname, I say ‘Momentum’ is a good one for a good player trying to become a great player on a (hopefully) great team.

Later,

Don!

fudd21

December 30th, 2008
1:57 pm

OMG! Ray gave Marvin props. Te he he. At the beginning of the year I thought Marv would get to that 18 ppg mark. I was wrong but as Ray said the overall improvement in his game is very noticeable even if the ppg have taken a slight dip. It is really exciting times to be a Hawks fan.

MannyT

December 30th, 2008
1:58 pm

The newer blog software seems to understand and convert SOME emoticons. wink testing ;-)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoticon

In the meantime, this is a ride to enjoy as long as guys are healthy and playing well. As we have a full squad this go round, I expect the Hawks to win tonight. There will be significant pressure from TJ Ford, but BK’s equal sizing player strategy seems to help a lot now that Woody’s defensive will is finally working on the team.

Not that I have anything useful on the Marvin nickname thing, but if I take some ideas and do a little mixing, I get HowarD (as in Howard the Duck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_the_duck)

BWAF

jhan

December 30th, 2008
3:08 pm

Hey Ray, I found your new blog!

I have to agree with your two key points (Bibby & Marvin) being the biggest reasons for our improvement.

Another reason, which many discounted before this season, is the continued organic growth of our young guys (Smith, Horford & Marvin).
I believe “richbrave” or “Ken Strickland” mentioned this & was immediately chastised for their stance. Hard to argue with that now. Only Josh seems to make the same mistakes over & over & over & over ….

Tonights game should be important to the Hawks. We’re starting to beat the teams we should at home – let’s start beating them on the road.

Being a strong critic of Woody over the years – I will take this opportunity to give him his props! I still believe he is flawed in many areas as a coach, but right now all I can say is “Great Job Woody”!

Najeh Davenpoop

December 30th, 2008
5:22 pm

I think more than anything ever since Bibby came, everyone on this team has just played smarter. Having a veteran with playoff experience can have that effect.

The Pacers are a better team than their record indicates. Marvin has done a good job playing man to man defense against some of the NBA’s best recently, and he’s gonna have to do the same against Danny Granger. The Pacers are missing TJ Ford, so they will have a harder time exploiting the Hawks’ vulnerability against quicker point guards. Another wrinkle the Hawks are gonna have to deal with though is that the Pacers now start Roy Hibbert, which gives them two 7 footers they can use inside between him and Rasho Nesterovic. If the Hawks can box out and keep Granger in check they should be able to win this game, but if they let the Pacers’ big men get boards easily they will be in trouble.

elmer fudd

December 30th, 2008
6:11 pm

Enter your comments here

ray, are you doing most of the heavy lifting now, or is H.B. contributing anon? what’s Bibby’s assist to turnover ratio? that says a lot about how effective a pg he truly is.

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
6:23 pm

Man, am I glad y’all found this blog! I hate talking to myself here (or anywhere else). Especially with my partner being AWOL (okay, I know where he’s supposed to be, but something tells me all computers have been hidden from him in the land of holiday in-laws).

Fudd21,

Hey, I have to give credit where it’s due man. I hear ya though, lol! I even have to give credit to Woody, but that I’m saving for another blog. I’d say I agree with you that Marvin now shows the absolute capability to be an 18ppg guy. On this team, I’m not sure he’ll ever be, not if we keep all the same players and play the way we’re playing. The scoring is still largely existing in the backcourt. But hey, if that’s the best way for us to win on most nights, then I’m cool with that. What I’m not cool with is not having a back-up plan when one of the backcourt guys is out. For right now, we better pray, and pray hard that this NEVER happens. Outside of Murray, we have no game-ready replacements. And Murray’s not exactly a replacement for EITHER guy.

Don!,

I still feel like I’m shouting at you, adding the exclamation point to your name. Dude, as far as I’m concerned, Marvin has arrived. I’ll always say that the Marvin vs CP3 argument is an unfair one. It always will be. The draft was all about choice and vision. Billy wanted what he wanted: a lengthy, athletic forward with some good skills. What he passed over was a very special point guard and team leader. A guy who is able to take a less talented group of players, and lead them into the second round of the playoffs. That’s what you draft a dynamic pg for. And that was something we needed, and FINALLY got in Bibby, though I don’t know if we’ll be able to retain his services beyond this season (not a comforting thought). Marvin is now doing what he was drafted to do. He’s doing what this team needs him to do. And that’s how I choose to judge him. Judging him against a guy our GM at the time probably was never interested in (and his head coach reportedly wasn’t either). It’s just not fair.

Having gotten over the CP3 thing, I prefer to compare Marvin to the guy he was set to replace: Harrington.

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
6:31 pm

Jhan,

I agree. Organic growth has been instrumental in the improvement of this team. And yeah, Ken and Rich did take some flak over suggesting that this would take place. However, some of the noise being made over that had to do with the idea that all teams experience organic growth to a point. I think we experienced MORE at the right time, than did many other teams. Either way, Ken and Rich were correct. And Josh does seem to make some of the same mistakes over and over. It’s only a short few of them, like going for the 3 when he should be cutting to the basket, and trying to make a pass play at the wrong time. But he IS cutting down on ALL of his mistakes. A better point guard in rhythm with the team is definitely directly related to a better and more effective JSmooth. That’s what concerns me, though. If Bibby is ever out, will JSmooth still play within his game? He has to be mature enough to do so. But if you’re out there with a guy like Flip, who doesn’t do half the things Bibby does to get a guy the ball in the right place and play within the flow of the game….what will the reaction be? I think I know…

Najeh,

Your suggestion that we put a body on the Pacers bigs is probably the biggest key to winning this game. Nice call, and I think we’ll see the proof that you’re right within minutes…

BA,

I see JJ guarding (and neutralizing) Daniels. Marvin will get Granger. If there is a problem, perhaps Woody will switch things up. The defensive play of Evans and Murray will be a turning point too, I think, depending on how much they play.

Elmer Fudd,

Ando should be back around soon, though I haven’t heard from him in days. As for Bibby’s assist to turnover ration, I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it’s REALLY GOOD. I think it’s like 5.4 assists to 1.68 turnovers. Can’t ask for better. Gotta go for a few minutes guys. Keep posting!

Astro Joe

December 30th, 2008
7:29 pm

Cool, this blog wasn’t getting much more “PT” than Acie. Glad to see it has surfaced to it’s rightful spot on the AJC website. Now let’s see if Acie gets comparable love from Woody.

Oh and did someone mention “organic growth”? Where have I heard that one before?

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
7:41 pm

Astro Joe,

You definitely deserved a mention on the organic growth thing. I thought of that right after I posted…

Sorry, man.

Don!

December 30th, 2008
8:16 pm

Ray, you can yell at me if you want to. It’s okay, I yell at the television (or computer monitor — thanks NBA League Pass) when the Hawks are playing (Or Falcons or Braves), and my wife yells at me because I’m yelling at the screen.

Up by 4 at the half, and Woody’s settled into a hard 8-man rotation. Joe’s at 20 minutes and Bibby’s at 19, Murray and Evans have 9 and 7 minutes of run respectively. So far, Acie has counted 15 splinters on the left side of the bench, while Mario has seen at least 12 from his seat. Speedy slipped and fell in the locker room, and he looks to be out another 4-6 weeks.

Anyway, we got off to a bit of a rough start, but finished the half on a good run. I’d like to see Solo in there, if nothing else than to get aggressive in the paint, and if he gets a couple of rough fouls in — that may be a bonus.

The scoring has been really even, with no one in double digits. All eight of the hawks who have seen the floor have found the hoop — and that’s a good sign. Ball movement is your friend.

Okay, the second half is about to start. I predict a 10-point Hawks win with a token Acie and Mario sighting with about 90 seconds to go. And just for laughs, I say Acie gets a late hoop on a 12-foot jumper.

Later,

Don!

doc

December 30th, 2008
9:02 pm

aj, yeah bro, when i read that organic growth comment and it wasnt attributed to you i came close to making the correction. see you beat me to it.

doc

December 30th, 2008
9:22 pm

oh my! superstar stuff?

Astro Joe

December 30th, 2008
9:31 pm

Ray & Doc, no worries on the organic growth comment. Rarely does anyone around here have unique opinions.

Heck of a win.

Is ‘Nique getting better or am I adjusting to his skills (or lack thereof)? I didn’t think he was as awful tonight as he’s been in the past.

Helluva win…. or did I say that already?

Astro Joe

December 30th, 2008
9:35 pm

To be clear… I also have very few unique views on these Hawks… that previous comment may have come across in the wrong way. I was mostly speaking inclusively… me too!

doc

December 30th, 2008
9:39 pm

aj, that organic growth stuff started with you. richie hadnt arrived on the scene yet and ken was still over on the falcons blog saving the world from the savages. heh heh

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
9:40 pm

Well, another win under the belt, and it feels pretty good.

Don!,

The bench comments were funny. Again, no playing time outside of the usual 8 guys. Not understanding it, but whatever. As long as the wins are coming, the decision to hamstring the bench goes unquestioned, I suppose.

Nice effort by Horford on defense and the glass. I love watching him work out there.

Josh Smith has been making a living in the post here lately. His post moves (he spins pretty good) look so much better than his attempts to shake and bake (he looks like he’s more likely to break his OWN ankles sometimes). As a result, he’s also been making a living at the line. And the final result? A couple of 20 point performances. I think we can expect to see more soon if he continues to play like this.

Bibby was his usual self: promoting ball movement, picking up a half dozen assists, and hitting some big shots when needed.

Another win on a tough test, on the road. Gotta love it. Momentum is a mutha….

doc

December 30th, 2008
9:41 pm

josh reincarnated yet, even with the bone headed 3 attempt at the end?

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
9:48 pm

Astro Joe,

As Doc said, the organic growth stuff DID come from you first. And I even recall who gave you the most crap for it: myself and dear ol’ Ando. You were right. I was wrong. Unique opinion or not. Looks to me like the organic growth has taken effect and been augmented by the Bibby effect. I knew you weren’t poking with the stick, but you still deserved the recognition.

Doc,

Now I KNEW you wouldn’t miss that one. Not a fella with a long memory like yourself, faced with an opportunityt to take a “hack” at a “hack.” LOL! Now where’s Ando to help fade the heat…. :)

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
9:48 pm

Doc,

There’s no saving *those* savages. Trust me…

doc

December 30th, 2008
10:00 pm

yeah bro ray, enjoy my regular mates right here, good guys all. there are a few times we beat our chests a bit.

doc

December 30th, 2008
10:03 pm

oh dear, seems like we might feel a little heat before it is all over. see a 6 team race in the east developing with the rest being pretenders. nets might yet join the party, bucks, knicks, maybe; rest seem done and can only play the role of spoilers.

HB Ando

December 30th, 2008
10:30 pm

Man, I feel like I just came off of an epic road trip. Flew back in to the ATL, from Philly, a few hours ago. It’s not that I underestimated the familial expectations for an audience with BABY GIRL, but I now feel a sense of what the Pope must experience.

I hope Ray’s back isn’t too sore, from carrying me the last week and a half. But these “real life” obligations were a major factor in setting up our blog in tandem.

Let’s get a ying-and-yang point out of the way: Astro Joe is solely credited with the term “organic growth”, as far as Sekou’s blog is concerned. Now, the yang is that I’m not sure how anyone can objectify how much that “growth” covers the current 21-10 record. Impact? No doubt. But if there’s anyone here who can firmly state what the Hawks record would be, without Bibby, Evans and Flip, then I’m listening, and ready to give props.

Truth is that every NBA team that’s ever made a leap has been a combination of developed youth and acquired veterans. Unless you believed the Hawks would never improve (which would be an odd perspective, given the upwards trajectory, annually, from the depths of a 13-win team), then ANY improvement from last years’ 37-win team would logically have some foundation from the youthful front line.

So here’s where the Hawks now stand: 21 wins, with 51 games to go. 26-25, the rest of the way, would mean 47 wins. But is there any reason to believe that a team who is 11 games over .500, after 31, should flounder in such a fashion?

Not unless they trade Mike Bibby. My long-standing prediction that they would, prior to the trade deadline, based on financial implications, looks shakier with every additional win. Not because I believe the ASG is reaping the additional, necessary revenues, to afford the current payroll. But because they seemingly have the opportunity to experience one of the rare seasons, in any sport, when everything comes together, and the teams’ chemistry is just right. Even if they are hurting, in this challenging economy, with the Belkin situation ominously looming, trading Bibby, in the midst of this kind of winning run, would likely be a public relations disaster.

They are now “in for a penny, in for a pound”.

These Hawks look like the fourth seed (though there are a couple of teams who present a plausible challenge to that outcome).

At this point of the season, any critiques, of the coaching staff or the players, is straight nitpicking.

This team is on a roll. There’s nothing much to do but kick back and enjoy……..

doc

December 30th, 2008
10:37 pm

ando, glad you are safely back and the little one healthy.

Big Ray

December 30th, 2008
10:37 pm

Doc,

I think you’re right about who will join in the Eastern fray. My pick is the Nets, if they stay relatively healthy. Carter and Harris are LETHAL.

Ando!

Good to have you back. By the way, this blog is now in the position of the former Hack’s spot, in case you didn’t see it. Glad you’re around. I was having fun here, but kept drifting over to shadow-box with Kirk on Sekou’s blog. What can I say, we all have our vices. Sometimes it’s hard not to resist the bait when you know you can snatch the angler right into the water, reel and all…

Astro Joe

December 30th, 2008
11:08 pm

No doubt that the Hawks 31 game record is not due exclusively to organic growth. It is related to all of the reasons discussed and one more that I haven’t seen mentioned.

Joe’s teammates are allowing him to be a SUPERSTAR in the 4th quarter. Bibby takes off a ton of pressure and has all but stopped opposing coaches from using their PG to double JJ. Flip has allowed JJ time to rest when he does his best Andrew Toney imitation in the first 3 quarters. And Marvin (organic growth Marvin), has significantly improved his defense so JJ doesn’t always have to guard the opposing team’s top wing scorer. In the past 10 games, we’ve watched Marvin play tenacious defense against the likes of Pierce, LeBron, Melo and Granger tonight. His offense may suffer but he has been outstanding with making those elite scorers work super-hard. All of that, Bibby, Flip and Marvin means that JJ has a little more in his gas tank for the 4th quarter. If we were to point to any one big difference with this team? They know how to win in the 4th quarter. They get on the strong backs of their excellent backcourt and ride those cats to a victory. I’ve actually grown to expect the Hawks to win games that are tight going into the 4th quarter.

It’s WAYYYY too early to predict playoff seedings… even if Chad Ford himself has penciled in the Hawks in the 4th slot.

HB Ando

December 31st, 2008
1:01 am

Joe, I don’t know that saying the Hawks “look like a fourth seed” is the same as predicting their regular season finish. But barring major injury or the trade of Bibby, they do look like the 4th best team in the East.

Funny to see Ray highlight the Nets (and good to get on the phone and catch up with my fellow Hack). I thought the Nets, Heat and Bucks all projected to be better than most of our blog believed. Bucks have dealt with major injury issues,but should be .500 plus the rest of the way. The Heat just knocked off the Cavs, and, like the Pistons (with Dumars), are the most likely team to make a big trade (Riley rarely stands pat).

Then there is the Nets. Ray mentioned their back court, rightfully. But it’s the complement of young big men that make them potentially dangerous by the time the playoffs roll around. I don’t think it was a fluke that they beat the Hawks in that home-and-home, earlier this season. I think they’re the 5-8 seed that no one in the East will want to play in the first round (this season’s Hawks?).

Didn’t know Arenas and Haywood would be out the whole year (the most recent buzz about Arenas, at least), and honestly didn’t predict that both Philly and the Raps would play so poorly.

But that pretty much sums up how a 9th seed projection becomes a 4th-5th seed performance. It will always be easier to make predictions a few days before the regular season tip off. It will always be more fun to roll the dice of opinion 3 months earlier, right or wrong…….

MannyT

December 31st, 2008
1:21 am

Would it be wrong of me to pick up the minutes rant here? hmmmm

Guess who has played more minutes than any other player as of the end of 2008…JJ. Granted on average, he is a tenth behind Stephen Jackson, who has missed a few games.
http://www.nba.com/statistics/player/Minutes.jsp?league=00&season=22008&conf=OVERALL&position=0&splitType=9&qualified=Y&yearsExp=-1&sortOrder=3&splitDD=All%20Teams

Gotta laugh about the minutes guys played in the 60s versus now. These days pro sports are a year round deal with more emphasis on fitness to maintain those big paychecks.

I look forward to the why minutes matter blog :-D

What a night–Hawks win, celts & Cavs lose.

BWAF

Ryan

December 31st, 2008
8:19 am

We have a twenty one and ten team . . . but half the comments are complaints about the team. I have a feeling that if we were somehow 29 – 1, half the posts would be about that one loss. . .]

elmer fudd

December 31st, 2008
9:15 am

Enter your comments here
Strive for perfection Ryan, strive for perfection.

Don!

December 31st, 2008
10:36 am

Ryan, just remember behind every silver lining — there’s a dark cloud. :)

A bunch of us here are folks scarred from the 13 win season of a few years ago. And the JR Rider trade before that. And trading ‘Nique … so, hopefully that might explain our mindset.

A number of us also believe that ‘Nique got shafted in the Slam Dunk contest with Jordan back in the day. So we not only have the recent past to temper our enthusiasm, but a healthy dose of conspiracy theory when needed as well.

Anyway, speaking of sliver linings, it looks like the links to the blog are pretty much squared away now. Hopefully that will increase the traffic and conversation here. Of course, we’ll probably get our fair share of ads trying to sell us male enhancement and/or weight loss products too …

Sorry, just had to throw that last line out there in the spirit of this post.

Anyway, I feel pretty darn giddy over being 21-10 at this point in the season — and I feel even better for going 43-42 over all of 2008. If we can keep that level of improvement up for 2009, we might be looking at putting up the first Hawks banner of some type in Phillips Arena pretty soon!

Later,

Don!

P.S. Free Acie and Mario!

Big Ray

December 31st, 2008
10:47 am

mountain_jim

December 31st, 2008
11:19 am

Well I see ajc finally got it together to give you bloggers a link on the sports page… lol. only took a week or two, eh?
I can’t comment much on the wins because I ‘watch’ the games on ESPN gamecast, which I happened to be doing last night, among other things. When Smooth missed 2 FTs and then shot a 3 point miss, with Hawks up by 1, I figured a loss was coming. Superstar Joe bailed him out again in the clutch.
I like the results but believe a better coach would find some minutes for Acie, so he will be ready when needed. Woody’s doghouse is deep.
Carry on!

Harry Hawk

December 31st, 2008
12:21 pm

21-10. I don’t know if these guys can get 50, but they’re deep enough (free Acie and Solo, dammit!) to win that many.

Sautee

December 31st, 2008
12:51 pm

mountain_jim,

I’d have to say that Josh helped in bailing HIMSELF out. After his bad 3 point miss, he hustled down and absolutely SMOTHERED Granger in his next shot attempt.

O'brien

December 31st, 2008
1:09 pm

Great win for the Hawks last night. And if Devin Harris goes off again, I hope Acie gets a chance to play some D. (We could not stop Jack’s penetration in the 4th quarter last night).

mountain_jim

December 31st, 2008
3:11 pm

Yes Sautee – that’s why my comments will be few here – I can’t tell that from stupid gamecast observance – did not pay for the Season Pass and the games are all blacked out here in NC.

Sautee

December 31st, 2008
4:02 pm

mountain_jim,

You can always comment (and hopefully will) on things OTHER than what happened in the games. Keep coming around and jump in the pool with the rest of us.

Big Ray

December 31st, 2008
4:49 pm

Josh Smith is certainly the easiest guy to pick on, and that trend seems to continue. He scores twenty-four points last night on 7-13 shooting, and goes 10-14 from the line. He put the clamps on Granger in the last minutes of the game (something everyone else failed to do) by going after the guy himself (clearly that was NOT his defensive assignment). Yes, I know he had 5 turnovers.

But all people remember is that he made a bad pass here, or missed a shot there, or something. Why does the guy get blamed for everything that’s not right?

Bibby shoots 5-14 from the field, including 1-6 from 3-point range. Marvin shoots 3-10 from the field. But it’s Josh’s fault that the game was so close.

Unreal.

mountain_jim

December 31st, 2008
5:13 pm

I only rechecked in via gamecast in last 2 minutes and saw: Atlanta up by 1, Josh misses both FTs, then misses a 3 he should only rarely be shooting anyways. At that point it does look to me like he’s ‘blowing the game’, regardless of what went before or after. So stuff your ‘unreal’. When Joe missed the FT to help lose against Boston I felt that was pretty bad also. You can’t miss those at those times. Josh does not get blamed about everything from me, Mr ‘unreal’.

Lacsho

December 31st, 2008
5:47 pm

Whatz good Big Homie, keep doing what you doing. I’m feeling this new blog. I’m flying back with the family Saturday night. I’ll be home for two day’s then I have to fly back to Philly for two weeks. I’m recording Saturday’s game, so I get to watch it on the big screen when I get home Saturday night.

**Whatz good Hawks family, I wishing you guys a safe and happy New Year.**

Ray, I agree Bibby and Marvin have changed the game for the Hawks. I like the old jj better than the new JJ. Furthermore I like the JJ that broke some ankles during the playoffs.

Damn Ray cut them some slack on Sekou’s blog ( I see your still killing them)

Yo, when I get home for good in two weeks, I’m going to print up some **Missing have you seen them t-shirts** It’s going to have Acie and Solo’s faces on them.

Peace!!!!!!

Ray, I’ll get atcha Saturday night.

Big Ray

January 1st, 2009
8:27 pm

Mountain Jim,

I have a very simple rule that I’ve always lived by on a blog: I call your name if I’m addressing you and your comments. So much is lost in translation on a blog as it is. Must we borrow more?

As it stands, I had just come from Sekou’s blog, where people were making comments about Smith being the reason for us having a bunch of close games, and how the last game was no exception. I hadn’t even read your comment when I was typing mine. I hadn’t read the surrounding ones, either. My point was that other guys have missed shots, taken bad shots, turned the ball over, etc. Others have done so with the game on the line. It’s not just Smith. And it’s not him EVERY game. That was my point, not to pick on Mountain Jim and his comments, which I more than welcome on this blog. And if you notice, I didn’t say that people were WRONG, just that they seem to remember what he does wrong, and rarely what he does right (even on a night where his offense was a big help).

Perhaps next time I make a general statement like that, I shall add “all gamecast subscribers excepted.” Just kidding. But you get my drift…

I agree that JJ’s free throw misses hurt in the Boston game. But I feel like that was more of an exception to the average situation. Against Boston, the game will always be tight for us. The average situation comes against other teams, where we often get good leads, then let them dissipate. Then, we’re stuck trying to make all the right plays at the very end of the game, sometimes putting the ball in the hands of those that aren’t the best option.

Another point I was trying to make has to do with design. Why is Josh the only guy open at times like when he took that 3 late in the game? Design. Why aren’t we setting screens to free up the better outside shooters? Design. Why does Josh have to come to the arc to GET the ball, when he should be getting it down low, on the block. You know, the place he scored from all night. The place where he earned 14 trips to the line that night. Design. You play how you practice….right?

Having said that, players are responsible for execution. But I’ve seen this way too often to believe that it’s just the same person screwing things up all the time while everybody else is doing what it takes to win the game. But that’s the impression you get from a lot of people.

But just so we’re CLEAR…I’m not accusing YOU of being one of those people.

mountain_jim

January 2nd, 2009
9:09 am

Thanks for that clarification and sorry for my assumptions, Big Ray.

I envy you guys that are seeing this great Hawks resurgence season on TV or in person most nights. I could not justify the League Pass expense, with my work being contract based and in question this fall, and after spending on the NFL Ticket to see all the Falcons games (boy that was an excellent investment this year also).

DirecTV does not consider me in Charlotte’s region either, here in WNC, so any games on the sports channels (FSS, etc) are blacked out for me. Sounds like collusion that’s unfair but what do I know. I would like a package where for a lesser dollar amount I could see one team’s games, rather than all teams.

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2009
2:28 pm

Mountain Jim,

It’s no problem, bro’. I understood where you were coming from. I wish there was better coverage for you, too. I’m likely to believe it’s collusion on the part of cable/satellite companies. Like you, I can’t prove it, but hey….makes you feel better saying it at least! :)

The Falcons have definitely been worth the investment, whatever money people have spent to see them! The Hawks have too, although the franchise future remains in doubt with an ownership court decision due next month. Who knows, it might not even be over then….but enough trying to find the dark cloud behind the silver lining. Hopefully, things turn out really well.

Lacsho,

How good to hear from you, man! Glad to hear that the job is going well, and you got to spend precious time with your family, too. Definitely get at me tomorrow night. You know I’ll be there.

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2009
8:29 pm

Whoooeee! 35-21 Hawks midway through the second quarter, and we are ROLLING. Lawrence Frank just got tossed from the game a couple minutes ago, and his high-scoring backcourt isn’t going SQUAT right now. YOUCH!

Early action for the bench (although it’s still the usual suspects), and since I haven’t seen the game from the very beginning, I’m wondering why. Did anybody get injured? Did I miss something? Who knows…What I do know is that Zaza has already played twice the minutes that Horford has. Flip and JSmoove are off to fast starts, and the Nets are having a tough time of it. I’m guessing Woody has Pachulia in the game early to help against the size of Brook Lopez and company. If so, it’s a smart move.

Ah, here’s Horford, back in the game…next to Zaza. This could get interesting…

Uh-oh. Harris is turning on the jets, blowing right past the whole defense out on the break. Bibby just got a tech….

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2009
8:30 pm

Strange….Horford goes right back out…Smith comes right back in…

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2009
8:37 pm

Two great passes by Josh Smith down low on consecutive possessions, but no conversion either time. Damn.

Holy! What a steal and then 60 foot heave by Mario West for the 3 to end the first half!!! Surely that’s worth another 60 seconds on the Woody play-o-meter!

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2009
8:38 pm

Okay, okay, so it was only 38 feet….I got a little excited. I see I’m by myself again. Party poopers…:)